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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  August 29, 2013 10:00am-5:01pm EDT

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solely about deterring and degrading the future use of chemical weapons by the syrian regime. full stop, an end of story and if we were aware of large-scale use of chemical weapons by the opposition i would be making the same argument and the same recommendations. .. let me turn -- i'm going to make sol progress,
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as i said, the second part of my speech is deal with the action motion. i want to address those and take more interventions. whatever disagreement will there other over the complex in syria. i -- the world came together to agree in 1925 treaty and outlaw the use of chemical weapons. international law since that time reflected a determination the event of the war should never be repeated. it put a like in the sand. whatever happens the weapons must not be used. they have crossed the line, in my view, and there should be consequence. it's the first use of chemical weapons this century. for at least 100 years. interfering in another country's affairs should be undertaken except for the most exceptional
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circumstance. it is must be a humanitarian catastrophe and a last result. this is the humanitarian catastrophe. if there are no consequences for it, there's nothing to stop it and other dictators from using the weapons again and again. as i said doing nothing is a choice. it's a qhois with consequences and the consequences, in my view, would not just be about president assad and his future use of chemical weapons. decades of pain staking work to construct an international system of rules and checks to prevent the use of chemical -- weapons and destroy stockpiles. the global consensus -- is it not in the british national interest that rules about chemical weapons are upheld. in my view of course it is. that's why i believe we shouldn't stabbed stand idly by. >> i'm grateful to the prime minister and notwithstanding the differences on the timing and approach to conflict.
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can i bring up the issue of consequences. whoever is responsible for chemical weapons attack should know they will face a court whether that's the international criminal court or specially convened war crimes tribunal in the future. whether there's military intervention or not. somebody is responsible for heinous crime. >> i agree. people should be subject to international criminal court. use of chemical weapons can a crime and has to be prosecuted. we have to recognize the slownd of the wheels and the fact that syria is not a signature to the treaty. let me make a little bit more progress, and giveaway. i consulted the attorney general -- institutes a war crime and a crime against humanitarian. i want to be clear about the process we follow. the motion is clear about this. the weapons investigators in damascus should brief the --
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finish the work. can we have another british involvement and district military action. i explained again the legal position and i don't need to repeat that again, but i would urge colleagues to read this legal advise for the court in the library of the house of commons. let me repeat one more time. we have not reached that point. we have made the decision to ability. and where there to be a decision to act the advise proves it would be legal. [inaudible conversations] would he agree that -- across the house are concerned about person becoming involved in another middle eastern conflict. what he's telling the house is focusing specifically on the war crimes use of chemical weapons which is a very different matter for person involved in the -- [inaudible] >> i completely agree with my honorable friend. i'm aware of the deep public
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skepticism there is. the war weariness it there is in the country. linked to the fact that people had difficult economic times to deal with as well. they are asking questions why britain has to do so much in the world. i think we should reassure it's about chemical weapons. it's not about intervention. it's not about getting involved in another middle eastern war. i take the secretary. >> thank you very much. [inaudible conversations] mr. speaker -- [inaudible] mr. speaker, the prime minister said a moment ago that the hearing of the house one of the purposes of the action would be degrading, his words, of chemical weapons capability of thes a sad -- s-- sent to carl levin the united
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states congress he fully to do that would involve hundred of ships and aircraft at the cost to $1 billion a month. could the prime minister simply not proposing that say what is objective in term of degrading the chemical weapon capability? >> i think have any jobs -- [inaudible] refer to my constituents as -- [laughter] he makes a very good point. he makes a very good point, which is i think he was addressing if you wanted entirely to dismantle or attempt to dismantle syria's weapons, that would be an enormous undertaking that would involve troops that involve all sorts -- that is not what is being proposed. what is being proposed were we to take part is an attempt to deter and grade the future you saw. that's very different. and you would do that i don't
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want to set out at the dispatch of the house of commons a list of targets perfectly simple straightforward to think of actions you could take to do a command and control of the use of chemical weapons, and the people and buildings involved in that. which would indeed deter the great. honorable members i think when asked a point a number of ways how can we be certain any action will work? any action wouldn't have to be repeatedded. flankly, these are judgment issues. the only firm judgment i think question come to if nothing is done we're likely to see more chemical weapons used. giving away a lot the joint intelligence committee say that back to the motivation for us assad using chemical weapons, they say they have a limited but growing body of intelligence which supports the judgment of the regime is responsible. i appreciate the prime minister cannot share such intelligence
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with the house as a whole. members of the all-party intelligence and security committee have top secret clearance to look at precisely this sort of material. as members of the committee some support and some oppose the military intervention would he be willing, for members of the committee to see that material? >> i'm very happy to consider that request, because the intelligence and security committee let me say this, i don't want to -- the own debate of individual or groups of piece of -- that wouldn't be appropriate. what i've said to the house of commons there's an an enormous amount of video he with see. there's a fact we know the regime has an enormous arsenal. the fact they used it before. the fact they were attacking that area, and with the opposition, of course. there's the fact they don't have the weapons. they don't have the deliver i are systems. and the attack took place in an area which they themselves were
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holding. yes, of course, intelligence is part of the picture. let's not pretended there's one smoking piece of intelligence that can be solve the whole problem. it's a judgment issue and one which the honorable members will have to make a judgment. i giveaway to my friend. >> the reason many of us in parliament oppose. it was awe toesty committed by both side. there's a real risk of escalading no matter how clinical the strike. there's a risk the violation is escalade. what assurance can he give them? both within the country and beyond syria's borders. we haven't agreed about every aspect of syria policy. that's no. but the point i would make if we torp take action, it would be purely and simply by degrading
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and deterring chemical weapon use. when we worry about escalation the greatest form of escalation we have in front of us is the danger of additional chemical weapons use for nothing has been done. this debate, this motion, this issue is not about arming the rebel. it's not about intervening in the con flibt. it's not about changing our approach on syria. it's about chemical weapons and something i think everyone in the house has an interest in. the use of chemical weapons has made syria our business. does the prime minister agree with me, to misthe opportunity today san diego strong message to assad and others the house condemns the war crime and use of chemical weapons and undermine -- >> i think she makes an important point. one of the important questions is where the british national east. a stable middle east in the national interest. i think there's a specific
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national interest relating to the chemical wells use we have seen and preventing the escalation. i tried in the section of my speech, i'm giveaway in a minute. i want to make further progress in plenty of time for the speeches. i've been trying to address the questions that people have. let me take the next question. whether we would be in danger of undermining our ambitiouses for a political solution in syria. there's not some choice on the one hand acting to prevent chemical weapons being used on syria people and continuing to push for long-term political solution. we need do both. we reremain committed to using it to end this war with a political solution. let me make this point, for as long as assad is able to defie international will and get away with the attack i believe he'll feel little if any pressure to come together negotiating table. he'll happy going on killing and maining his own part as part of his strategy for winning the brutal civil war.
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far from undermine the political process it would strengthen the political process. i giveaway to the chairman. >> can i thank the prime minister for giving away. one of the consequences of intervening will be the effect it will have on other countries in the region. my particular concern is he knows is yemen. which is the most unstable country in the area. has he looked at the continues consequenceses what might happen with intervention and the affect it is will have on the stability of a country like yemen. >> of course. we have -- i have taken advice from all of the experts about all of the potential impact on the region. it was actually the next question in my question that need to be answered. the fact is the region already profoundly in dangered by the conflict in syria. you have lebanon facing sectarian tensions with refugee piling across the border. gourden --
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jordan. is not going to alleviate the challenges. it's going to deepen. that's why the arab league has been clear in condemning the action and attributing it precisely to president assad and calling for international abs. -- action. needs a bubble clear international law and people and countries who prepared to stand up for them. i giveaway to my honorable friend. i'm grateful. i believe my constituents like those of the rest of the house want the prime minister to make clear on the country we're not going turn away from the illegal use of chemical weapons. but the going give peace a chance. will he assure us that he will continue to engage however difficult with russia and the other key countries to try to make sure that the u.n. root is productive under the diplomatic
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process is engaged as soon as possible. i absolutely agree with my friend that we must continue the process of diplomatic engagement. even after i spoke with president obama before the weekend. i called president putin on monday and had a long discussion with him about the issue. we're a a long way apart. the one issue e agree about is get the georgia geneva process going. the assurance i can give him. if there was any action, it would be immediately taken other biff running a political process once again, and britain will do everything in the power to make it happen. let me answer a final question that has been pushed in the debate over recent days. and that is the question of whether this will risk radicalizing more young muslims including people in britain. it's a vital question and not asked enough in 2003. it was asked in the national security council yesterday and we received considered able analysis from the counterterrorism expert. one is there in no room for
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complacency. the legal proportion of unfocused action proposed will not be a significant new course of really a callization and extremism. young muslim in the region and here in britain are looking at the pictures of musliming suffering and seeing the most horrific deaths from chemical weapons. many will be asking if the world will step up and respond. i believe the right message is we should. i'll take one more intervention from the honorable -- >> i'm grateful to the prime minister. would he reflect on the -- [inaudible] on the humanitarian situation not just as it might appear in the future but as it happens now. -- [inaudible] how can we be absolutely sure that given the agency like -- [inaudible]
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the 21st century but not -- [inaudible] make it an extremely point. right on, gentleman. we should be proud in the house and the country british aid money is playing in the -- relieving this disastrous situation. we are one of the largest donor and go on making that investment. we are saving lives and helping people every day. we have to ask ourselves the question is the unfettered use of chemical weapons by the regime going to make the humanitarian situation worse? i believe that it will. so if we believe there was a way of deteeterring and degrading future chemical weapons action it would be irresponsible not do it. when you study the legal advice published by the government it makes the point that the -- has to be about saving lives. so mr. speaker, let me conclude where i began. the question before us is how to
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respond to one of the worst uses of chemical weapons in 100 years. the answer is we must do the right thing and in the right way. we must be sure to learn the lessons of previous conflict. we must pursue every avenue of the united nations. every diplomatic channel. every option for securing the latest for the steps we take. and we must recognize the skepticism and concern that many in the country will have after iran all the way in which "the situation" and the a x we take are very different. we muster in -- ensure any action is proportionate, legal, and specifically designed to deter the use of chemical weapons. we must ensure any action support that is accompanied by a renewed effort to forge a political solution and relieve humanitarian suffering in syria. but at the same time, we must not let the specter of previous mistakes paralyze our ability to stand up for what is right. we must not be so afraid of doing anything that we end up
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doing nothing. let me repeat again. there will be no action without a further vote in this house of commons. but on this issue, britain should not stand aside. we must play our part in a strong international response. we must be prepared to take the identity of action. in order to do so. that's what the motion is about. and i commend it for the house. >> order! the question is the motion on syria and the use of chemowall -- chemical weapons as published in corrected form. to move his amendment i call the leader of the opposition mr. ed. >> i rise to move the amendment standing in the name of myself and my right honorable friends. i start by joining the prime minister in expressioning re-- revulsion of killing. there was a moral outrage it was ntenational community is right
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to condemn it. as the prime minister said. everyone in the house and most people in the country will have seen the picture of men, women, and children gasping for breath and dying as a result of this heinous attack. i can assure members of the house the divide that exists does not exist over the condemnation of the use of chemical weapons. and the fact that it breaches international law. nor does it lie in the willingness to condemn the regime of president assad. the question facing this house is what, if any, military action we should take. and what criteria should determine that decision. and that's what i want to focus on in my speech today. and i think it's right to say in my remarks the prime minister said a couple of times in his speech, words to the effect we're not going to get further involved in that conflict. this doesn't change our stance
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on syria. i've got to say for the prime minister, with the greatest respect, that simply is not the case. to me that does not military intervention. toint clear about this. i don't think anybody in this house or anybody in the country should be under any illusions about the effect of our relationship to the conflict in syria if we torp militarily intervene. as i said in my going remarks, it doesn't mean rule out intervention, but i think we need to be clear eyed -- we need to clear-we need to clear-eyed. we need to be clear-eyed about the impact this -- would have. let me also say, mr. speaker, this is one of the most solemn duties the house possesses. let peanut outline a simple question which is upholding international law and legitimacy, how can we make the
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live of the syrian people better? we should also have an outline a right to remember on it on the occasion, the duty we owe to the exceptional men and women of our armed forces and their families who face the direct cobs consequences of any decision we make. mr. speaker, the basis on which we make this decision, is our fundamental importance. the basis of making the decision term determines legitimacy and moral authority of any action we undertake. that's why our amendment asks the house to support a clear and legitimate road map to decision on the issue. a set of steps which enable us to judge any recommended international action. i want develop the argument about why the sequential road map, sinal the right thing for the house to support today. most of all, if we follow this road map, if can assure the country and the international community if we take action follow the right legitimate and
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course not an artificial time table or political time table -- and i think that's very, very important for any decision we make. mr. speaker, this is fundamental to the principle 77 britain. a belief in the rule of law. a belief that any military action must be justified in term of the corps. about potential consequences. and re-- to make the international institutions we have in our world work to deal with the outrages in syria. let me turn to the conditions in our motion. first, and this is where the prime minister and i now agree. we must let the u.n. inspectors do the work and let them report to the security council. the u.s. secretary general said yesterday, and i quote, let them conclude the work in four days and analyze scientifically with experts and have to report the security counsel for action. so the weapons inspectors are in the midst of the work and will
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be reporting in the coming days. today will not be the day when the house is asked to decide the military a. for this house, for this house, for this house it is surely a basic point. evidence should proceed decision, not decision proceed evidence. u i'm glad the reflection the prime minister accepted it yesterday. now it is true, because some people raised the issue, the weapons inspectors cannot reach a judgment on the a at -- they cob collude the chemical weapons are used in the eye of this country and the world it con fevers legitimacy on the finding beyond the view of my country or intelligence agency. what is more possible that what the weapons inspectors discover could give the world greater confidence and identifying in the perpetrators of this horrific attack.
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the second step, mr. speaker, our road map makes clear compelling evidence for the syrian regime responsible for ate tack. i welcome the lecture from the joint intelligence committee today. and i note the arab league's view of president assad's capability. as the prime minister said, in conflict there is reason for doubt. but the greater the weight of evidence the better. on tuesday we were promised it will be american intelligence and proof of the regime capability. we await the publication of the evidence, which i gather will be later today. that evidence too will be important in building up the body of evidence that president assad was responsible. >> the leader of the opposition said he might be able to support military action of the kind of the government contemplating. he is put in his amendment a list of requirements virtually all of which i can tell appear in the government's own motion. why can't he not support the government's motion in order this house could speak with the
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united voice -- i'll develop in my remarkingy don't think that's the case. in particular i would point fact that the government amendment does not mention compelling evidence against president assad. and i develop in my remarks on the fifth point of our amendment which is very, very important the basis on which we judge with action can be justified in term of the consequences. and i will come to that later in my remarks. the third step, mr. speaker is the weapon's inspectors findings and the other evidence. as the secretary general said, the u.n. security counsel should debate what action should be taken and vote on the action. mr. speaker, i have heard it suggested that we should have a united nations moment. that certainly not my word. they are words no justice the seriousness with which we must take the united nations. the u.n. is not some inconvenient side show. we don't want to engineer a
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moment. instead we want to adhere to the principle of international law. i giveaway to the gentleman. >> very much. welcome in the docket rain that the evidence proceed decision. that's a staunch change from one of the predecessors. tell the house whether he believes the evidence being presented to us today by the joint intelligence committee is compelling or not. >> i think this is important evidence. i think we need to gather furthered evidence over the coming days. that's hard to per sway the international community and anemia this country of president aside's capability. i think that's important. let he come to the earlier point, though, let me come to the earlier point. the prime minister racessed this -- raised it top. i'm hear we have to learn the lessons of iraq. i have to learn the lessons. one of the most important lesson was indeed about respect for the united nations. that's part of our amendment today. let me say on the question of the security counsel, mr.
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speaker, i'm also clear incumbent on us to try to build the widest level of support among the security counsel. whatever the intentions of particular country, the level of international support is vital should we decide to take military action. it's vital in the eye of the world. that's why it can't be seen as some side show or some moment. but actually an essential part of building the cape intervention take place. >> i thank the leader of the opposition for giving away. he's right it shouldn't be a side show. why does the motion said the counsel should have vote on the motion but rather in favor of the intervention. i'll come directly to the question. i'm come directly to the question. there will be those who argue in the event of western china vetoing the security counsel resolution that any military action would necessarily not be legitimate.
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i i understand that view. i don't agree with it. i believe if there's a proper case made there is scope of international law our con action to be taken even without the security counsel relation. mr. speaker, the prime minister didn't go in much details of the attorney general's legal advice. it was worth noting the advice there are three important conditions. con vunsing -- convincing evidence generally accepted by the international community as a whole. second, objectively clear there's no practical order if the use of force if lives are to be saved. it's a testing condition we need to test out in the coming days and the coming period. and third, the proposed use of force must be proportionate and strictly limited in time. so the attorney concludes the it's important for the house to
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understand this. but they could be circumstances in the absence of a chapter vii security counsel resolution for action to be taken by subject to those three conditions. that's the case that must be built over the coming period. now these principles, mr. speaker, we flect the -- reflect the responsibility to develop -- wide spread support. >> i just say -- he's right. i didn't cover everything in my speech. i could have gone to more detail in the attorney general side. but i just open for the clarity. you might not have time to read. it the the next sentence from the attorney general's advice is all three conditions would clearly be met in the case. >> well, what does the attorney general's view if that -- that is a view that needs to be tested out. that is a view that needs to be tested over the coming period. of course that's a case and the judgment that will have to made. additionally, additionally,
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additionally, mr. speaker. the responsibility to protect also demands a reasonable perspective of success in improving the -- to the syrian people. the responsibility to protect an essential part of making this case. this takes me, mr. speaker, to the final point point of the road map we propose. any military action -- i'm referring to the road map, and has already determined any action must be legal, proportionate, and term-limited and have precise and achievable objective. he could he detail bhat objectives are? >> i'm coming exactly to that point. the government needs to stebd out in the coming days. that takes me precisely to the final point of the road map which is any military action must be specifically design deter the future use of chemical weapons, it must be time limited with specific scope.
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so the future action require further for the house. and it must have regards to the consequences of any action. now, mr. speaker, we must ensure that every certificate made to bring the civil war to an end. the party in the conflict and in particular president aside. -- assad. the international community also has a duty do everything it can to support the geneva process. any action, this is a key point we take must assist the process and not hinder it. and that is the -- that is the responsibility that lies on the government in the coming period. the government and the allies to set out the case. there will be some in the house that say it should not con contemplate action even when it's limited. we don't know precisely the consequencings that will follow. i'm not, as i said, with those to rule out action. the horrific events unfolding in syria -- consider all the options available. but here is the point, mr.
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speaker, i want to make a bit more progress. we owe it to the syrian people, to our own country, and the future security of our world to scrutinize any plan that will better the consequences they have. and by setting the framework today, we give ourselves a time and space to actually scrutinize what is being propose bid the government to see what the implications are. i give way. >> for the sake of clarity for the house. how did the -- [inaudible] gentleman tell us if there was no u.n. security resolution, would the labor opposition back military intervention? >> it depends on the case that is being set out, and the extend to which an international support has been developed. and the honorable gentleman making a strange noises, i've got say to them. it's all right -- right to go about the process in
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a calm, and measured way. if people are asking me today to say, yes, let us take military action. i'm not going to say nap nor am i going to rule out military action. we have to do so on the basis of evidence and the basis of the con sen us is about support to be built. i give way. >> the -- the honorable member for -- [inaudible] very important question which i felt in term of -- in paragraph e of the motion, he proposed to precise unachievable objective that he has in mind precise unachievable projective. could he detail what they would be, please. >> yes, i can. it goes on to say designed to deter the future use of proibt -- prohibited use of chemical weapons in syria. but as it also says, as it also says in point five such action must have regard to the
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potential consequences in the region. so any proposed action to deter the use of chemical weapons must be judged against the consequences taking place. i think there's further work to set out what the consequences would be. >> i giveaway to the honorable -- >> on the issue of -- [inaudible] leader of the opposition to say and he's essentially making a strong case against military action. as a military action the consequences of which are very because the objective are frankly pretty soft and deterring. and a link between military affect and the affect on the ground and he's also to the consequences for the geneva 2 process which can only be negative. >> i'm saying to the honorable gentleman and the house, we have to -- [inaudible] over the coming period in a calm and measured way. not in a knee jerk way and not on a political time table of whether the advantage of the
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potential action and whether it can be done on the basis of legitimacy and international law and what the consequences would be. >> [inaudible] >> listening to the speech any reasonable human being would assume the gentleman is looking to quited house for political advantage. what has happened? what has happened to that interest? >> i have to say that intervention is not worthy of the honorable gentleman. i'm merely trying to get a framework for decisions for this house. my interest in this to ensure that the house of commons can make the decision when the evidence is available. there will be some people in the house -- ly giveaway in a moment. there are some people in the house, mr. speaker that it's simple. and there clearly will -- there will be some people who think we should make decisions now engadget the military
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conflict. even those ruling it out now. i think we have to assess the evidence over the coming period. i think that's the right thing do. and our road map sets out how we would do it . i give way honorable. >> one thing to not throw out military action. isn't the problem with the government's motion it's inprinceble force for military action. before we give the inspector say, before the -- take place. >> i do say to my honorable friend and to the house that it was notice thbl morning that it was certainly being presented at the government motion as if it was voted for, i think this is an important point as the house endorsing the principle military action. that's why i don't feel ready to support the government motion. i think that's why our motion which test our frame work for decisions is a right thing to do. i'm going make a bit more
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progress. >> i will give way, yes. >> will the right honorable gentleman confirm in advance of previous conflicts such is the intervention in afghanistan political parties in this house were briefed in detail and canceled term on the nature of the evidence of why there should be intersection. -- erintervention. can he confirm there were no such briefings in advance of the vote. >> actually, mr. speaker, i have the benefit -- [inaudible] with the prpl. i'm sure the prime minister have having heard the intervention will want to extend him and the minority party. so, mr. speaker, by setting this framework today. we give ourselves the time and space to assess the impact it would have on the syrian people at if i intervention, and indeed the framework of international law and legitimacy.
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as said, i do not believe we should be rushed to judgment on the question on the political time table set elsewhere. in the coming days the government has a responsibility building on the prime minister did today but more than what he did today to set out the case for why the benefit of intervention and action outweigh the benefits of -- i not rule supporting out the prime minister. i want to make the point. i do not rule supporting the prime minister, but i believe he has to make a better case than he did today. and frankly, he cannot say to the house and to the country this does not change our stance on sir cra and the involvement in the syrian conflict. frankly, it would, mr. speaker and the house will need to assess it. i'm not going give way. our -- that i believe can come on the confidence of the house and the british public. and crucially, this is an important point it places responsibility for the judgment about the achievement of the criteria for action reporting by the western inspectors to
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compelling evidence both in the security council the legal base, and the prospect of successful action with the house in a subsequent vote. i hope that the house can unit around the amendment today. i believe it captured a shared view on the house. both about our anger of the attack on the civilians, but also frame work to make the decision how we respond. i will give way. yes. >> can i thank my honorable friend for the -- [inaudible] don't you agree any responsible action could lead to -- [inaudible] previous conflict. the war is not a -- concept [inaudible] my honorable friend is entirely right. speak of a road map. does he not appreciate that the
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stage in our -- is what we do in the chamber this afternoon. given that his personally legitimate concern about consequences evidence, et. cetera has been met by the government. i urge you -- i urge you to support the motion so we can send a united -- [inaudible] mr. speaker, we're not going supporting the government motion was briefed this morning setting out principle decision to take military action. that's the wrong thing to do. we will oppose the motion. we could only support military action and should only make the decision to do so with the condition of our amendment are met, and if they are met. mr. speaker, we know that stability cannot achieved by military means alone. i want to end by saying this the -- in recent months and years
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further demonstrate of the need to ensure that we uphold the innocent civilian, the national interest on the security and future prosperity of the region and world. i know, the whole house recognize it is will not be and achieved through military solution. whatever our disagreement today we on this side of the house -- improve the prospect of spaes in syria and the middle east. it's what the people of britain and the world have a right to expect. it's a very grave decision and should be treated as such by this house and will be treated as such by this country. in the end, the fundamental task will be this. as we think about the men, women, and children who have been subjected to the awe toesty and can the international community that's why i urge the
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house to support our amendment today. the man script amendment be made. i must tell the house the 99 honorable right and honorable members are seeking to catch my eye in this debate. meaning necessarily the large number of colleagues will be disappointed. as always the chair will do it best to accommodate the level of interest. the chair will not be assisted by members coming up to it asking whether and if so when they will be called. i must ask member, please, not to do so. calm and patience are acquired. [inaudible] point of order. >> thank you, mr. chairman. the prime minister at least spoke yesterday morning told the media that u.n. resolution was to be circulated in the afternoon.
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i believe it's -- which i asked for a text from the library neither they nor the foreign office were able to provide. i wondered, plrk, if you might look in to that. >> right, honorable lady is an immensely -- she's in the 26th year in the house. she's started extremely young. [laughter] the that is not a matter for the chair. she's aired her concern in a very candid fashion. the prime minister and the other members of the treasury heard what she had to say. mr. speaker, i have less than listened to the most charitable way i can to the leader of the opposition. explaining why he cannot support the government's motion. given that the government responded not simply to his request but those from member on this side to wait until the inspector to complete the task and enable the security download
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consider the -- we can only conclude and the country can conclude he is incapable of taking yes for an answer. [laughter] i want to use the short time available to me to concentrate on one particular set of words in his amendment, and the need to reasonable phrase the knee for compelling evidence of the assad regime responsibility to these chemical attacks. we should be clear what compelling evidence means. nothing can even be proven 100 percent. if a person is charged with inured our court, he can be convicted of the jury of satisfied beyond reasonable doubt. it doesn't require someone to have been able to say i actually saw him pull the trigger. sometimes that's not available. normally it's not available. when we look at the situation in regard to use of chemical weapon in sir yap. what -- chemical weapons were use the. the assad regime themselves
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admit that. we know that they were use in the middle of a sustained artillery attack by the syrian government forces on the suburb in damascus where the chemical attacks then took place. we know that the syrian government themselves are the only state in the middle east that have massive stops of chemical weapons. and we know, and we know there cannot have been any ethical objection on the part of the assad regime to using chemical weapons. not just because they probably used them before, but because any regime that slaughters 100,000 of its own -- 100,000 of its own citizens which clearly have no -- in using chemical weapons as well. i give way. >> the right honorable gentleman said we know that syria is the only country in the middle east that possesses stockpiles of
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chemical weapons. he would he draw attention to the use by israel for illegal chemical weapons in gaza, white -- surely israel too has such weapons. we should take that in to account at looking at the spectrum. >> let us use another occasion if we may to debate these -- these important allegations. the issue is the syrian government themselves do not deny they have massive stocks of chemical weapons, and; therefore the issue is whether there's any considerable argument on the particular occasion in a district controlled by the opposition themselves. and the opposition has somehow the capability and the will and indeed carry out this attack. now, the inspector's reports -- in a moment. if i may. the inspector's reports will be help of the in two respects, i hope. they will give conformation of
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the scale of the chemical attack. if only three or four people died maybe somebody was carrying around a chemical agent as what happened in the underground a number of years of ago. when you have over 3,000 people treated by medicine, clearly it was a massive chemical weapons attack which required rocket and a capability we heard no one else in syria has either now or likely to have in the short to medium term. gheans background, the inspectors could indeed provide us with some helpful additional information. the question then becomes what is the purpose that military action is actually taking. it's not going to be limited as the prime minister rightly said. but it has one overwhelming -- and that has to be to deter furthered action of the use of chemical weapon by the assad regime. let me -- i hope no one can argue other
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that the very moment the assad regime in damascus are watching very carefully as to whether they will get away with what they have done. if they get away with what they have done. if there's no international response of a significant kind, then we can be absolutely certain that the forces within damascus will be successful in saying we must don't do use these whenever there's a military rational for doing so. there's no guarantee that a military strike against military will work. there's every certainty if we don't make the -- the action will indeed continue. the other point that has to, i believe, concentrate all our minds comprehensively is that a syria to act is not in itself an absence of a decision. itself has profound other consequences not just the ones i have mentioned. and most profound for the united nations itself. the league of nations
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effectively collapsed in the 1930s which germany and italy effectively prevented any sanction or other action being taken for the innovation of -- that together with other similar act of aggression which the league could not handle because the absence of unanimity created a cay use which lead to the second world war. the united nations far from suffering for we can take action which has the support of out of states and the bulk of the international community. far from suffering the united nations and the concept of international institutions and the international community acting to deal with acts aggress of this kind will be boosted in a way that would not happen by any other course of action. so i believe that the -- and come back to the house is not an overwhelmingly an interest of innocent, men women and children but far more likely to boost the concept of international action to deal with gross atrocity of human
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rights than simply wringing our hands, protesting at the action but failing to take any effective response to. . >> thank you, mr. speaker. i was the final speaker in this house on the 18th of march, 2003. on a resolution which i recommended to the house that we should take mill military action against the assad regime. that was passed by 412 votes to 149. i set out in detail how i came to the conclusion the war against saddam hussein was goferred based on the information available and widely shared international judgment about the threat posed by that regime. whatever the jusks on the 18th of march, 2003, the fact was there was an e egregious failure. it has had profound consequences. consequences across the region of the middle east and
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consequences not -- for establish politics trapped between the electors and the elected so essential to a house -- healthy democracy. iraq? however has becomes pass cyst. two years ago, the house approved the public approved action against the gadhafi regime. the need for the action was. a palble to prevent a mas consider around benghazi. it was approved by the security counsel, and it was plainly lawful. iraq has made the public more questioning, more worries about whether we put troops in harm's way. especially where intelligence is involved. and the question before us now is whether the use of chemowall -- chemical weapons changes the -- determined we should not intervene militarily. military support in syria and whether we should, as a
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government, propose agree that a strong humanitarian response to the use of chemical weapons may, if necessary, require military action by the united nations armed forces. my conclusion at the moment, at the moment, is that the government had yet to prove its case. and i think we are clear the chemical weapons were used. we'll get more information from the inspector. qel also pretty clear that it's the capability likely to see that of the assad regime. i say to the prime minister and my honorable members. there was strong evidence about what we all thought that saddam hussein held. he had -- >> we didn't. >> because we had -- because he had no hope for all the -- [inaudible] of chemical biological weapons. one second. and the issue was much more what
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we should do about that rather than a wide spread sharing of the assessment by the security council. so saddam hussein posed a threat to international peace and security. >> i'm grateful for the gentleman for giving way. it was the -- described in the house information as extensive detailed and -- which later turned out to be limited sporadic and touchy. it was a political failure. we -- we can cover that another day. i'm sure we shall. i make the point i accept my responsibility fully for what happened in respect to iraq. i think before the iraq inquiry and elsewhere to explain why i came to that conclusion. i just make the point i accept widely shared across the house one of the cobs --
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consequences of the has been to raise the bar we have to get over where the aggression of military action arises. i give way to my honorable friend. >> the honorable friend agree that the fact that the house was told they were weapons of mass destruction that were a threat to the united nations, and told again in 2006, we went to the province in a hope that another shot would be fired. the result accepting the decision are 623 united nations deaths of our great soldiers. doesn't he realize now that those are the reasons why the public has lost trust in government assurances about going war? >> very different argument in with respect to afghanistan and now. there are wayses to debate that. let me say this even if there is compelling evidence, on
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copability, the bigger question arises at the strategic object of any military action. one thing the prime minister has accepted that such strikes must take place will not significantly degrade the chemical weapons capability of the assad regime. we need to be clear about that. the adjustment spoke a moment about trying to take the capability down. if the first set of strike fail to do that and the prime minister seemed to be accepting that by the punishment and action degrading as a capability. what happens after that? and we know -- [inaudible] how easy it is to get to military action and how difficult it is to get out of it. and then the issue of precisely
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what is the objective of the action. and the case -- to fear between the alleviation of humanitarian suffering to some sort of warning. some punishment of the assad regime. if the prime minister is going to come back to the house to recommend military action, he needs to be clear about precisely what the purposes are. this morning, we woke up to hear the president of the united states, barack obama, say that by acting in a clear and decisive very limited way, we san diego shot as cross -- send a shot across -- let's pause for a moment and consider the metaphor chosen by the prime minister. the choice revealing. -- choicen -- choicen by the president. and the choice is revealing. it's a warning that causes no casualties. in this case, a missile which
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was is targeted to fly over damascus and land in occupied deserts beyond. this cannot be what the president has in mind. but what we need know is what he really has in mind and what the consequences of what he has in mind will be. because there will be casualties from any military action. some military almost certainly have many civilian as well. and my last point, the prime minister is this, he draw a distinction in the speech, i quote, our response war crime and taking sides in the conflict. i say; however much he struggles to make that distinction if we take an active part in military action, which i not rule out. it we do, then let us be clear we shall be taking sides. there's knows cape from that. we should be joining with the rebel and the consequences that arise from it and not maintain a
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position of neutrality. >> there are a number of things that the house will be generally agreed upon. the first is that for whatever reason, there is white spread skepticism among the british public about any further military involvement overseas. there have to be a number of questions, i believe, needs to be answered before we are involved in any one military action. the first is, what does a good outcome look like? the second is, can such an outcome be engineered? the third is, would we be part of engineering such an outcome? and the fourth is, how much of the eventual outcome do we want to have hon ?ranl i don't believe that in the civil war in syria we can answer any of those questions to our satisfaction. that is why i believe the british public are deeply skeptical about being involved in that civil war in any way,
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shape, or form. i believe that skepticism. i believe there is no national interest for the united nations in taking aside in that particular war to exchange an iranian and he hezbollah friendly regime. for an antiwest, antichristian, antial-qaeda regime does not seem to offer any advantages to us. but that, mr. speaker, is not the issue. there is actually being put in front of us today. there is the separate issue upon which we need have very great clarity. and that issue is how do we respond to a regime that has used chemical weapons against its own civilian population something that is against international law and is in fact war crime? i believe that the pictures that we saw in recent days shocked us even in our desensitized age. the picture of toddlers laid out
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in rooms was deeply disturbing, i think, to all of us. .. >> and i think it shows that the rest of the world is a serious about its obligations in enforcing the laws that already exist about the use of chemical weapons. much of the debate has already focused on the consequences of
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taking action, but we must also focus on the consequences of not taking action. on the consequences for the syrian people, does it make them more or less, does it make them more or less safe from the use of such weapons in the future? from the implications on the syrian regime, does it make them feel that they are more or less secure in taking such actions, again, in the future? on other regimes in other parts of the world with chemical weapons that might decide to use them against their domestic population, what signal would we send to them about the international community's willingness to stop such use in future, if we do nothing? and also let us not forget iran with their own nuclear intentions who are incensed on testing the will of the international community. >> i'm very grateful. i accept many of the points the right honorable gentleman is making, but many of us on the
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side of the house and i think on his as well would want to say that there's not a choice between action and inaction. simply a choice of what action should be taken. and some of us worry that military action might exacerbate a situation rather than make it better, and draw us into mission creep which we would have very little control over. >> entirely understand the point honorable gentleman is making. it is a valid point. as the prime minister second it is a judgment call. it is incumbent upon those who take these decisions ultimately to determine whether they think it's more likely that we would be drawn into such a conflict or whether we will achieve the objectives without that happen. there is a legitimate debate for the house to have. but i believe if we do not take action, it probably needs military action, then the credibility of the international community will be greatly damaged. what a value red line in the future, if we are unwilling to
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implement the ones that we've already had? i'll give once -- i'll give way once more. >> do you agree with me if we do nothing and stand by and watch as all this takes place, the atrocities described earlier by the prime minister, we agree with the chemical weapons -- i backed. >> mr. speaker, if we do nothing i believe that would be an abdication of our international, legal, and moral obligations. which we should take extremely seriously. mr. speaker, let me just say briefly one other thing. the government should be commended for taking the united nations route. it is right and proper that we do so, at that the appropriate amount of time for consideration is given. but it comes with the caveat. it is quite clear that russia has interest from military interest, that russia still feels very sore about what he
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believes his having been sold -- we are not likely to get russian support in the security council. nor are we likely to get chinese support in the security council. we cannot allow a situation where the international community is thwarted in its ability to implement international law by a constant veto by russia and china. and, therefore, i think we should be deeply grateful to the attorney general for the clarity of the advice that he is set out on how we can carry forward our international humanitarian obligations where such a situation to present itself. mr. speaker, to do nothing, let's be very clear, will be interpreted in damascus as appeasement of a dreadful regime and a dreadful actions that if carried out, appeasement has never worked to follow the cause of piece in the past. it will not now and it will not in the future. >> here, here.
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>> thank you very much indeed, mr. speaker. i rise to speak in favor of the recent amendment tabled by my right honorable colleague, the leader of the opposition. mr. speaker, i was a member of the cabinet which decided in good faith to join the east asian -- invasion of iraq. and i know how heavy the burden is on those who were charged with such a decision. i also agree that doing nothing is as much a decision in many cases as doing something. and i also agree that the present catastrophe in syria demanded decision of us. as has already been said, the use of chemical weapons is prohibited like customary international law, and binding convention. short of the use of nuclear
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weapons, it is the most heinous crime a country can commit, made even more dreadful when used in civil war on its own people. i am, therefore, i'm hesitatingly in favor of taking the steps that will deal as best as we can with our stance. but what is that step? what is our locus? how could we be effective? and at what cost? and i want to deal with the last question first. the cost in human suffering and human life is clear, but there's also another long-term cost. the damage that we made due to the rules of international law in international affairs. [inaudible] >> it is deeply frustrating that russia and china have formed a
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blocking minority in the security gel cell. and i know that members of this house will no doubt want to reinforce the importance, this diplomatic initiative, to seek to engage russia, particularly in negotiation with the syrian government. but it's also clear that to go to a war with assad, because that's what it would be, without the sanction of the u.n. security council resolution, would set a terrible precedent. after the nation treaty of the libyan operation it would amount to nothing less than a clear statement by the u.s. and its allies that we were the arbiters of international rights and wrongs, when we felt right was on our site. so what could we, what could we do or say at some point the russians or chinese adopted a
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similar argument? what did we say if they attacked a country without a u.n. resolution, but if they claimed it was right -- [inaudible] as precedents. legal restitution may not amount to much but it is, mr. speaker, all we have. it remains our best hope and we can't set aside terrible perils. hence the import of the roadmap set out from my right honorable friend of the opposition. i welcome the government to take no action until the u.n. inspectors had delivered their reports. but if or when it is approved, it concludes that assad has used chemical weapons on his people, what can we do to prevent him doing that again? there will, perhaps, be time in the future to bring him before the international criminal
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court, but what in practical terms can we do? and if we're able to get a u.n. resolution. here's what the u.s. of chairman of the, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff wrote to the u.s. senate armed services committee last month, referred to by my right honorable friend, the member of parliament, paul blackburn, that in examining five options to control chemical weapons. and i think we're all grateful to the extra briefing the library, this would involve billions of dollars each month, and risks that not all chemical weapons would be controlled, extremists could gain better access to remaining weapons, but with the added risk to troops on the ground.
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so the situation -- >> mr. campbell. >> here, here. >> mr. speaker, it's a secret that not withstanding the whole of the damascus, i have reservations about the use of military action, the circumstances with which we are engaged. in particular, those reservations to the absence of a proper role for the united nations. if the government motion now sets out, there is a role for the inspectors with a duty imposed upon the secretary-general, and that an endorsement to use every effort to secure united nations security council resolution under chapter seven of its charter. in addition, and i will come back to this in a moment, the motion also provide that for all of us, supporters, skeptics, or opponents, there will be opportunity to pass judgment on any question of british
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involvement at a further stage win, not surprisingly perhaps, rather more information may be available. >> does he agree for some of us at least a boat tonight will not predetermined whether we are satisfied that the next stage that there was a coherent plan, this is not a flick to much on neighboring countries? >> well, i think, i think my right honorable friend is referring by way of inference to the suggestion that there has been briefing, those who offer to the government would be endorsing in principle military action. well, most of us have been around here long enough to know how often briefing is a long way from the trees. and anyone who'd knows a thing about the, trick you should read the precise terms of the governments motion. now, the effort to achieve a resolution under chapter seven
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is a vital component of the doctrine of the responsibility to protect. because if no such resolution is achieved, and here i agree with the attorne attorney general, wd what was once called to military intervention, now responsibility protect, it's a fundamental of that doctrine that every possible political and diplomatic alternative will have been explored and found not to be capable. i also want to applaud, if i may, mr. speaker, the house for taking the under steps remind you wholly justified, in publication of the attorney general's advice. those of us who have long memories will remember that 10 years ago we were not favored -- [inaudible]. it's also worth pointing out, of
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course there was no second vote 10 years ago, within 24 hours of the motion being passed by the house, the tomahawk cruise missiles begin to rain down on baghdad. drag do it respectfully seems to me that we need to examine this matter not in response to the emotion which it undoubtedly engenders in all of us, emotion is no substitute for judgment in matters of this kind. and you must look to beyond what might be achieved in the short term to the medium term and the long-terlong term as well. and one of the questions i would like -- i'll give way to the honorable gentleman. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i think my job and forget what. he spoke a moment ago of the responsibly to protect. one of the criteria for the course is the prospect of success. success. is used outside with the objections o and the process of
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success on those objectives? >> we cannot arrive at a conclusion on the success until we have more information that is presently available. the honorable gentleman is quite right and i should indeed mention the fact that prospect of success is past all that doctor. remover also the doctrine is not universal but accepted. and in their use of it is on vacation, rather highly controversial. ag 20 -- the doctrine of responsible is to protect may not get very considerable support. >> the questions i have, mr. speaker, which i don't expect to be answered but which i hope will lie on the table are these. will minister action bring the geneva constants any closer? is it more likely to produce the political settlement which everyone believes is necessary?
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and although a strategic objective is set out, i hope i might, forgive me for thinking, perhaps military action is more of a tactic rather than a strategic imperative. and that's why i think we must give some consideration to the end again, to use it a colloquialism, and to particular to the whole issue of regional stability of what the consequences might be in a region which is already in a very unstable condition. and what, too, mr. speaker worth the next tour to carried out by some conventional means? what would be our response then in the light of the fact that for two years or so there have been a number of horrors brought about by the use of conventional weapons? and my concern is that if you open the gate, once, then it would be very difficult to close it.
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mr. speaker, i've read the motion and i read the amendments of the opposition, and i believe both are from the same determination to do what's right and to see that the house endorses everything that is right. but i have to confess that even with the most narrow textual analysis, i can find no difference of substance or principle anywhere within these two offerings. >> here, here. >> that is why i shall support the government in the lobby this evening. and i very much hope that the opposition will, too. >> angus robertson. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. across the house and all political parties, there is total revulsion at what has been happening in syria over the past month, and years, of the brutal conflict there, and particular the recent apparent attacks on civilians with chemical weapons.
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there's absolute unanimity here and internationally that the use of these indiscriminate weapons is unacceptable and the united nations is right to be currently investigating the circumstances of the attacks. if we're serious about our support for the united nations, the inspectors must be able to complete their work and report back to the world community before in the course of new action is undertaken. if as we expect a distant from the chemical weapons were used, one of the first things that should be made clear is that whoever ordered and carried out those attacks will in time face the full force of the law. regardless of what may otherwise may happen in the short term, the perpetrators of such a crime should understand that they face indictment by the international criminal court, or by a specially convened war crimes tribunal. today, however, mr. speaker, we have been recalled department because of potential imminent military action by uk and other
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forces. we have been called back for days before parliament was to reconvene anyway. so as not unreadable to conclude that there was a very high probability of intervention would take place before monday. the uk government expected that we should vote for a blank check that would've allowed you to military action before u.n. weapons inspectors concluded their investigations, and before their detailed evidence was provided to the united nations, or indeed members of this house. and having been misled on reasons for war in iraq, the least of the uk government could have done is provide detailed evidence, and, frankly, they have not as was underlined in my intervention to the prime minister earlier. in contrast with a sensible approach taken in the run up to the 2001 intervention in afghanistan, we were today expected to get the uk government up like check, but members on all sides of the house clearly reminded her leg that this is a hung parliament and the would be a majority for a blank check. but instead at least there
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should be safeguards. giveaway. >> thank you i will jump in for giving way but does he agree with me that when the conflict, especially now, -- [inaudible] is not regime change and only get a few weeks ago the government -- that has cost under confusion. >> the honorable gentleman makes a good point. i appeal to in piece on the government side to look closely at the amendment and ask themselves what is wrong with the safeguard if proposes. sure the u.n. weapons inspectors must be able to conclude their mission and had an assist opportunity to report to the security council and evidence in the funnies on whether chemical weapons were used in syria. surely we must have definitive evidence that the scene regime or opposition was responsible for the use of these weapons and with the greatest of respect that is not just two pages of a4 paper. sure the u.n. security council must consider and vote on this
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matter and the like other parts of the evidence that is submitted. and surely there must be clearly legal basis international law for taking collective military action to protect the syrian people on humanitarian grounds but and surely, the objections and counselors of any intervention must be made clear and not run the risk of escalating the conflict causing for the deaths in worsening the humanitarian situation. the safeguards in the mms are absolutely clear and will bring the issue by for a parliamentary vote before in the uk military intervention is possible. surely these safeguards, should the safeguards not be satisfied, the scottish national will vote against convention -- intervention. i would urge the uk government to invest more time and effort in supporting an actual end to the conflict and setting up you mention support for the hundreds of thousands of victims in syria and refugees have fled to neighboring countries. earlier today i met an
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organization that serves as much assistance as possible to help people in and around so you. he warned about the potential negative impact of military intervention and why that significantly worked -- worsened the condition. can urge the government to do more involved in the disasters emergency committee? with so may people watching our deliberations i would also urge the public to continue the great generosity in supporting humanitarian efforts. i also urge the government to renew its efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the conflict. do we really think tomahawk cruise missiles fired into cities will make it easier or more difficult? it is clearly understood that the civil war is intractable and there's little willingness to compromise. earlier today i heard an appeal by the london-based syria expert and commentator. he said to the people of syria from all backgrounds are crying out for help to resolve the civil war. please can the uk government focus its attention on working
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with the united states and the russian federation and all others of influence in the region including iran to bring the different syrian sides to negotiating table? in conclusion, mr. speaker, the uk government must not have a blank check for military intervention in say. we've heard it's been briefed that tonight's vote on the motion is an agreement in principle for military action. we should not give them a blank check for military intervention in syria either in principle or in practice. i have only 30 seconds left. we cannot ignore the lessons of the clematis iraq war. we need safeguards to ensure that all is done to provide evidence about chemical weapons in support for the united nations and international law. we need a comprehensive strategy which fully takes into account the consequences of intervention. what is currently a calamity could worsen a become a concentration across the middle east because with associate unite around the crossbreed safeguards amendment vote against the government motion and make up about it and she mentioned efforts the key focus of the international --
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>> mr. speaker, there are four key questions we have to address. is there a moral case? does the intelligence stack up? is it lawful? and what is the objective? the moral case is something which each individual mps will have to decide based on his own character, morality and attitude to world affairs. many colleagues and friends are in principle non-interventions but others have a strong interventionist street. others say that criteria is met, or this, then maybe. we all wrestle with the conflict between head and heart. but to those who say that the murder of hundreds of innocent citizens i chemical weapons is nothing to do with us, it's easy not to get involved him then i ask them to examine their conscience. syria is a signatory to the geneva protocol prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. it was a protocol drawn up in
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the aftermath of the first world war when the world of said never again. do we say, well, nevermind? let's just sit on your hands and ignore the atrocities taking place. mr. speaker, this isn't any ordinary convention but it is at the convention on genocide and the abuse of basic morality. some say, well, what is the difference between being killed by an artillery shell or gas? with all advice there is a red line. there is a straw that breaks the camel back, and to me this is it. in my judgment, faced with the mass murder of innocent civilians doing nothing is not an option. but then there is the question of credibility, a point made an excellent speech by my friend. britain is a member of nato. brenda is chairman of the g8 and we have a permanent seat on the u.n. security council. this gives us huge diplomatic
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plans but with benefits comes responsibilities. this is just the moment we have to ask ourselves what those responsibilities are. we can behave like a minor nation with no real international responsibilities. we can put our head in the sand, or live up to the expectations that the world community has on us. our objectives must be strategic. and a missile strike makes clear that chemical weapons cannot be used without a response from the world community. it helps to degrade the assad regimes this capacity and helps to deter the regime against future use. in my judgment, those are worthy objectives that have my support. >> one of the components which is common to both the motion and the opposition amendment is that we could end up and they -- this is the first step of two steps potentially due to action. want the transfer doesn't
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answer, the question about what the action with intel and the prime minister ruled out -- [inaudible] so in order to degrade assad's opportunity to use chemical weapons, would we not have to use either special forces on the ground to deal with them, or have a missile strike which could cause even more damage? >> i say to the honorable gentleman to get to take the world as you find it. the situation has been made quite clear and the prime minister actress this point. and initially is to attempt to degrade assad's capacity. it's essential that our strategic objective is focused on the commands and control of the chemical weapons program. if that is not successful but i'm sure that he and i will be back here asking, where do we go from here? but can i turn, mr. deputy speaker, to the attorney general's view that there is a legal basis for intervention
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without security council resolution, which poses more questions than it answers. i give way. >> i'm very grateful the honorable gentleman, but could he just be a bit more precise on this issue? the prime minister said today, it's widely the objective that it includes the grading chemical weapons capability. general dempsey has made it very clear that that's impossible to a significant degree by the deployment of thousands of troops and hundreds of ships. sure that be clear about what we are anticipating will result from use of tomahawk missiles and such things before we embark on them, not afterwards. >> this is the point the honorable gentleman made to the prime minister, and i thought general dental talk about a wider picture. what this particular motion and the proposal is looking at is the pacific chemical weapon regime that we will be attempting to degrade. the attorney general -- sorry,
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that's my two interventions. the question, i turn now to the attorney general opinion. his view is that there is a legal basis for intervention without a security council resolution, and i have to say to the house, i believe this poses more questions than answers. since the present doctrine was introduced in 2005, there is no precedent for this and this step has in my view serious consequent is. in effect, it means that the united nations is now redundant and that the american doctrine has legs of its own. it can be interpreted virtually anyway that the parties wished, and hope that when the dust settles, that this house and the united nations revisit the responsibility to protect, because i believe at present it is not working the way that it was intended. and then and there is the question of the intelligence. those of us who are here in 2003 at the time of the iraq war felt
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that they had their fingers burned. the case for war was made. parliament was briefed on the intelligence, but we were only given part of the story, and in some cases, and in accurate story. we have seen a summary of intelligence which has been published but it is their burden, and i do urge the government in the following days to consider how more intelligence can be provided. the picture is clear and as far as it goes, but in truth, it has no depth, and i warn to the suggestion by my honorable friend, that intelligence and security committee looks at the analysis and reports to the house on the veracity of that intelligence and to confirm that it coincides with the opinions that has been contained in the jake's intelligence letter which is before us. mr. speaker, this is a difficult time. there are no easy options and we are between a rock and a hard
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place and we have to decide that i, for one, will be in the government lobby tonight. >> john mcdowell. >> a number of their members and the leisure of the -- foreign secretary for the intervention of the last 48 hours which holds what looks like a head long rush towards war. it's widely acknowledged that the american president has set a timetable, for probably an attack this weekend. he came under pressure last year from the republicans and mccain to set red lines as parameters but it was inevitable then that that would escalate the demand for military action at a later date. that might explain the american position but it doesn't explain why a sovereign independent state for great britain should automatically order to line in support of military action. if there's a lesson of the last 48 hours, it is no prime
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minister cameron no government should take this house or the british people for granted on matters of this nature. >> the reality is that yes, time has moved on since the right. people have made references to the elections -- lessons from iraq. i will refer to three lesson. there's no automatic approval or even trust in a prime ministerial judgment on an issue like this involving the country in military action without overwhelming justification, evidence, and thorough debate. the evidence before us from the jic today says this, there is to quote some evidence to suggest regime culpability in the gas attack. and secondly, it is highly likely the assad regime is responsible. i have to say highly likely and some evidence are not good enough to risk further lives, risk counter attack, and blame the whole region, ma risk dragging other states into this
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war, at the same time increase the risk of terrorism on british streets. the second lesson of iraq is that based upon the principles of humanitarian intervention. it must be objectively clear that there's no practical alternatives for the use of force if lives are to be safe. i don't believe it has been censoring all practical alternatives have been exhausted. in particular, discussions around the permanent stationing of u.n. weapons inspectors to prevent the use of these weapons has not been exhausted. in addition to that, and insisted it participation of all sides and the u.n. piece conference has not been exhausted. >> is my friend not surprised that the british government appears to have made no rational efforts to try to build a relationship with the new government of iran, which might be part of a road to some kind of settlement? >> i think that lives with her point about the other lessons
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about iraq. and also with regard to afghanistan. -- [inaudible] any intervention does not cost lives, and also make matters worse? but no harm, do no harm principle. no matter how surgical strike, planned by the americans or by us, lives will be lost and lives will be put at risk. and negotiated piece is the only long-term solution for syria. that's what's been expressed on all sides of the house, but military intervention is more likely to undermine the potential for piece talks. halts within the assad regime will be even more intransigent and defined. the opposition, the so-called rebels, will have no incentive because they when i believe the u.s. and yes the uk and others will be on their side, and they can achieve a military victory. and also have to say, iran and the russians are very people we
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look to now to see whether they can bring assad to the negotiating table. if we've learned anything from iraq and afghanistan, it is this. that military intervention doesn't just cost lives but it undermines the credibility of international institutions that we look to to secure piece in the world. and in the long run, in the long run, undermines piece settlements across the globe. so, therefore, i believe we should focus on conflict prevention and conflict resolution. we should not be supporting military aggression it and that's what i will not support any motion of in principle supports military intervention insurgent. i can only do more harm than good. >> in common, i suspect i find this an exceptionally difficult issue. my constituents hate the idea of our getting involved in syria,
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and so do i. and as i said earlier, i have not yet made up my mind which way to vote. [inaudible] over the last couple days has been extremely helpful. i would like to look first at the legality of our taking action. the conversations that have been had with the media over the last few days have been talking about syria not having ingenuity for the use -- impunity for the use of chemical weapons. that word, ingenuity, implies that there is a new doctrine of punishment as a reason for going to war, not deterrence, not self-defense, not protection, but punishment. but i believe that if it is a new doctrine it meets a considerable wider degree of international consensus than currently exists. certainly i will.
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>> he's making an important point, the very last sentence of the attorney's advice says such an intervention would be directed exclusively to averting a humanitarian catastrophe. and a minimum judge necessary for the purpose. so there can be no doctrine, new doctrine. >> well, i want to come -- my friend is an exceptional lawyer and i have -- question one aspect of what he says. the third, i will in a moment, the third of his conditions being met for humanitarian action is that the proposed use of force must be necessary and proportionate to the aim of relief of humanitarian need. i believe that there is an additional point which he needed to spell out, which is that
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there must be a reasonable chance of success. and, therefore, the legality of this action, in my view, depends entirely on the precise actions proposed. and that we do not yet know, and that is why i think the prime minister is right to say that we need to have a further vote in this house and once it is clear as to what action is proposed. i give way to the honorable gentleman. >> thank you for giving way. if this concern about a possible new doctrine of war as punishment informed by the fact that senior american political source on the last weekend talked in terms of retribution as being the basis for taking action against syria, and that was repeated that a government minister here as well. if the international community takes action on the basis of retribution as being the motive,
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does that not send a very dangerous message and they very dubious standard for the way to the middle is? >> possibly, although there is a question as to how far, if there is a new doctrine, how far this doctrine extends, why was it not used earlier? this is why i question the attorney's advice. we have differences as i say. next come the object is. what are the objectives of any military strike? my right honorable friend, the prime minister, said that it was to deter and degrade future use. now, as i understand it, i country which can make a nonstick frying pan can make chemical weapons. personally, i find it very difficult for any country that can't make a nonstick frying
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pan. but nevertheless, if the city could simply re-create any weapons which we destroyed, where would we have god by attacking the chemical weapons? what is the risk of collateral damage? what is the risk of keeping -- hitting the chemical weapons were trying to prevent being deployed? that is a matter which i think we need further information on. next, the evidence. now, i am certainly a minority in this country. and probably a minority in this house, in saying that i personally believe tony blair when he said that he believed there were weapons of mass destruction in iran. i am certainly in a minority in the country when i say that i still believe that he was telling the truth, as he believed it to be.
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i think that he exaggerated the influence -- i know. i'm naïve. silly young thing. but i still believe that he exaggerated influence and the importance of intelligence. and i don't think we have then gone to the bottom, precisely the limitation of what intelligence can tell us. >> [inaudible] >> certainly i will. >> chemical weapons were used against the kurds. they were used in the iran-iraq war, and they were used against the people in gaza in the form of phosphorus bombs. certainly a chemical bomb. isn't the real reason we're here today is not because of the horror of these weapons, poor exist, but because the american president foolishly drew a red line and it is because of his position now he's going to attack or face humiliation?
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that's what we've been brought into war. >> i think the real reason is that unless we do something, and it mustn't be something stupid, but in less we do something that assad will use more chemical weapons time after time after time. so i do believe that in order to stop chemical weapons, the use of chemical weapons becoming the norm, the world does need to act. for the world does not -- the united kingdom. is the world wants us to act as the international policeman, then let the world face of. because in the past when we have done so, the world has not tended to thank us. it may be argued that only we have the capability of act. but there is a paradox here. we are a country which has the fourth largest defense budget in the world, and yet, still there are attacks that could be made on this country, weapons that
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could be used against which we have no defense. and that is true actually of every country in the world. so that is a concern that we ought to take into account in the way we decide to vote, not tonight i think probably tonight it will be helpful to support the government. but i think next week, or whenever the decision comes up, we will need to take that issue very clearly into account. >> [inaudible] -- despite the statement that has been watered down, it does appear to me to be something of a paving motion from to action which refers if necessary to require military action then, a legal basis of taking action, and then end up on ultimate paragraph backing the objection but there's also the following i quote despite the difficulties at the united
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nations, that united nations process must be followed as far as possible to assure the maximum legitimacy. a serious question is why was the draft motion not presented to the united nations before now? why the delay? it's all very interesting referring to difficulties, but diplomacy hasn't failed. it was, after all, the russians who pressed the government to allow the u.n. inspector general's in on monday. my colleagues, we believe any military action would prolong the conflict and lead to further bloodshed. we would call on the governments to use its influence and also its relations with others to bring all of the relevant parties around the table to conduct talks. achieve and, of course, should be to prevent further loss of life. now, there's been an ongoing humanitarian crisis in syria for almost two years if the government should also be putting efforts in to ensure
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greater humanitarian response, giving the level of aid sent to the region. previous military intervention in iraq, afghanistan, and earlier examples in recent history, shows the commitment of troops without an end to plan costs a very high price both in money and in lives lost. not to mention the physical and mental scars that individuals and communities at home and abroad must therefore bear. but if the uk backs the use of u.s. governments military action are indeed participate in it, then the conflict could will draw and russia, iran, the back assad's regime, possibly making diplomatic talks more difficult and certainly not easier for the future. and i would at this point refer to yesterday's guardian where it was said that even if assad use chemical weapons, the west has no mandate to act as a global policeman and by ordering air
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strikes against syria without a u.n. security council mandate. president obama would therefore be doing the same as bush in 2003. yes, i give way. >> in his legal experience and opinion, at what point does destroying air defenses and preventing a military capability start to become regime change? wouldn't that be illegal? >> really, regime change is unlawful at and international law and any part of that -- therefore it would follow the autumn of -- audible jump is quite right but the timing of the decision must also be questioned. regarding military abjection, if the decision as our been made in washington and agreed by the government here, then that's really why we're here, because washington feels there should be some bombs falling this weekend. now, many atrocities have taken place in the last two years
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since the conflict began. shirley, those seeking to take military action could wait a few days longer to assure that the facts are straight but it's obvious there's no threats to this journey of the uk that we know that the government seeks military action in order to deter and undermines chemical weapons, that's fine. that it may well see, that's fine, although military action has to be sanctioned by law. but surely, it should wait until the full conclusive proof is available their fight by the
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>> that has descended the civil war. the recent spill regarding militant objection has been confusing. last friday at united states and
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the uk governments were pressing for weapons inspectors to be allowed in c. on monday the inspector general's went albeit in difficult circumstances but on monday evening all indications were that the u.s. and uk had made up their minds about the strike was indeed imminent and maybe that's why we're here today. but then on tuesday the uk stopped, perhaps worried about the consequences of proceeding into conflict with israel purpose of support for. the legacy of iraq begins looming large as we said. we will be voting against the government motion and its of supporting the amendment tabled by the official opposition and it is called in by the honorable lady for civilian. the last decade is in the uk and broken many bloody wars paying a high price especially, and failing to secure any peace. the middle east is in a very precarious state as we now speak. we must learn from these
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mistakes very carefully. but i'd like to make, this one man on the record. eyes was support for the official opposition's anemic to date does not in any way imply that we shall in any way for for another strike in due course and less the evidence supports it. >> doctor julian lewis. >> thank you, mr. speaker. as the prime minister pointed out, poison gas was extensively used in battle in the first world war, and this led to a repulsion which was formulated by the 1925 geneva gas protocol. which banned the use of poison gases, but which did not prevent a country from possessing a stockpile so that it could threaten retaliation if attacked by poison gases. that protocol has nothing to do with the fact that poison gas was not used in the second world war.
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what prevented hitler from using it was the threat of overwhelming retaliation, and, indeed, saturn gas with inert gases which would not see scientists -- which nazi scientist invaded and hitler proposed to use it in 9043 and was deterred from doing so by domestic and believe that the allies had invented it and discovered it, and they hadn't. similarly, churchill -- what weapons in 1944, and decided not to do so on military advice, the gas protocol has nothing to do with it. i will give way. >> if it is talking about hitler's use of gas on soldiers hwho should not forget that hitler in fact did use poison gas on innocent civilians, 6 million jews to be precise. i'm delighted to have the extra minute, especially the very next point i was going to make.
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[laughter] given it must be said that a large proportion of members of my family were amongst those victims who were gassed, and the reason that hitler did use poison gas against those innocent victims was because he didn't -- we cared about was whether not people would hit back and those victims couldn't hit back, whereas in fact the allies could and that's why he didn't use it against them. i don't want to divert too long into this but it's very important to understand the realities of what makes countries use poison gas and what deters them from using it. and in my mind the questions that we have to consider resolve themselves into two rather than the four which eloquently the chairman of the foreign affairs select committee put forth. my two questions are, is it proven that assad did it beyond reasonable doubt? and secondly, even if he or his
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regime did it, is a military strike sensible? now, first of all on the question of whether or not he did it, the u.n. inspectors are not going to post anything about that as i understand all they're going to do is going to does whether or not a gas attack took place. so we can't look to them for pointing the finger as to who did it. the jic have been cited and we can all read the summary come and the summary is not conclusive. the summary, in fact, says that the jic are baffled as to find a motive for assad having done this, and well they might be, because if he did do it, and maybe he did, if he did do it it was the height of irrationality for him to do the one thing that might get the west into being against them. >> when my friend gateway? >> of course spent i think there is a clear motive for him to have done this.
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he's been using chemical weapons on a number of occasions, five previous occasions. testing the west to see if they're going to respond. he's lost control of the aleppo airport. rebels are fighting in the suburbs of damascus. he's getting desperate. that's why he used it. there is no question. if any circumstantial evidence that points to anyone else. >> nevertheless that would make more sense if you actually was willing to acknowledge that he been testing the water rather than vehemently denying that he did. i think it's just as likely -- i'm not going to give way would of still answering a previous question but it's just as likely that if the regime were responsible in some way, it might've been done by some part of the regime unauthorized by another part of the regime. and, indeed, this leads me to the question of contradictory
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evidence it because according to the leaked reports, i'm the one hand we're getting stories that this was ordered by assad's brother in a retaliation to an attempt on the life of the leadership, an assassination attempt that failed. on the other hand, we are saying there is intercept evidence that, in fact, it may have been the result of somebody unauthorized doing this because there was a telephone conversation where a summit was saying why on earth did you do this? that was sort of a panicked reaction for unauthorized release of poison gas. it is very far from certain that the evidence stacks up and, indeed, we've got the intelligence and security committee and i see no reason whatsoever that the isc which is cleared for classification will up to the sort of material that the gac has been looking after and the prime minister has seen and i don't see why those of us have been cleared for that sort of access should not have that sort of access. but i now move onto the second
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question and the second question is this. let's suppose that assad did it. isn't insensible to reply with military action? we've heard the argument about red lines their preferred arguments about the importance and the sacrosanct that we must stand up for. but if it is the case that my honorable friend is correct and but for assad government did do this a rational thing, then that shows that the assad government is behaving very irrationally indeed. and one of the things that really does bother me greatly is that it is now being suggested, and i say this as someone generally supportive of israel, the israeli intelligence may be the source of the evidence that the tranten government did it. if tranten is behaving irrationally, if he is so desperate, what is to prevent him, if he is attacked
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militarily i us on the perceived basis of intelligence supplied by israel from retaliating with a chemical attack against israel? what then will israel, israel will retaliate in turn. what then will america do? what will iran do? what will russia do but i started off, mr. speaker, by making a reference for the first world war, next year we are going to be commemorating the stinking great of the events of august 1914. and those events have a worrying parallel because you have a series of actions and reactions which drew in an escalating fashion one country after another. nobody thought that the assassination of an obscure archduke woodley toward world event. this is a powder keg and we should not be lobbing weapons into the heart of such combustible material.
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>> we will break away from this british house of commons debate on syria at this point. were expected this debate to continue for several hours with possible votes later today. taking a look at democratic congressman saying there's no vital national security involved, even if it's in government has proved to deliver did use chemical weapons, which -- republican scott wigle tweets what's happening right now in british parliament should be happening in the u.s. congress. moral issue. is a death caused by chemical weapons wors were someone causey high explosives and bullets? more than 1000 dead here and not killed by chemical weapons. u..
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you can see past program and get our schedule at our website. you can join in the investigation -- conversation on social media sites. join us later for more live
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programming with an event looking at innovation and national security issues. the group young professionals in foreign policy, and the disruptive thinkers d.c. hosting the program. we'll have it live at 6:30 p.m. eastern also here on c-span 2. it's the group hear tinge action. they have been holding health care town hall meetings across the country this morning. today the president, the father of senator ted cruz visit wilmington, delaware. you can see it live on c-span at 7:00 eastern. that's the conversation with former vice president dick cheney and his older daughter, liz. they spoke at the fifth annual steam boat institute freedom recently. he's running for the republican nomination for u.s. senate seat from wyoming. this is an hour and twenty minutes.
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[cheering and applause] well, we're delighted to be here tonight. i've watched the development of the organization and bill and tony are close, close friends. i probably would not have gotten elected to congress in 1978 if bill and tony hasn't helped me carry shy yain. i had a tough primary but they came through. [applause] and may or may not agree with their outcome but that was fault. [laughter] it's ban privilege, obviously, to have the opportunity to spend some time with my daughter, and as i finished up my time in the white house, decided to write a
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book, and it's nice to have your oldest child interested in listening to your old war stories. [laughter] and then helping you write them down. that's what liz did. i noticed she has the book in her lap tonight. i have no idea what is planned. i'm not sure where this is going. it's all good. it's all good. i'm delighted to be here and have the opportunity to spend some time with all of you, and with that, i will introduce my daughter liz chaney, who is seeking political office. but there is not a political event. all right. [laughter] [inaudible] >> it's not working. [laughter] >> is there a way to turn it on. there. we'll have the opportunity --
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move the mic up. well, talk in to it. hello? all right. thank you. i think the nsa a is not operating these microphones clearly. [laughter] or maybe barack obama is. that's a good point. it's wonderful to be here tonight. wonderful to be here at the steam boat institute. i think it's long past time that the aspen institute got a doze of truth and reality and facts. [applause] and we're thrilled to be part of that effort here tonight. we thought we would do a cup of things. we want to talk about current events, but the most important
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current event in our lives in our family has been the fact that my dad was bless -- we were all blessed. my dad was a recipient a of new heart a little over a year ago. [applause] and his story, you know, he talked about his first campaign for office when he was elected, and 1967, when i was running the first time was also the first time he had a heart attack, and i've been going back for reasons you can imagine looking at some old news clippings about political campaigns in wyoming, and came across one where my dad was asked about his heart attack in 1978. after he had the attack and decided he was going stay in the race he was interviewed, and, you know, somebody the reporter said to him, well, are you
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concerned that having had the heart attack it might hurt your ability to get elected? and he said no, you know, nobody tried the heart attack before. [laughter] he's just finished a book. i want him to talk about the book, which is about his heart. it's called "heart" it talks about his 35-year struggle with and challenge and dealing with and really overcoming heart disease. and i wanted to start tonight, dad, by asking you to tawsht that. you are the most famous cardiac patient in the country, and maybe in the world. you certainly accomplished great things while you dealt with the challenge of heart disease. maybe you can talk about how you dealt with it. and in particular, what i think is interesting is sort of the mental attitude you always had about the disease, and about not letting it hold you back.
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>> well, thank you, liz. most of you, obviously, i had a few heart problemses along the way in the midst of my career, and after i finally achieved -- obtained a heart transplant 16 months ago, my cardiologist came to me, john ryder, and he suggested that there was the book that he and i might do together. if you look backed at the historical record between 1968 and 2008 we reduced the incident of death from heart disease by about 60% in this country. that my -- the fact that i'm here to be the at all and i survived through that period of time and he described to me at one point as the only heart patient he had
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still alive who had the first heart attack back in the '70s. wasn't to comment, i adopt don't think, on his care. we had the experience a couple of years ago. basically what happened i lived with it and dealt with it in this various forms from 1978 all through my career in congress, hall hal i went to heart failure 17 months after i left the white house and vice president. they went in one night and worked on me one night and put in a pump to supplement my heart. that bought me 20 months and got me to the transplant 16 months ago. it's nothing short of a miracle. it's an interesting story in the way john told it. i got a phone call one day, it was just before the transplant from the cleveland -- clinic, they were going put on a
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conference on innovation and cardiologist and care of heart disease. we said we have the suppliers coming and the makers of the devices. we have a lot of docs coming. we decided we need a patient. and somebody said, let's get dick cheney, let's get him. he had everything done to him that you can do. it's true. it gave the idea you can tell the story of the 40-year miracle, really, of what happened to with respect our ability to deal with heart disease in this country. through my story and case history. most of the things that staved any life -- saved my live over the last 35 to 40 years weren't around when i had the first heart attack in 1978. the treatment i got then was like when dwight eisenhower got 22 years before in 1955 when he had heart attack in colorado.
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so what we do with johnathan writing as the physician, i write as the patient, and we tell the story of all of those developments, and including the historical include and where incidents came from and d.a. fib defibrillators that saved my life and the transplant surgerying with the whole body of technology and development of medicine, cleats cholesterol, we tell that story through my case and laid against the background of my time in public service. and i was uniquely blessed in many respects, obviously, you can never express enough gratitude for a donor or the donor's family. you cannot talk about what i went through and i survived it what without talking about liz,
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her sister, and my wife. we celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary next week. [applause] i -- when you go through everything we went through as a family, and the only way to go through it is as a family, if at all possible. i wake up every morning with a smile on my face thankful for a new day i never expected to see. and basically what the book is about, it's simon and shuster love it. it's called heart, american medical odyssey. i think it's a pretty good book. it's not political. it has nothing to do with politics. i suppose you could say that all of pry my critics say i never had a heart. [laughter] may want to have that problem -- this challenge now i have proof that i do have. [laughter] but it's really, you know, been an important part of my life. you don't really talk about it
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while it's going on. people weren't interested in me as secretary of defense if i was, quote, had a bad heart. they wanted somebody to do the job. because of the great support i had for my family, for friends all over america who prayed for me, and who were there when i needed support and help made it possible for me to live a full and active, and otherwise normal life inspite of the fact for 35 years i was a cardiac patient. as the folks at the cleveland clinic said had everything done to him you can do to a heart patient. i'm grateful to to be here to be the. -- tonight. i'm grateful for the support people have provided over the years, including many of you in the room tonight. i'm grateful to be here with my daughter, and my first child. >> your favorite. >> well, -- [laughter]
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that remains to be seen. >> hey! [laughter] well, i'll leave it at that and turn it back to liz. >> you are supposed to tell the story. >> yes. he's got the script. she never gives me the script. she makes certain i follow it. we did -- liz has got five of our grandchildren, kate is the oldest pop. he's a soft more. her younger is my name sake, richard. after i had the transplant, the rule is you can't sit in the front seat of the car because they don't want you to get hit with an air bag. it's a little hard on the plumbing. i was sitting in the backseat with my 6-year-old grandson, richard. he was asking me, you know, be d you get a new heart, grandpa? i said yes, i did. he started asking questions. i did the best i could explain
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the process and how it came about to my 6-year-old grandson. he listened carefully for five or ten minutes and said, yeah, i had one of those when i swallowed a quarter. [laughter] my other favorite richard story. he was i guess in cinder -- school and came home one day and said, mom, tomorrow i have to stand up in front of the class and tell why am i special. and she said what are you going say? he said i have two choices. she said what? he said i can say my grandpa was vice president of the united states. and he said, yeah, that's pretty good answer. what is the other one? he said, i can tell them i got my cat at the dump. [laughter] [laughter] and you can guess which one he
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used. [laughter] >> okay. i'm going tell a richard story. it wasn't in the script we would tell three richard stories. so the other thing in our lives, i mean, obviously caring for my dad it brought the family together. but we're a family very much politics that brought us together over the years, and the chance to campaign together as a family when my sister and i were young, and we traveled wyoming with my mom and dad and my grandparents it really did bring us together and gave us a chance as kids to see how democracy work. to understand how important that process is, and it's a process that i'm now going through again with my own kids, and people have asked me, you know, my goodness, you have five kids. how is that you're to be run for office with five kids?
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and one of the things that i know for sure is that the exposure i had, the chance i had as a little girl to see what democracy looks like was an invaluable lesson for me, and a lesson i'm really honored now to be able to share with my own kids, and so the latest event we all did together was the wyoming state fair parade in douglas, wyoming last weekend. we had my kids and my cousin's kids. we had a gaggle of little kids walking in the parade with baskets full of candy. so my campaign manager decided that it would be very important before the parade began for us to brief the kids, because when you're out there tossing candy it can get dangerous. so she brought them together and said, okay, we're going to talk about the rules of being in a parade. the rules of throwing candy in parades, and she said --
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rule number one. my older son raised his hand and said don't chuck the candy hard. and she said that's right. that's an important rule. no throwing the candy hard. what is rule number two? one of my cousin's little girl's raised her hand and said no throwing at faces. he said that's right. rule number three of being in parades and throwing candy, and richard raised his hand and he said no parting. -- farting. [laughter] that's a good life lesson. [laughter] [laughter] but it's in addition to the life lessons that you learn in a campaign, we do want to talk a little bit about current affairs, and about what is happening and about the concerns that i know steam boat institute has, and about the concerns that people across the nation have.
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about the direction of the country. and we were not here to do a political event, but it is very much, you know, those concerns that made me decide to run for office this time around. i believe that, you know, we are living very clearly in this moment through a critical point in our nation's history. you can look back at our nations and our own at other period of time and see when it was that countries came to a fork in a road. when it was they came to a turning point. you can think about winston churchill and his election as prime minister in britain in 1940. the extoant which people around him said you have got seek terms with adolf hitler. if you don't seek term and don't surrender, you'll be destroyed. and he refused. he refused to capitulate he knew
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the odds were against him. he saved civilization. you can look at margaret thatcher when she was able to save the country from the rave averages of socialism to say i'm going turn the nation around against odds and against people who said she should sit down and be quiet. in our own nation, ronald reagan revived that same example. of a president who came to office and who saved us from the malaise of the jimmy carter era. now, i think that many times in history, when you look back, you have the ability to see those moments. you don't always know them when you are living through them. we know right now as we sit here tonight that we're living through one of those moments. it is a moment that we've all -- we have to make a decision. what are we going do? are we going to let the president take the country down a path which could lead to a
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destruction, or are we going to stand and fight and defend our freedom? [applause] and i know that you all think of this like i do when you think in term of the blessing we have. this nation that we live in, the legacy that we have inherited does the unbelievable miracle of the founding for the first time in the history of the world the founding father said this nation will have the people be the sovereign. it never happened before. s if an unbelievable blessing where we get to live in a nation where we are free. men and women have died for our right to be free. but that imposes an incredible obligation and duty on every single person in this room, every single american across
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this country. that's a duty defend that freedom. to defend that freedom against both external enemy, against terrorism, against our national security, to defend against presidents like this radical man in the oval office today who believes that the government is the answer to every problem, does not believe we're in an exceptional nation who thinks that he ought to control at least a sixth of our economy who said that the private sector is, quote, the enemy. that's what he believes. now, i think we have the opportunity today. frankly to be in a position where we sent a strong message to washington. that's a message we're going to not going along to get along anymore. we're not content with business as usual. we are taking back our freedom and value and fight to defend
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what every one of us knows this country was built on. [applause] i'll give the mic back to my dad. don't lose hope. you know, it can be really easy particularly if you listen to the mainstream media to think how conservatives are a minority. to think we're powerless, to think, gosh, we ought to be discouraged about 2012 and we ought to give up the fight and sit down and be quiet. if you start to lose hope, think about this, the president of the united used the irs, abused the power of his office to go after political opponents. he went after conservatives, he went after republicans, he went after member of the tea party. he the irs asking people what they say in their prayers. now, that's un-american.
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it also tells you something about our power. because the president of the united states would not bother to use the irs to go after us if he wasn't afraid of every single one of us. [cheering and applause] so whenever you live, whenever you have the opportunity to cast vote, to work for an important cause, to work for an important organization, please dedicate yourselves over the next year to making sure that, you know, 2014 is going to be critical for us. it's going to be critical for taking back the nation, and a moment when everybody around the country can hear, especially from those of us in the rocky mountain west that we're not going stand for it one minute longer. [applause] now one of the questions that i get a lot and that i am going ask my dad, i would like to hear
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his view on. you know, the media in particular likes to talk about how the republican party is in disarray, and we're facing these huge challenges but we have dispute going on inside our own party. i would like to hear you talk, dad, a little bit about sort of your perspective on this as somebody who has obviously participated in politics and policy for a long time. and who has seen our party and who has seen the democratic party, you know, go through times of change, and i would be interested to hear your thought on where the party is today, and what we have got to take back the white house in 2016. >> after the -- i wasn't happy about the election outcome in 2008, but president bush and i had our eight years.
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we had worn out our welcome in some corners. we're looking better and better every day. [laughter] [applause] it was easy after -- not easy but it happened to a lot of people to be down after the '08 election and we lost, but then we went through, i can remember in that morning on january 20th, 2009 when we swore in the new president. there's a certain ritual that i've been fascinated by, and i've been five republican. thes since eisenhower. i worked for four of them and worked closely with the fifth as part of the congressional leadership, and i've always been intrigued by that transfer of power and new administration come in. i can remember when president
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ford lost in 1976, i was in his chief of staff was to read his concession statement over the telephone to jimmy carter. president ford lost his voice. he was working so hard in the closing week of the campaign he literally -- his voice was gone. all he could do was a bares whisper, and he called note oval office. we drafted a telegram, and then tenth he told me to get governor carter on the phone and introduced me. i had to read the statement. that was a real bummer. that was about as low as you can get. when i think about my political career, -- as i look over it now and think about those particular days, but a lot of my experience is that out offed adversity rises opportunity, and that --
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i think back to that period when we lost the '76 election on the heel of watergate, nixon had been forced to resign, and so a lot of things you can be pretty grim about, but the perspective of a little time in history. we had to go through that jimmy carter period to get to ronald reagan. that morning when i read that telegram, that was for me, became the beginning of the reagan revolution. we were reagan identity by 1980 when we got behind governor reagan, i think, did some tremendous work. took back the senate that day and put a man in the white house believed in all of those things we all believed in the creed of your institute. i tend now, when i when i look what is going on out there. there's an awful lot i do not like about what is going on. i'll say a word or two about it in a minute. i look forward to the next
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election. and all the elections coming up as -- it's not going to easy. we have to earn it one vote at the time. i have to raise the money and recruit the candidates, build the organization and put forth a program that the american people will believe in and support, and it's our right as americans to go do that. t our right as americans to change the government. that's my by golly what we're going do. [applause] now i -- there's a lot of concern, i hear a lot of discussion on the political debate these days as focus an awful lot on dmeive affair -- domestic affairs for legitimate reason. i am, perhaps even more concerned or at least as concerned what about is going on internationally as i am about what barack obama and his administration are doing
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domestically. why do i say that? well, one of the most memorable days of my life, obviously, was 9/11 when -- after the planes struck the world trade center in new york, i was in my west wing office working with my speech writer. some of the staff gathered around when word came down there was an attack in new york. shortly after that the door to burst open. one of my secret service agent came in. i was sitting down on the chair and said, sir, we're leaving now. he didn't ask, he didn't say would you come with me. he grabbed the back of my belt with one hand and propelled me out the door and down the stairs headed for the emergency operations bunker underneath the white house. and we got part way down. got to a tunnel and he told me the reason they evacuated me was because there was a hijacked aircraft that had been reported by dallas headed toward crown,
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that's code word for the white house at the high rate of speed. turned out that was american flight 77 that went to the pentagon. but what emerged out of that whole day, obviously, was not a terrorist act, it wasn't a law enforcement problem, it wasn't a matter of us sending out the fbi to go find the bad guy and bring him to trial and lock him up. it was an act of war. it was worst than parole -- pearl harbor. took place in the heart of america. if it hasn't been for the brave passengers they would have taken out the white house or the capitol building. that's about as bad as it gets. [applause] we had one of the key decisions we made in the bush administration that we made it basically that night and the
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next morning after the day was over with and the president was back and addressed the country, we were evacuated off the south lawn of the white house in one of the white top helicopter in camp david. ..
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using all the powers of the president under article ii of the constitution as the commander-in-chief and that's what we did and during the course of that we put in place a terrorist surveillance program. it is now referred to as the nsa program. basically though what it did was it allowed us, and i'm confident the program we put in place, obviously i haven't been involved in the classified stuff since i left the white house but the program we put in place, saved as general alexander has said, the head of nsa, stopped over 50 attacks on the united states and our friend overseas, over the course of the last 10 or 12 years. we put in place the enhanced interrogation program, waterboarding, some people said that was torture. i don't believe it was torture.
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ksm may have felt like it was torture but the fact was enhanced interrogation program signed off on by the justice department, using techniqueses we used on our own people in training it wasn't torture no matter what anybody said. it was a good, legitimate program, that led to us develop the intelligence we had to have to keep america safe for seven 1/2 years. [applause] and it worked. the record speaks for itself. the cia put out a classified report in 04. we captured ksm in the spring of 03 in karachi. he was ultimately subjected to enhanced interrogation. a report was published, classified bit cia. subsequently i asked and it has been declassified, although it still has parts of it redacted, but the headline on it, khaled
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sheikh mohammad, preeminent source of al qaeda. that is the place where we learned most of the intelligence we had in the mid-part of our time there, about what al qaeda was all about, where they were based, how they were funded what their plans were for the future, where the training camps were located. on 9/11 which didn't know any of that stuff. we knew osama bin laden was in pakistan but that was the extent of our knowledge. the way we kept the country safe was to go get the intelligence. according to the agency itself, the way we did that was by subjecting him, because he was subjected more than anybody else to enhanced interrogation techniques. why do i tell you all that history? this administration doesn't get it. they just don't and, obama made a speech here not too long ago. it was at the national defense university, maybe three months ago in may, and, basically said, okay, now we're returning back to the pre9/11 days, i.e., we're
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not at war anymore. we're going back to pre9/11, when it is just a law enforcement problem and we'll try to round up the bad guy when blows something up and we're no longer on a war footing, if you will in terms of thinking about the state we're in. i think that's dead wrong. i think it is an absolute total misreading where we find ourselves today. as i look at that part of the world, now, north africa, a good part of the middle east, not just afghanistan, where they launched 9/11 from but also yemen and of course a major struggle underway in egypt with the muslim brotherhood having power there. the muslim brotherhood by the way spawned all these other radical islamic groups. egyptian islamic jihad, al qaeda. muslim brotherhood founded it back in the 19 '20s. out of that have come most of the major islamist terrorist organizations but they are out there. all you have got to do, if you
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have any question about it, look at benghazi, in libya and all across the middle east and, in the clearly, in other areas such as pakistan, iran. we see obviously significant elements of radical islamists belief and action and activity. they have a much larger geographic base from which to operate now that they can use as sanctuary and safe harbor than they ever had on 9/11. we've got a major problem with respect to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. nobody likes to hear that. that's a dirty word after we went into iraq because of our concern about weapons of mass destruction. but it was a legitimate concern. saddam hussein had twice had nuclear programs underway. '81 the israelis stopped when think took out the reactor. in '91, we took it out during desert storm and but he preserved the technology and
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capability and people to get it started up all over again. when we took down saddam, we shut down the iraqi nuclear threat. when we shut down the iraqi nuclear threat. muammar qaddafi saw what we did to saddam he called up and surrendered all his stuff. he had centrifuges, iran yum feedstock and chinese nuclear weapon design. that resides here in the united states. because qadaffi didn't want to have him that happened to saddam hussein. in the end he got worse and deserved this. after we got qadaffi we went after a.q. khan. he was the father of the pakistani nuclear program. he went into a black market operation himself and was selling nuclear weapons technology to the libyans. they were his best customer. to the iraqis, to the north koreans and we shut down, a.q. khan's black market operations. we took out three major sources of proliferation.
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that in and of itself was reason enough for us to go do what we did to saddam hussein in iraq but the threat hasn't gone away. you may remember, it was discovered in the spring of 07 that this is a few months after north korea set off their first nuclear test, that the north koreans had built a nuclear reactor capable of producing plutonium, in the eastern syrian desert. now syria's mess today. everybody is worried about chemical weapons. imagine what would have happened if the israelis hadn't taken out that nuclear reactor in '07? thank goodness we did. i wanted to do it ourselves. i lost the argument but fortunately the israelis went ahead and did it for us. we also found from a.q. khan that the north koreans bribed senior pakistani officials to acquire the latest state of the art technology for enriching uranium. we know from an american scientist who has been to
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north korea and seen it, that the north koreans now have 2000 centrifuges, state of of the art technology, operating to produce enhanced uranium there. their nuclear program, the infrastructure is better now than it has ever been. and they have already proven to be first class proliferators. this administration and the in the midst of all that is going on, first of all claims there is no problem. terrorism problem is over. al qaeda's through. we got bin laden. there is no tearest threat in benghazi. that is obviously turned out to be a blatant lie. they're still covering it up. you look at, their recognition of the threat out there. it is basically nonexistent. in the mid of the week that obama went to israel and met with netanyahu and talked about the iran yum nuclear threat from iran shortly thereafter they announced we were cutting our
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naval aircraft carrier battle groups in the persian gulf from two down to one. cut our naval forces there in half. bold talk against the iranians, threats, don't cross that red line, and at the same time, pull ad carrier out. the truman was scheduled to deploy, to replace it and it is still locked up, tied up at the dock in norfolk. they are cutting the defense budget by huge amounts. one of the great things we had with ronald reagan was a man who understood what was needed in terms of our national security capability. built it. first call i made after desert storm was over with, when i was defense secretary was to ronald reagan in california and thanked him. what i said frankly i said, mr. president, i want to thank you for all the 600-dollar toilet seats you bought. [laughing] dick, darn it, it didn't cost $600. then he got the joke.
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our capacity to win in desert storm was in no small part because of the decisions he made 10 years before about our military capabilities. think for a minute now. you have massive cuts underway, sequester of the budget. we're having trouble keeping pilots in the air force because they don't get to fly anymore often times. squadrons have been grounded. our ground-rule, pilot had to get 30 hours a month to maintain his proficiency. a lot of them now who aren't so they're leaving. what we're doing by the actions of the administration, in some cases the inaction, is we are crippling the capabilities that a future president will have, 10, 15, 20 years from now to deal with that next crisis. that is how long it takes to build quality military forces. not like letting a high wray contract and tomorrow somebody is pouring concrete. it takes years to get a really first-rate, top-notch nco in the marine corps and other services
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to develop technologies, we need. to build tanks and provide for the training and proefficiency and that our troops demonstrated so tremendously and in desert storm. that capability is not going to be there after barack obama gets through his eight years in the white house. one of our major priorities has to be to recognize the threat still exists. it doesn't matter what he says. there are still covering up benghazi. they still don't want to admit there's a major threat out there and, he could care less about the quality and the state of our military capabilities. so i think, not only are there, a lot of very good reasons to be concerned about where he wants to take the country domestically with obamacare and so forth, abuses like the irs, but, i am deeply, deeply worried about what kind of national security posture we will have, how good our word will be around the world, our capacity to deal with
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threats. if you can't even mount a rescue operation, from sigoneli, an hour away from benghazi when four of our people are being killed by al qaeda terrorists in libya, what does that say the next time you have a big problem to deal with and hundred of thousands of lives at stake? i still think the biggest threat we face are terrorists armed with something deadlier than airline tickets and box cutters. we have to be able to defeat that threat. [applause] so i'm sure i've gone on longer than i was supposed to. >> no, but i have a question. i want to go back to the nsa program and, you said something important which is, that you could vouch for the program that was underway when you were in office. but, obviously not being read into the program now it's a different situation and, i think everybody in this room would agree barack obama's no
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dick cheney. [laughter] [applause] and when you have a president who has shown himself to have such a complete disregard for the rule of law, who has shown himself willing to use the irs to go after political enemies, who has shown himself willing to completely disregard the constitution, to decide, well, i'm not going to implement the employer mandate because it is inconvenient for me even though it's the law, who has shown himself, frankly, completely irresponsible when it comes to protecting americans privacy, you have an awful lot of americans out there now, and in light of a lot of news stories we're seeing, that say, well, you know, the nsa made a mistake and they listened to phone calls from washington, d.c. because it has a 202 area code which is similar to the country code for egypt, was one of the latest reports. so there's a lot of concern out
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there and, when you think about sort of the threat that still exists, and, the fact that we've got to be able to defend ourselves both from the threat that the president's posing to our freedoms domestically, also from terrorists internationally, what do you do in a situation where you have a commander-in-chief who has put a very important program at risk, in my view, who may well be undertaking a real abuse of power, if he is willing to do it in areas we can see, what makes you confident that he is not doing it in areas that we don't see? >> well the first thing you do, is you get yourself a new commander-in-chief. [cheers and applause] >> i have some ideas about that. >> yeah. this, no question this is a difficult subject matter. i know there are a lot of
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americans out there, some of them good friends of mine, who are concerned about the nsa. part of the difficulty is, and i, i plead with people don't conflate the nsa with the irs. those are totally different problems, totally different issues. i believe there's ample evidence that the irs has indeed abused its power. the power and authority of the irs has been used and misused to go after the opponents of the administration. no question in my mind. and it's, in my mind it ought to be, we ought to investigate it, subpoena whoever we have to subpoena, bring them to trial, and make certain that we build in the kind of safeguards that can't be used again but it were be a terrible mistake if, because the irs has been abused by barack obama and his people, we would therefore turn and say, well weir going to get rid of
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the nsa program because it might be abused by this president. but there aren't any really good examples out there about how the nsa program has been abused. you don't have the kind of evidence there that you've got with respect to the irs where you've got people, you know, who have been interrogated by the irs about their political beliefs and, keith alexander, who is the commander of the national security agency, four-star now, he is one of the finest officers i have ever known as was also true for people like, now irv forgotten his name. later mike -- >> allen. >> allen. before him, mike mcconnell and mike heath and mike mcconnell. mike mcconnell was a navy captain on my watch when i was secretary of defense, j2 on the joint staff. i eventually got him promoted to three stars and he ran the
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national security agency on my watch when i was at defense. mike hayden, who was in charge before alexander and went on over to run the cia, those are three gentlemen, all of whom, commanded the national security agency at one time or another on my watch. i served on the intelligence committee. i worked with them. they all worked for me when i was secretary of defense because the secretary of defense controls a bigger part of the intelligence community than does the cia director. and while i was vice president. these are some of the finallest men i know. i know how hard they worked to put together a good program and a program that would allow to us collect intelligence, while at the same time we safeguarded the civil liberties of the american people. i'm the one that took the request in to the president after i met with the cia director and the director of the nsa shortly after 9/11, and said, the experts tell me we can
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do more. we can learn a lot more. we can understand better the threat if we can get additional authority. and that is in fact then what the president did. but with a caveat that he personally had to review it every 30 days and reauthorize it or it wasn't going forward, it was going to stop. in terms of the congress knowing about it, well, i used to brief the committees, the chairman and ranking member of the committees on the status of the program, for several years in my west wing office. we once had a meeting in the situation room that i included the speaker of the house, majority, minority leader of the house, majority, minority leader of the senate and the chairman and ranking member of the intelligence committee of both houses. so it was my people, nancy pelosi was in the group. and, had them sit down, the question was do we need to go back to congress to get more authorization for this program? this is back in 04.
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and, i had them briefed. i had general hayden there that day to brief on status of the program. showed what we were learning, what we accomplished and so forth. i went around the room, does anybody here believe we should terminate the program? absolutely not. unanimous, everybody, keep doing it. it is the right thing. i then went around the table do you think we should come back to congress and get more legislative authorization for this program. they were unanimous. absolutely not. you bring it back to the congress, it will leak and you will tell the bad guys how it is we're reading their mail. that was the situation when we were there. now i know keith alexander is now there in command of the nsa. i have not been involved in classified meetings since i left some four years ago but i am confident with men like general alexander involved, and given
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the professionals in the intelligence community, i have never seen a situation where they violated for political purposes the way as happened with the irs the authority they have and i know, i don't know how obama deals with all of that obviously. i know how we dealt with it and we were absolutely scrupulous in making certain that that power and authority was never abused. now, now, every once in a while a big organization, i'm sure there are problems that crop up but there are safeguards built into it. we got the fisa courts, foreign intelligence surveillance act courts, that have sign-off on these programs and before you candying into any of those record in terms of reading content, for example you have to have the authorization from fisa. so, i know everybody's concerned about it. i understand the concerns, but the last thing i would want to recommend is, well, obama might abuse the nsa authority and therefore we ought to shut it
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down. last possible think we ought to do. these are good folks doing the best they can to safeguard the nation and, you know, i would, i would let keith alexander cover my back anytime. [applause] >> well,, we can mom on off of this but i think, you know, again, if you look talk about abuse, you guys were also scrupulously careful not to have the head of the irs at the white house. you know, he may have been there once. we know the president of the united states had him in something like 72 times and, i think there's a real question about in a democracy under threat, you know you have programs that you put in place to defend the nation but then you end up with a
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commander-in-chief who seems not to care about the defending the nation, the constitution, the rule of law, americans privacy, and it gives rise to concerns and i think you've to the got to talk about, you know, there has to be a place between saying, you are going to trust him implicitly because we trusted you guys when you had the program and we're going to throw the program out. i guess that would be my final question on this. don't you think there is a legitimate question that the american people ought to be asking? you can say well the program is classified so you can't talk about, but when you begin to sigh the kindsfn we're seeing about the program, those of us who know, we've got to defend against attacks from the outside, at the end of the day, that comes directly into barack obama's lap and it seems to me you have to say this is a president who put us at risk
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because of his unwillingness to exercise the kind of care and concern for the constitution, frankly that you guys did. >> so what's your solution? >> a new commander-in-chief. >> yeah, exactly. all right. no, i, i understand the concern that everybody has and, you know, i'm as much of a small government guy as you're going to find and but i believe very strongly in a strong national defense. i served over four years on the house intelligence committee. i, you know, i've been heavily involved in the intelligence business a good part of my career. and, i know how, how dangerous a world we live in. how difficult it is, often times to collect the intelligence we need to make sure we get it
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right. and. it is not a perfect business. it just isn't. it is very hard. what you're after are secrets being kept by the worst regimes, the ones they more than anything else they want to protect and. sometimes the intelligence community makes mistakes. as a general proposition, i would argue for the most part, what we've done with our intelligence community, especially since 9/11 period, and by the book, well-managed, not perfect, nobody's perfect. they do have in place procedures to make correct shuns when they have to and last thing i'm going to do be in a position where we say now that we need to shut it down or we need to significantly limit their capacity and their capability. so we'll be confident they're not abusing their authority.
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and oy, we'll, we'll only reduce their capabilities by 10 or nist teen%. -- 15%. which 10 or 15% of the next at stack are you willing to accept? if we get into a situation, there was a book written about me at one point, called, the 1% solution, because i once made the statement that our, defenses against terrorism, and against attack, with deadlier weapons than 9/11 have to be 100% successful. most businesses, most line of works, if you get a success rate of 80 or 90%, heck that's pretty good. when you're defending against a potential attack, against one of our major cities by terrorists armed with a nuclear weapon, are you willing to accept 99%? i'm not. i think you have to do everything you can to stop
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whatever might conceivably might be coming at you. that means you have to be aggressive with the military. you have to go oversees sometimes and actively engaged making certain people with technology don't provide it to the people with the motive to come use it against us. it means we have to work doubly hard here at home to make certain that we can indeed defend against that next attack. and, i'm, as i'm saying, based on my own experience. both with respect to the threat, with respect to our success after 9/11, and what we were able to do, primarily through the intelligence community as well as our military forces, to prevent that next attack, i think nsa is a well-run program. it is an important program. it is important to the security of the nation. now we've got a president that concerns us for a lot of reasons i wouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water. i wouldn't say just because we
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have a president who we don't think is up to the job or doesn't have the same concerns cares about the constitution we all do, therefore we ought to minimize the capabilities of our defense capability, our defense forces. our intelligence forces to protection the nation. we have it the wrong way around. we have to beat him at the next election. get him out of office and we've got to elect people that we can trust and have confidence in. it's a tough problem. i don't deny it. i despise what they have done with the irs. , what happened at benghazi but we should not, there are, there are so many of our intelligence professionals out there all over the world, mutt on the line day after day for all of us, and we were successful at stopping all further attacks against the united states during seven 1/2
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years. i'm back to the hilt and support them because they deserve it. >> i'm glad to see you haven't gone squishy in your old age. >> okay. >> i think we're going to take a couple questions from the audience, but before we do that, i just wanted to end by talking about our men and women in uniform. when my dad's memoirs came out, he and i spent a lot of time together, talking about his life and talking about his career and i would ask you question of what was your, the job that you would sort of treasured most or valued most, i know secretary of defense was normally the answer and the time you got to spend with our men and women in uniform. and i know that one of the reasons that so many people are
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concerned about the budget cuts and about particularly what's happening in the defense department because of what it's doing with the military and you mentioned earlier what it is doing to our readiness, the fact we're hollowing out the force and what it is doing to our veterans and what we owe to those men and women who put their lives on the line and then who come home and the extent to which the kind ever budget cuts are seeing we may well mean we're not taking them, living up to the promise we made to them. and there's a story you tell in the book, and, actually it's a prayer, that i wanted to see if you would end our section with tonight, maybe tell the story where this prayer comes from and then read this section of the prayer to people. >> well,, towards the end of my time, vice lynn and liz and i
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were invited to a special occasion. i spent a lot of time both as well at defense and as well as vice president with our guys in special operations forces and, a group of them had, have developed over time they frequently have a social get-together and it is all done, and it is not classified but it's not done out in public. there's no press present obviously and they get together and honor one another and, families are included, spouses are included and, liz and lynn and i were invited to one of these sessions. it was very special night for us and, at the dinner, that night, where you had a lot of, a lot of guys who had devoted several years, to the efforts in afghanistan and iraq, many of them wounded, an awful lot of -- there that night, they had a
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young, a young chaplain, was, asked to deliver the invocation, he happened to be from wyoming and, this is the heart of what he said. we are soldiers, god. agents of correction. may our world see the power of faith, may our nation know the strength of selfless may our enemies continue to taste the inescapable force of freedom. that says it all. [applause] >> now i think there are questions, somewhere. [inaudible]
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>> the question is, or is it, i think it was directed to you, liz? [laughter] you. >> go first. if i don't like your answer then i will chime in. >> the question is, who would i pick as the next commander-in-chief? well, i haven't signed on with anybody yet at this stage. i do, i have been impressed that i think we are undergoing, should undergo, a generational change in terms of leadership. i don't think -- [applause] i don't think we're likely to see somebody who has been engaged in the past, sort of,
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regenerate a new successful campaign. it just comes a time when your moment has passed. certainly mine has. i'm 72 years old. i had a great 40 years in the business but i want to see somebody else come along and take over. i think there are some promising folks out there and, obviously i have favorites in that generation but, i look, pardon? >> [inaudible] >> no. like i thought liz said that for a minute. i, think of people, and we, a lot of you know them or seen them operate. people like, well, i like kevin mccarthy from bakers field, california. how many of you know kevin? he is the house whip now. he is a very talented guy. he has my old job.
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i was once the house whip. not that well-known nationally at this point. in terms of making trains run on time he has a key job right now. i look at marco rubio from florida, paul ryan, from pennsylvania. these are people i've gotten to know well. so i think, i'm trying to remember the name ever the, the governor of new mexico. >> susana martinez. >> suzanna martinez, i love her speech at the convention and she said she was 18 years old and her daddy own ad security firm and gave her a colt .45 and put her out in front of the bingo parlor to guard the bingo game. that has a certain appeal. [laughter] but, no, i think we've got folks coming along in that next generation. i think we have a lot of governors out there, that have a lot to offer. they have been out there actually doing it, making those tough decisions, balancing
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budgets, cutting taxes. so i'm, i'm not at all pessimistic. it will be a tough process. we have hard-fought primary process. i must say i'm inclined to think what priebus is trying to do moving up the convention is a good thing to do. we ought to have tough, hard fought primaries, i think that is important but i don't think we need 23 debates or how many ever it was. we end upbeating up on each other to the point all we've done is create all the lines for democrats to use against us. good, tough, primary is fine. i believe in them. we need to have an orderly process and that we also need i think to do a better job than we ever have before on the party mechanism. one thing the obama crowd did better than we is the machine we
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did and never have shut it down. they rye built it and kept it going. a lot of people on payroll full-time until 2012 and it is still cranking away out there tonight as we meet. we need to be able to take advantage of all the modern technology to be able to identify our vote and get them to the polls and to be better organized than the democrats are. there are a lot of things like that i think will enhance our chances. in terms of the picking the next president, i'm not ready to do that yet. i want to see a lot more out of the potential contenders, but i think we'll see a lot, a lot of people come to the forefront and that is basically healthy for our party. as long as we end it soon enough. it comes from a death march until we finally nominate. >> i want to ask two things. i agree with what you said about sort of the next generation as commander-in-chief level. i think people should think about that when think about
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hillary. because she is the last generation. she is not the next generation. >> and she blew benghazi. [applause] >> and, as esteemed former vice president pointed out she blew benghazi and she lied to the american people about it. and secondly i want to put a plug in for adam putnam who is the commissioner of agriculture in florida. he used to be the house policy chairman, republican policy chairman. went back to florida. i hope adam will run for governor. he is another young up-and-comer in our party and somebody really to watch. but i think we clearly have the ability, given where we sit today, and, given the challenges we face to defeat barack obama in 2016 and we have the obligation to do so for the sake of the nation. >> mr. vice president, in case you, think that you might not be
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pessimistic, this particular question might change your mind. actually it could make it for both of you. kind after composite of several questions that were sent up. e're in in the mid here, the east right now with egypt, with syria, with iran, seems about as intractable as anything any of us have ever seen and, taking on the political side, doesn't it concern you with some people that people that lean toward the libertarian isolationist side of the party that questions of what to do with countries like this but would be shoved off and end up being horrendous in the future? >> well those are key questions. i think partly it is important for us to distinguish the
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situation in different countries. there are obviously common themes and similarities that run through them. i look what is going on in egypt today, and frankly, i've been supportive of the military. why do i say that? well, i think, i think they have, my experience with egyptian military, and it is extensive, going back to 1990, when it was time to begin to getorg sized and deal with the saddam hussein aggression in kuwait, that are pretty professional force. i think they got involved in possible lynn the morsi regime, there was up welling of support for that people. there were in fact petitions circulated could be signed only by egyptian voters, that egyptians held the cards that mate it possible for them to vote and got far more the petitions remove morsi. and got far more signatures,
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then all the ballots cast in the previous elections. the egyptian military response to that, i think there is majority view among the egyptian people that they do not want egypt to become an islamist state like iran, and i think the military, generally supported by the vast majority of the egyptian people, and i think we ought to preserve our relationships with that egyptian military. i think it is like turkey back in the 19 '20s. that brought turkey into the modern era. and that so i am, i don't automatically look at it and say this is a coup that's bad. my own personal view is, that the military has responded to the legitimate concerns of the majority of the egyptian people and that, what ultimately will arise from that would be a, free elections and another shot at democracy, not one that is dominated by the muslim brotherhood. in terms of the, the overall
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situation, with respect to syria, syria is a huge mess. and, you can talk now about, it is almost as though whoever wins we'll have some problems. if there ever was a time to try to intervene to shake that situation, it was some years past, and, right now, today, they're in terrible straits, but there are also in a situation where you have to be very concerned about who is going to inherit the chemical weapons they obviously possess. as i said earlier, thank goodness they don't have a nuke, but it's a,. second part of your question? >> [inaudible] what happens politically is some of people involved who have a very strong sense of
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isolationist -- >> i gotcha. >> that it will take care of themselves. >> yeah, i understand the temptation to say, the heck with them, it is their problem, let them go solve it, why should we mess in it? we decided back decided back in 1941 that didn't work as a basic policy. a lot of people believed in the '30s, that the united states should not get involved overseas especially after world war i. it was a good, legitimate debate. people honestly believe that we have folks who today, honestly believe that, boy 9/11 put that to rest in my mind. i don't see any way you can look at the threat, if you agree the threat is the potential for another attack on what the next one with deadlier weapons and say, well, what happens over there is not our, none of our concern. you know, that the 9/11 terrorists, trained, in afghanistan. that's where, the, the nuclear
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trade is taking place. you've got north korea, dealing with the pakistanis,. pakistanis, dealing development of the black market. dealing with libyans. that stuff is, it is spreading. it is going to spread and we have to do everything we can to stop it. and when you have got 11 guys, that can come into the states with airline tickets and box cutters and do what -- >> we'll break away from the last couple of minutes of this program to take you live now to the white house. today's white house briefing about to get underway. we anticipate a number about questions about syria. live coverage here on c-span2. >> good afternoon, everybody. nice to see all of you have. a couple of announcements at the top before we get started. the first is, today the administration announced two new common sense executive actions to keep the most dangerous firearms out of the wrong hand and ban almost all reimports of military surplus firearms to
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private entities. these executive actions built on the 23 executive actions that the president unveiled in january as part of the comprehensive gun violence reduction plan. even as congress fails to act on come men sense proposals like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the president and vice president remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress to reducing gun violence. that is why today we announced two additional executive actions. first, closing a loophole that would keep most dangerous guns out of the wrong hands. and second, keeping surplus military weapons off of our streets. the second thing that i wanted to appraise you of, the president today conducted a phone call with german chancellor angela merkel. this is part of the series of communications that the president has initiated around
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the situation in syria. the president has called a number of other allies europe and partners in the region. that international consultation is on going and will continue in the days ahead. i want to let you know of that specific one that occurred this morning. with that, julie, let you get started. >> thanks, josh. congress is getting briefed early this evening by a series of administration officials on the intelligence reports in syria. given the briefing appears unclassified is there expectation of public and all of us in this room will get that report today. >> julie, it is correct, there is an unscheduled classified briefing scheduled among a handful of senior administration officials including national security advisor, susan rice, secretary of defense, director of national intelligence and
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vicar chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. they will conduct a telephone conference call with members of congress dialing in from congressional districts all across the country. that conference call is latest in series of robust congressional consultations that everybody from the president on down in the administration have been engaged in over the last few days. the reason for that is quite simple. as the president contemplates what kind of response is appropriate to the situation we've seen in syria. the president believes it is important to consult with congress. we've done that in a robust way, that involved reading out some of the conversations that the president and others had with some of our allies across the globe. it involves sharing of some intelligence although that is difficult to do in this setting, as i mentioned, the conference call is unclassified. it includes a conversation about some options available to the president in terms of a specific response to the syrian regime's
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use of chemical weapons. so, this, this call is something that we have been working to schedule for a number about days now, but it is just part of on going robust consult station this admin believes it is important for us to have it with congress. >> will we see the same unclassified report. will the public see the same unclassified report? >> separate from the conversation today, we discussed producing for you and american public for you to review unclassified version of an intelligence assessment assad regime use of chemical weapons in syria. it is my understanding that report is not finalized as of this moment but we're still on track to produce that report by the end of this week.
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>> not today? >> i'm not ruling out today. >> thank you. can you also set some expectations for this intelligence? several officials say this will not be a slam-dunk. that there is no unimpeachable proof that the chemical weapons attack was carried out by assad or his senior advisors. what would the public looking for that is a slum dunk guaranty of this intelligence? >> well there are a few facts that we already know. we we know from a previous intelligence assessment the assad regime used chemical weapons in syria. we know the assad regime maintains stockpiles of chemical weapons in syria. we said from the podium and over the past two years that the assad regime would be health
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accountable for security of those chemical weapons and would be held accountable if the chemical weapons were used. we know it is the regime alone has capability to use chemical weapons that were used in the in the attacks we saw on suggest 21st. we know the assad regime was engaged in a military campaign targeting specific regions where this chemical attack occurred. there are a lost relevant important facts we know. we know the facts for important reasons. recent intelligence facts we made public. investigations on the ground by journalists in syria that documented the horrific nature of the attack. we're aware of reports from non-governmental organizations on the ground in syria trying to meet the humanitarian needs of
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people that have born the brunt of those attacks. there is a lot of public information we already know that is very convincing. >> but everything you're referencing is largely circumstance. what i'm wondering is, is that circumstantial evidence enough to have the president make a decision to go forward with military action or is there going to be something in the intelligence that we and congress will get later today and tomorrow that goes beyond circumstantial, evidence, that is definitive proof that these attacks originated from high levels from the assad regime? >> based on the facts i just laid out there is preponderance of publicly available evidence to indicate that the assad regime carried out chemical attacks in syria. that is what the p president said. the vice president said that the secretary of state said that the we've seen our partners around the globe say that. everybody from senior officials in the u.k., in france, even the arab league put out a statement to this effect. i also want to read for you one
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other piece of relevant information to this question that you're asking. because there is a difference between what can be provided publicly and what classified intelligence assessment is available. that we were producing a public intelligence document we have to be conscious of protecting sources and methods and and there are other diplomatic sensitivities frankly. we talked about the intelligence sharing relationship we have with a number about countries around the world including some countries in the region. all of that information is combined to provide an assessment but, that assessment that is provided publicly has to necessarily be different than the assessment that's provided privately. so that might lead you to ask, about the quality of that classified intelligence assessment. i'm of course not in a position to talk about it from here but i have seen statements from two people who have seen this classified intelligence assessment. the first is the chair of the
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senate select committee on intelligence, senator feinstein. she said i've been briefed by the intelligence committee on last week's chemical weapons attack in syria and i believe the intelligence points to an attack by the assad government. i would also direct to you a statement from the vice-chair of the senate select committee on intelligence. this is a republican senator named saxby chambliss. a gentleman who not shied away from contradicting the president in public on a wide range of issues however in this case his assessment is, similar if not the same as the assessment that was reached by the president. senator chambliss said, based on available intelligence there can be no doubt the assad regime is responsible for using chemical weapons on the syrian people. roberta? >> has the intelligence committee completed the classified version of its assessment? >> i'm not in the position to talk about classified intelligence assessments from here. >> whether it has been completed or not. >> i'm not in position to talk
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about them from here. >> how robust can your consultation of congress be in congress hasn't been provided with the classified details of the assessment? >> there are some classified details obviously have been provided to congress if you believe what senator feinstein and senator chambliss say. >> but the meeting -- >> i would make the case with you the robust consultation with congress involves much more sharing than intelligence. it involves insight with the perspective of our diplomatic partners around the globe. it involves reading out conversations that the president and others had with our allies. it involves, a review of the options that are available to the president as he considers an appropriate response. so there's a pretty wide range of topics that should be covered in any robust consultation with congress and. that will be the case as it relates to the conversation that they will have today. it is constrained by the fact
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that that conversation will take place at an unclassified setting. but there is information that can be shared. we're working to share that information. i don't want to leave you with the impression this conference call is the first or the last medium for consulting congress. it is not there have been a range of other conversations senior administration officials had with congressional leadership and leadership with the appropriate committees and other members about congress who demonstrated an interest in this topic and there will be more conversations. some of those conversations will be classified. some will be unclassified. some of them covered intelligence issues. some of them covered diplomatic issues. some of them included conversations about different capabilities. so there are a, there's a lot of consultation that's ongoing. but this conference call at 6:00 p.m. this evening is certainly an important part of this robust consultation. >> what is your reaction what is
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happening in the u.k., the unexpected delay there that the british parliament's deliberations and when are you going to be able to tell congress or us about whether that hampers deliberations here? >> well the, i would say a couple things about that i don't want to get involved in commenting on debates that are ongoing in the british parliament. i have my handful commenting on debates in the u.s. congress. that said, we certainly do appreciate the strong word that have come from senior leaders in the british government about what's taking place in syria. you've heard both the prime minister and the foreign secretary articulate their strong objection and condemnation of the use of chemical weapons. we have heard them talk about their desire to see the assad
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regime be held accountable for its actions in carrying out this chemical weapons attack. and we've also seen an acknowledgement from the foreign secretary about the united states's right and ability to make our own foreign policy decisions that are in our national security interest. let me read a brief segment of the foreign secretary's statement. he said the united states are able to make their own decision of course. we will remain closely coordinated with them and close in touch with them as we are every day. i speak to my counterpart secretary kerry every day and done so this evening. this is what he said yesterday. so of course they will be able to make their own decisions but we'll be continued to be determined that the world should suggest the use of chemical weapons and that the united kingdom has a role to play in that. we certainly welcome the role the united kingdom has to play in that. okay? jim? >> just to bounce off of roberta ' he question. is there concern that the delays
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could make the mission more complicated? if you wait until after the g20 visit, for example you've given the syrians plenty of time to position themselves for any kind of a response that might come. what about that concern? >> you have heard the president talk about in other settings outside of the situation in syria, talking about the conduct of foreign policy and how that relates to our use of military authority. and how these are some of the most difficult decisions that he has to make as commander-in-chief. but he takes the requirement to make these decisions very seriously and he is carefully considering the circumstances before him. and he is doing that in a reasoned, robust way and he is doing that in consultation with members of congress. he is doing that in close consultation with our allies around the globe. he is doing that in close consultation with his national security team. there is a role for a number of people to play here as they
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assess the situation of. and the so the president is going about in a reasonable, ordinary fashion. i will also point out that the president acknowledged in an interview with your president that compressed time frame. that is how our decisions will be made. the idea that international norm against the use of chemical weapons. and it is important for the assad regime, and other totaller tearian dictators around the globe to understand that the international community will not tolerate the indiscriminate widespread use of chemical weapons, particularly against women and children if they're sleeping in their beds. >> joshing, follow-up on that, i in that interview, i appreciate the segue. he also said in that interview there are questions in terms of whether international law would support a response in and he was
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talking about that, he was talking about whether or not he would have some sort of international partnership in taking some kind of a action against syria. would the united states at this point, given there are delays overseas on the other side of at the atlantic go it alone? >> i don't want to presuppose some kind of judgment when the president reaches about the appropriate response in this circumstance. however, the president did acknowledge that interview the role international law would play as he assess as appropriate response. that is a fact that has been considered among all these other things that have gone on to making the decision. we have seen pretty clear statements from our allies around the globe, from the arab league, and others who have said that the a assad regime needs to be held responsible. and the, opinion, of other world leaders, in this situation, matters. >> so absent, absent a u.n.
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mandate, some sort of a resolution at united nations, absent some sort of definitive word of our key ally in great britain, those, i guess words of encouragement, those votes, those separate statements made by the arab league and others might that be then sufficient? is that what you're saying? >> what i'm saying is, that i'm not in a position to offer up any sort of legal justification for a response that has not been decided upon. however, it is relevant that a wide range of other international leaders and international bodies have weighed in on this situation. and they have weighed in in a way, generally speaking, of condemning the use of chemical weapons, of condemning the assad regime for using chemical weapons against civilians, and articulating a requirement that the assad regime be held accountable for its actions. those viewpoints are relevant to this discussion.
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now there is one other part of my answer that is important for you and our viewers to understand. the president of the united states is elected with the duty to protect the national security interests of the united states of america. and the decision he makes, about the decisions that he makes about our foreign policy is with our national security interests, front and center. >> just to follow up on that very quickly, in the pbs interview, he said that, that there's a chance, that, chemical weapons might be turned against the united states, and i was just curious, he said that was part of his national security implications. is he think syria is capable of launching chemical weapons at the united states? what did he mean by that? >> we're concerned about the willingness that the assad regime has demonstrated to use
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chemical weapons. it is apparent they did so on the night of august 21st on a large-scale that had horrific results. it is also assessed by our intelligence community, something we talked about a lot this summer there have been a number about other occasions, admittedly on a smaller scale but important nonetheless where the assad regime has used chemical weapons. we know they're sitting on a large stockpile of chemical weapons. they demonstrate ad willingness to use it. they, in violation of clear, international norms. the president believes firmly, he said this in the interview that he did with chris cuomo, and said this in the interview that he conducted last night, that these international norms are important and it is not appropriate for, totalitarian dictators to flout them with impunity.
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the international norms the president is concerned about and also a norm that other world leaders are concerned about having been violated but there are all could have other ways our national interests intersect here. we're talking about a very volatile region in the world sand we're talking about, maybe, the most volatile country in one of most volatile regions of the world. so that instability is a cause of significant concern to the president. he also mentioned in the interview this countries borders a nato ally in turkey. it borders one of our most important partners in the region, jordan, and is in close proximity to the nation of israel, a country's security who we vowed to protect. so there are a wide range of interests. that doesn't get into military bases and other interests we have in the region. so there are a number of ways in which the national security interests of the united states are at stake in a pretty big way here. okay.
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kristin? >> a number of members of congress said they should be able to vote for any military action that would be taken. does the president agree with that? does the president agree that congress should have a vote? >> what the president agrees in response so this circumstance it is important for the administration to consult with congress in very robust way and that's what we're seeing happened. since this event was first reported last week we've seen senior administration officials consulting with senior members of congress, whether it is congressional leadership, senior members of the relevant committees, or even just members about congress that have expertise or interest in this area. so there is ongoing consultation with congress and next step in that consultation will occur at 6:00 p.m., where a number of senior officials in the administration will gather on the phone to consult again with some of these senior members about congress with an interest in this issue. >> to be clear, do you think you should have to consult with congress? that he doesn't necessarily
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think that congress needs to vote? >> i think it is very important for this consultation to occur. that is why the president made a priority. that's why so many senior members. administration have been involved in consulting with the congressional leadership, the leadership of appropriate committees and other members of congress with expert and interest in this area. >> until we go back to the british parliament in this area. which don't want to come back, until u.n. inspectors come back with their report. does the president share that view? will he take any action or make any decision best u.n. inspectors actually produce their report? >> well, let's talk about what the mandate is that the u.n. inspectors who are in syria. the mandate of those inspectors is to assess whether or not chemical weapons were used. the entire international community acknowledges that chemical weapons were used. the syrian regime even acknowledged that chemical weapons were used. it's not within the mandate of those u.n. inspectors to assess the responsibility for the use of those weapons.
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it's just within their mandate to assess whether or not they were used. that's no longer an open question. unfortunately what we've also seen in the united nations is repeated willingness on part of the russians to block action at the united nations. and that is, that's unfortunate. and we have, the united states believes strongly in the u.n. process. that is why we, spent so much time engaged in a u.n.-led process of the it is why you've seen the newly confirmed ambassador to the united nations, so man that powers, spend so much time consulting with their colleagues on this issue. we're invested in the u.n. process. at the same time we're currently seeing that process circumvented by intransigent russia that is refusing to allow the u.n. to hold syria accountable. so, what the president will do, he will take, he will make a decision about an appropriate response based on the national security interests of the united
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states of america. >> -- before the u.n. inspectors complete their investigation? >> i'm not in position to offer you guidance on the timeline during which the president would make a decision. that is not something i'm in a position to do from here. ed? >> josh, if russia blocks action in the u.n., go around that -- >> they have three times, right? look like they're doing it again. >> sure. and then congress is on recess, so we'll consult them, call them, have a conference call but we won't have a vote, won't have authorization? what happened to the barack obama of 2008 who said repeatedly you've got to get congressional authorization before you go with military action? >> well, that is free supposing a decision that has not been made. >> so he will not take military action. >> i didn't say anything close to that. >> when he talked about a shot across the bow last night he is not talking about military action. >> i'm not going to parse the president's words in interview he conducted with cbs or pbs, pardon me. sorry, major next time. >> we're working on it.
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>> look we can go back and forth -- >> he hasn't made a decision yet. >> i'm not denying that part. but you know as well as anyone that we're on the verge of something an and then i till us they're not going to be military action. >> i'm not going to characterize. >> what happened to the barack obama of the 2008, got to go to u.n., get a resolution. got to go to congress? got to go to the authorization. russia blocks it we're going on r and it. congress on recess, we'll call them but move forward? >> what this president has done is clear willingness to consult and invest in the u.n. process. that is something that we've done in the u.n. throughout the president's tenure in office and something we've done in this case. the president did it with great success in building international coalition in dealing with the situation in libya a couple years ago. unfor the that thely what we're seeing right now is russia repeatedly block efforts at the u.n. to hold the assad regime
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accountable. that is very disappointing, but the president of the united states is not going to allow that obstruction to prevent him from making decisions that are in the best interests of our national security. and when it comes to congress, the president believes strongly, in robust, congressional consultation. that is something that we've been engaged in since day one. this circumstance, and it is something that we'll continue, we are seeing an important part of that consultation this evening, but it will, there will be additional consultations tomorrow and in the days and weeks ahead. >> you talked a moment ago how important it is with our allies, turkey, jordan, israel, all right there. so is a standard being set now if there is u.s. military action, that if in six months, nine months, assad uses chemical weapons against israel, against turkey, against jordan, against his own people, the u.s. is ready to go back in again? >> well, let me unpack a couple things you said there. the president believes strongly as does the global community
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here, we've seen statements from prime minister cameron, u.k. foreign secretary william hague, president hollande in france, all indicating strongly that it is important for the international community to protect international norms against the use of weapons of mass destruction. particularly like these chemical weapons used in syria against innocent civilians. that is an international law that we can not be allowed to be violated. >> the answer is yes if it happens in six months the u.s. will go in again? >> the protecting the international norm is a priority of the international community. the president made the case which he did in the inner view as he did last night, protecting international norm is the core national security interests of the united states of america. so, that, protecting that international norm is important. now, what we're also have with turkey, is a defense treaty. so we are committed to the defense of our ally turkey. we, you have heard me and others talk about united states's
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commitment to the security of our ally israel. the nature of our relationship with jordan is slightly different but it's a critically important partner in that region. it's a nation with whom we cooperate on a wide range of national security and counterterrorism effort and we value that relationship seriously. i won't speculate on the hypothetical scenario, but, suffice it to say, that protection of that international norm, is, a priority for the president. it's a priority for the international community because of, we can not allow a totalitarian dictator to use weapons of mass destruction like that with impunity. >> two other quick things. you mentioned weapons of mass destruction when our own ally, david cameron said today let's not pretend there is one smoking piece of intelligence that can solve the whole problem. the american people went through this with the war in iraq about a smoking gun, a slam dunk. i understand it's a different situation but there are similarities. shouldn't the president before taking any possible military
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action, have something close to a smoking piece of intelligence so the american people can know with as much certainty as possible that, that this is the right course? >> well, let me, read one other thing that david cameron said i think is relevant to this. he said we know that they, meaning the region game have both the motive and the opportunity whereas the opposition does not have those things. the opposition chance of having used chemical weapons in our view, meaning the british view is vanishingly small. so the assessment david cameron reached about assad regime use of chemical east-west expressway is, overlaps to a large degree to the assessment reached by the president an the vice president and secretary of state and a number of other world leaders. as it relates to the situation in iraq i don't agree these are similar situations. there are very important
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differences. what we saw in that circumstance that an administration was searching high and low to produce evidence to justify a military invasion, an open-ended military invasion of another country, with the final goal being regime change. that was, that was the articulated policy of the previous administration. what we have seen here tragically is a preponderance of evidence available in the public domain that the assad regime used chemical weapons against innocent civilians. we don't have to search high and low for that evidence. that evidence exist thanks to social media, thanks to some videos that have been broadcast, thanks to some of the good work that independent journalists are doing on the ground. thanks to the reports of non-governmental organizations on the ground trying to meet the needs of syrian people. that's the first thing. the second thing is, the president has been very clear that he is not contemplating a an open-ended military action.
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he is contemplating what we're talking about here, something that is very discrete and limited. thirdly, the president was also candid yesterday in his interview about the fact that we're not talking about regime change here. that we're talking about, about enforcing a critically important international norm. so, i, i fairly reject the suggestion that these two situations are somehow -- >> iraq situation, though when the president gave a speech in 2000 two as state senator about iraq being a dumb war, he came out against the war in iraq, he said quote, i also know that saddam poses no implement and direct threat to the united states. he was saying i know he used chemical weapons. he harmed his own people but quote, i also know that saddam poses no imminent direct threat to the united states or its neighbors. that the iraqi economy in shambles. iraqi military is fraction it former self. he can be contained in the way of all petty dictate, he false away into the dustbin of history. . .
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the global community believes it's important to assess the in norm. for us to enforce that norm. but it is our view there is not a military solution to the broader conflict that is taking place in syria. we have seen 100,000 people in syria lose their lives. we have seen millions of people in syria displaced within that country or to neighboring countries. what we're seeing is a tragic
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situation even outside of the abhorrent use of chemical weapons. we believes and the united states believes and we have been working with our partners around the globe to bring about a transition of leadership in syria. that -- so the syrian people can have a goal that reflects their will. that was a different approach dealing with iraq. okay. major? >> some of the things this morning i want your reaction. quote, intelligence officials say they cannot pinpoint the exact location was chemical weapon. it goes on to say u.s. and allies lost trashing of who controls some of the country's chemical weapons. >> that's according to two official intelligences officials and. >> i'm not in the position to talk about classified intelligence assessments. i'm not -- i'm not going to do that. absolutely clear repeatedly you said absolutely clear the u.s. government is certain that the
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syrian regime has been in complete control of the chemical weapon supply. the story -- four different people in the government saying they are not sure about that. handful of anonymous individuals who are quoted in the story. i have an on-the-report statement from the vice chair. i have on the record statement from the president of the united states, the vice president, the secretary of state, i have on the record statements from the prime minister of the united nations, we have the president of france, we have a multilateral resolution paused -- passed by the arab league. i leave it to you decide whether or not you believe the -- whether or not you believe the anonymous quote that are included in an ap story or on-the-report statement looking at it and reaching a conclusion. they are willing to put their name blind -- behind the belief and the
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intelligence assessment conducted. >> that same statement that you read are not response to the central question of absolute certainty that this the syrian regime retains control of the supply of chemical weapons. are you saying -- [inaudible] >> i can go through that if you would like. i think that's what all of the people have said. the assad reis responsible for the use of chemical weapons. that's what people who looked a the the intelligence -- >> part conceded and jay mentioned it on monday because a bombing in the dispiewted area the evidence might have been destroyed. there might not be -- it is circumstance based on interests they have regime controlling the chemical weapons. chemical weapons were used and therefore the regime used them. okay. the story is based on people who wok for the government and let's bring -- >> quoted involuntary manslaughterly? >> back to iraq they were mid level people who raced their
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hand and said we're not sure. we're not convinced. high level people said we're convinced. all i'm saying we have a history of mid-level people who don't have names say we're not sure. high-level people say we're sure. are you saying with absolute certainty that the u.s. government knows every piece of chemical weapon and supply possessed by the syrian government is retained by control. >> i'm not in a position to officer you an intelligence. the united states and the administration has vowed to release a public version of the intelligence assessment that is compiled by the intelligence community. you'll have an opportunity evaluate. let me finish. let me finish. i will allow you the opportunity to consult that public document and review and assess for yourself how convincing you find it. i already acknowledged from here
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whatever the public document is it will necessarily have to differ from whatever classified document is produced. that provides the evidence for these assertions. and what i can also convey to you is that others who have seen that classified intelligence that include legal member of congress in both parties that includes the leader of our allies around the globe, that includes members of the arab league. the most important collection of arab states. they have also seen this evidence and reached an assessment that dove tails with the assessment we have conveyed publicly so far. the other part this is real assistant there's other information you know about the use of chemical weapons. about the terrible impact it had on people in syria, you are also
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aware of previous intelligence assessment that indicate that the assad regime has used chemical weapons on multiple occasions before. there are a lot of facts that you already know that you can compile to assess for yourself. what occurred and you also have the opportunity to consider a document that is prepared in consultation with the intelligence community to marshall some other evidence. now we're not in a position to provide all the evidence that we have collected. there are important pieces of intelligence that can be provided that will substantiate the conclusions you heard the president and vice president and others articulate about what happened in syria on august 21st. >> in response to jim's question, which was about the president saying it's in the national security interest of the united we might be attacked. the president didn't actually believe syria is going to attack the united states with the chemical weapons. you mentioned on regional allies and involve tail --
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volatility. it's not a contention it's going come to america? >> there are significant american interests in the region that are of significant concern to the president. >> i'm asking and the district national security interest of this country being threatened by syrian's chemical weapon. the president is not -- >> i'm not a position to offer a assessment of the military capabilities of the nation of syria or the assad regime. i'm in a position to explain to you what the president was talking about when he was referring to our critical national security interests in the region. >> and regional allies. >> yes. >> okay and american facilities in the region. >> next question. >> does the united states government agree with the british legal assessment about how it can perceive the military strike even with the u.n. or parliament approval? >> i haven't looked carefully at the legal assessment. i looked at the report. they have produced one. if and when the president -- when the president reaches a
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determination about the appropriate response to the circumstance, and a legal justification is required to substantiate or back up that decision, we'll produce one on our own. we're not going rely on somebody else's. >> okay. jay carr -- statement why asked whether or not syria has control of all of its chemical weapons, whether the rebels have any chemical weapons and he said they were in complete control. they have no evidence that the rebels had any or any kind of -- [inaudible] does that statement hold light of? >> yeah. i adopt see any reason to contradict what jay already said. it's true. there's no evidence that inhas produced or at least credible evidence to indicate that rebels
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have used chemical weapons or they have access to the ability systemses that would have been required to carry out the attack that we saw on august 21st outside damascus. >> i understand the delivery system. it appears as though sources in the government are saying -- >> anonymous sources. >> you talk to us anonymously all the time and expect. >> i'm just saying that anonymous sources -- >> what you also say to me on a regular basis when i and others speak anonymously to you is that you place more -- when you place more credibility in on-the-record statements; right? that's all i'm districting you to right now. >> why the anonymous sources conceded. >> yes. >> in your government from a trusted news organization are saying that they don't know where some of the weapons are. jay's statement hold that you do know where they are? that the syrian government hasn't lost control of their
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weapons. >> all i will say is what we have said before. which is that we have not seen credible evidence or credible report that the opposition has used chemical weapons, or they have the capability of using the kind of chemical weapons that we saw used in an attack outside damascus on august 21st. >> you said there was no -- in syria that lost control or overrun in any way. the chemical stockpile overrun in any way. do you hold that statement? >> i see no reason to differ with that. >> isn't a chemical weapon attack in -- >> the question has been already done. >> you're allowed to too. >> the chemical weapon attack in syria a district threat a district imminent threat to the security of this country within our borders of the united states? >> the president has assessed that the clear violation of the
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international moore against the use of chemical weapons goes to the core national security of the united states of america and any number of reasons for that. it includes the large stockpile of chemical weapons the assad resheej maintains. it include the volatility of the region, it involves the relationship we have with other countries in the reaming including our allies like turkey and israel our close partner and friend like the nation of jordan. it also involves the facilities the united states maintainings maintaining -- maintains in the renal. there are a number of ways which it has an impact on our core national security interests. and the last thing i guess i would point out. i think it's worth repeating. it's also important for other to tolltarian dictators around the globe who are watching the circumstance unfold in syria and watching the international
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community's reaction to understand that the international community will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons. that international norm is inviable and that any violation of that norm has consequences. >> even the president doesn't acknowledge -- [inaudible] the country it's important to be careful of these. you say impact. that's some would argue that's different than having a district and imminent threat again the united states rather than having an impact on the allies or on international norm. those are different things of concern. but are they as serious as district and imminent threat to our country. >> i'm not going parch the president's words any further. i think the president has been clear and i have done my best to describe to you all of the national interests that the president believes are important, that he was elected to protect, that are at stake here. and that is the appropriate
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response to the circumstance is what the president currently weighing. >>. >> just a cautious approach the administration is making. reflect concern that any response may tip the leadership balance in syria toward someone that may not in fact that may be worse than aside for stability in the region. >> that is a way down the line as opposed of -- action an or the decision. ly just say that the volatility of the region is a factor as we consider all of the -- our response here. it's a reason that the president believes "the situation" merits a response because it's a volatile region. the volatility is carefully considered as the situation is analyzed. >> the regime change although there is a volatility, and what is known sometimes might be better than what is not known.
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is there a question? no. [laughter] >> senator menendez this morning said under the war power act as far as he's concerned for the president to head the military action for sixty days the action to -- [inaudible] is that the kind of thing -- agree with that? >> i am not in the position to offer our own specific analysis of the war power act from here. suffice to say the president believes at this stage what is critically important is are bust consultation with congress. it's an effort we have been engaged on since the first day the event occurred and something that will continue in the days and weeks ahead. >> david axelrod said he was sure the president would go on
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tv and tell the american people what he make of the decision. can you confirm the thought of -- >> again, i don't want to presuppose the decision. suffice the say the president believes it's important -- as evidence by the fact we have promised to make public of the assessment here. you can deduce from there the president believes it is important have a dialogue with the person public about the decisions of the president making particularly when they are as weighty as this specific decision. i'm not going make any promises of prcial -- presidential addresses. you can rest assure that the president believes communicating with the american public as he approaches the situation is a top priority. david. >> "the washington post published a report online from document provided by edward snowden that reveals for the first time details by the budget.
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that's not been released before. some of the findings the budget has grown enormously since the cia budget is the biggest and far bigger than outside experts had estimate that the u.s. is developed new cyber program to attack other countries. cyber systems, and i'm wondering two things. one, the president -- the information has never been released despite many efforts from outside folks to get the information. does the president believe it's helpful now in the current climate to have the discussion about the details how the u.s. is spending the money in the departments to help get a better understanding to -- as he said, make the public comfortable with how the money is being spent and what kind of programs are being run. >> david, i believe that public was since i walked out here. i haven't seen the story itself. i'm not in the position to comment on the specific story. ly reintegrate what the president said. he believes that strengthening public confidence in these programs is important to the
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success of these programs. there is little debate about the fact these programs are critical to our national security. they have played a role in protecting the homeland and disrupting plots by those who are looking to perpetuate violent acts against the united states of america and our interests. so the president is committed to strengthening the program. where the president put forth the own ideas where he we can strength, the program. the president is following through on those promises of reforms. but in term of the specific report, i'm not in a position to comment on it only because i haven't read it. >> the white house aware the story was coming out. it's been in the works for awhile. the intelligence agencies provided responses to some of the district questions. were you aware, and again, i'm just curious if you have concern about the information being
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out? are you comfortable with what -- in hard for me to comment on the information included in the report. i haven't talked to the reporter working on the story. i'm not in a position to comment on the information. we have talked about our concerns about the leak of classified information, but frankly, i'm not sure what applies here. i haven't read the story. kristy? >> thank you, you talked a couple of times about the global community being in agreement on the chemical weapons in syria. do you expect that consensus will strengthen over the next few days? or is it already at the point where the president feels he has international mandate we talked about? >> well, we will certainly consider -- continue our consultation with our allies around the globe. we want to continue to keep our allies in the loop as the president considers a addition
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about a response. we are certainly fleeced by the comment we have seen from the allies like the u.k. and france, australia, germany, the arab league, nato even put out a statement on this. so we're pleased with the strength of the international support that exists for enforcing this international norm against these chemical weapons. so the consultations will continue. i don't want to predict the reaction to the consultations will be. we are committed there are consultations. we value the comment of the international community and believe there they're support is important to the overall effort. >> do you think the president has made the determination that exoar national security interest of the u.s. are at stake here? does he need an international mandate of any kind now? >> well, we have been struggling in the u.n. process. i've articulated that couple of times today. ic it's evident from our
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action. you have seen us closely consult with other allies who have expressed their strong view here. so we certainly are interested in engaging with the global international community on the issue. but at the same time, the president's chief -- accountability is to the american people that he was elected to protect, and the president believes strongly in making the kinds of decisions and taking the kinds of steps that are necessary to protect our core national security interests. and we have acknowledged are at stake in the situation. ann? >> thank you, josh. one week from da today will he still go russia? what will he say directly to president putin look for a moment where he can present the same information? >> i don't i have in change in the president's schedule to announce at this point. so as i think the schedule -- we have released the indicate
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that the president will leave on tuesday evening to travel to sweden an russia from there next week. i don't have any changes to announce at this point. >> okay. josh? >> jar red. >> josh, you sed several times in the briefings that the message to tolltarian -- is a flip citied that you are to tolltarian dictator and you like to kill 1,000 people and not use chemical weapons the united states will -- >> of course not. you have seen this country working consultation with our allies and partner to confront the broader conflict in syria. i think i referred to that earlier. we have concerned about the violence we have seen in syria. we have been working closely even with the russians on trying to find a diplomatic solution to the violation we have seen in syria. it's our view the military solution doesn't exist. it's what is required is for both sides to come to the table and reach out diplomatic
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solution to affect wait a transition in leadership in syria. >> the situation in syria affecting the ongoing peace talk in israel? >> i have to refer you to the state department for the update on the latest talk. >> the justice department it's not going seek federal prosecution in the -- recreationally or medically except for the priority across. does it mean that the administration that state can overturn drug law? >> i would refer do you the department of justice to explain their legal analysis here. >> a different direction then. the president has said that these drugs law are probably do require national debate. how would you characterize his feelings about the legalization of marijuana have his views evolved? >> i -- i will refer you to the comment
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i made last week. i don't have anything. the president, you know, has talked about the appropriate use of resources and that applying them to individual users particularly those who are sick or caretakers is probably the best use of law enforcement resources. but the targeting having laws in place and the law enforcement resources can be targeted and drug king ping and traffickers and others continue to -- very good use of the law enforcement resources. john? >> you have said a couple of times that the president believes in robust consultation with congress, but there are 500 plus member of congress who won't be consulted given the number and the set of people you are doing the consultations with. one of their constituents deserve to have the elected representative get the same kind of briefings. >> well, i'm not ruling out future briefings that might include every member of congress. there are a number of senators involved. even if we're not in a --
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there is a way for the elected representative in the state to ensure their representatives are being consulted in this circumstance. let me just say, you know, our consultation here started from day one. it has been continuing. we have an important call that will take place this evening. it's not the end of our consultation. our consultation will continue. if there is a desire or need for there to be a broader briefing. once members of congress return to washington, d.c., then we'll certainly consider that request. >> return to washington, d.c.? >> i'm not going get to the time frame of a decision. [inaudible conversations] for two years ourself capable of great cruelty. sometime rational decisions -- the things limited and de-- deterred from using chemical weapons again? >> it's a clever way of asking a
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question that will bring you dangerously close that an incision has been made. so let me just say that that is among the factors being considered here. that we -- that the we want to make sure that our response sends an unambiguous signal to the assad regime and dictators around the globe. that living up to the international laws is the firm expectations of the international community. and that syria, to do so, has serious consequences. [inaudible] the people misinterpreting what limited mean. >> if and when a decision has been announced. [inaudible conversations] >> one more on the u.n. >> today that -- [inaudible] senators was going to be meeting again to talk about the budget
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issue when is that? who is coming? yeah, let me pull minutes i think i can give you specific about it. see if we can find in here. this afternoon, i think it may even be ongoing, the chief of staff rod is meeting with the number of republican senators at the white house here today. there would be a number of things that they'll discuss the meeting is a followup on to the conversations that the white house has engaged in with republican member of congress on budget issues. this is part of the president's search for a caucus of common sense. but it's also my understanding that -- let me put it this way. dennis and others were prepared to talk a little about the situation in syria. if that was requested by some of
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these participates in the meeting. so. i don't actually have a list of the senators who are attending the meeting. i don't want to read out their schedule. you can check with them. you certainly have -- you have seen a couple of these republican senators talk about the meetings. >> the same people who have been out here before? >> yeah. there have been different group of republican senators that come to the white house to talk to a senior white house official about the range of budget issues, and that's what is continuing today. but again, i wouldn't rule out there may be some conversation about syria. the reason the meeting was called was follow up on the budget conversations they've been having. [inaudible conversations] >> i don't know. we'll have to get back to you. thank you, everybody. i appreciate it. have a good one. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible] as the white house briefing with a lot of discussion on the situation in syria. you nay have noticed a couple of questions referencing referring to british prime minister david
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cameron's comment that took place earlier today in london. we'll show you a little bit of g those right f now.continueo president of the united states, barack obama, is a man who opposed the action in iraq.k no one could in any way describe to the president who wants tooui involve america in more wars inp the middle he profoundly believes ann important redline has been crossed in an pailing way. that's why he sports action in the case. when i spoke supports action in this case. eeen i spoke to president obama to we have would have to follow a series of incremental steps including at the united nations to build public confidence and assure the maximum possible legitimacy for any action. these steps are all set out in the motion before the house today. let me say, mr. speaker, i
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remember in 2003, i was sitting there two rows from the back on the opposition benches. it was just after my son had been born and he was not well. i was determined to be here. i wanted to listen to the man standing right here and believe everything that he told me. we're not here to debate the issues today, but one thing is undisputable the well of public opinion was truly poisoned by the episode. i give way. >> and that was british prime minister david cameron this morning in london in the british house of commons. in fact we are reaplaying that entire session. it's a couple of hours long. it started ten minutes ago on c-span. you can tune in if you would like. you can find later on our website. on the situation and we understand leadership and the chairman and ranking member of the relevant committee will be included.
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one of the most fun times i ever had been going to take over the house and it's looking pretty bad for republicans and vice president cheney's office called and wanted to know if i could
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come over and have breakfast with him so we went over to the vice president's record and i met him before but i didn't know and it was unbelievable how much he knew about individuals to get he had been to so many of the district over the years as one of the leaders and this and that but basically he was sort of asking us how bad is this, and we were saying it's pretty bad but that's kind of fun when you get to talk to the various caucuses on both sides and you kind of get a glimpse of the inside of the players. a discussion now on the proposed keystone xl oil pipeline from today's washington
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journal. this runs about 40 minutes. >> we are joined now by the former acting administrator for the pipeline and hazardous material safety administration, and also a member of the united transportation adviser who served as the principal and managing director. mr. mccown, thank you for being with us. your work as a pipeline to the present talk about the administration worked for and what you were responsible for. >> guest: i served under but george w. bush administration and was appointed by the transportation secretary norman. and as you may know, he is a democrat who served in the republican administration and he was responsible for offering and then congress passed a reorganization act that led to the creation of this agency. and this agency fmsa receives a million daily shipments of hazardous air, land, truck, and
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sea, dessel and pipeline. >> host: you're current work with the national transportation advisers, what is that? >> guest: i am a lawyer by training and we also have a consulting practice. so, we talk infrastructure projects, transportation projects to both public and private sector clients. >> host: is one of your clients keystone xl? is anybody supporting trans canada? >> guest: no, sir. >> host: as far as keystone xl is concerned, the decision that you were taking, where do you stand if it shouldn't be built on the extension we've been talking about? >> guest: i've been monitoring this for several years. when i was at the d.o.t. the original keystone was proposed. what a lot of people don't understand is there is an existing keystone pipeline and the presence of already approved the second half of the keystone xl last fall. we already have the keystone that goes down to cushing oklahoma and we are about to add the second part that goes all the way down to houston.
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and, you know, the fact is there is a new state of the art pipeline and it's something that is needed and it is in the national interest so i am a supporter. >> host: the support is on the extension would run to montana, south dakota, nebraska, some of the concerns being environmental in nature. >> guest: it also runs through the aquifer and that is one of the points of contention. the new route is a shorter route and it is intended to intentionally picked up. so it will carry it to 25% crude. >> host: what is the relevancy of having this exist in the pipeline? >> guest: the existing pipeline is 600,000 barrels a day. this will bring that capacity of to a little over a million a day. it's important because right now the oil is transported by rail and truck and transported by means other than pipeline. if you look at my former agency and when you look at the house met transportation, it's all
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relatively safe but there is a reason why the pipelines have been the go to source for transporting large volumes of energy projects over the last 50 years. the edge is in this bill volumes and a pipeline 999.5% and children the prices and they not only do it safer but the least expensive and with less impact to the environment and people. >> host: the international energy association took a look at the pipelines and what goes through them. they analyzed it and they said they found the risk six times as high as the pipeline to simply spell more when the rupture and the look at eight years of data from the department of transportation. this from 2004 to 2012 to include this bill in minnesota. but to the idea more of it goes out. >> guest: yes and no. i think that really depends.
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keep in mind, too de transport a lot more than just oil. if you look at the actual train incident rate or the wrecks involving trains it is significantly higher than the pipeline. when you look at the overall transportation safety record pipelines or close to 400 times safer. remember, too they are the one we transportation systems reverie of the transportation system that requires the round-trip you have to double that mileage if you are really going to do apples to apples comparison. >> host: if the pipeline breaks what is the what happens? >> guest: if a pipeline does break and its shutdown as soon as the control room removes the power to the pipeline and in essence through the pumps then it starts moving or the natural gas or anything else and then at that point there is a response plan in place a government regulations require and it's clean up. >> host: is it buried because
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if it ruptures then i imagine more of it would go out depending on how wide it is. >> guest: it also depends on if it is a liquid or gas type of pipeline to meet with the 2.6 million miles of pipeline in the country, those very anywhere from 4 inches to 36 and smr 48. >> host: our guest to talk about the keystone pipeline and the concerns about it, brigham mccown of the transportation adviser. you can ask questions if you wish, call (202)585-3881 for republicans. 2850 for democrats. (202)585-3882 -- independent. if you want you can send a tweet at c-spanwj. dever expect this by the administration by the end of the year? >> guest: i am an institutional list.
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being a government regulator it is all about the facts. should be based on the fact and not the politics. keep in mind this decision has been pending for over four years. the first pipeline was approved and much less time. frankly world war ii ended in less time. my concern and sympathy that believes in the process is deleting the process is being strung out too far. i would certainly hope that there would be won before the end of the year. >> host: the first call was from tom in erie pennsylvania on the republican line. hello. >> caller: the first issue i want to bring that is what this bogus story this guy put out briefly about the question of the incident rate it's that when a pipeline breaks the mess is much bigger. the main reason i called is i want to know what is the guarantee of the benefit to the american public after having
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taken all the risks building this pipeline and the situation is similar to that with the gas. the top 1% get all the benefits by selling it worldwide, and in the meantime the energy cost keeps skyrocketing. >> guest: what i heard there is energy cost and if you look at the energy cost and that is a great question. the fact is the more supply you can bring to market is a supply and demand. energy costs have been skyrocketing because we continue to rely on importing 10 million barrels a day of crude oil. from on stable overseas areas in the middle east. and if we can stop or reduce that dependence by having more north american production, that would be a stabilizing factor in the -- it would help offset any price increases as a result of
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the events going on. in fact, that is why oil rose just 24 hours ago based on its ability and syria. >> host: the president back in june talked about in light of the oil production and the extension itself. what do you have to say? >> guest: [applause] >> i put forward the above energy strategy, but our energy strategy must be about more than just producing more oil. and by the way, it's certainly going to be about more than just building one pipeline. [applause] i know there's been, for example, a lot of controversy surrounding the proposal to build a pipeline, the keystone pipeline that would tear the oil from the canadian tarsands to the refineries in the gulf and the state department is going through the final stages of evaluating the proposal. that is how it has always been done. but i do want to be clear that allowing the pipeline to be
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built reply years finding in doing so will be in the nation's interest. and our national interests will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of the carbon pollution, the net of fact of the pipeline impact the net effect of the pipeline impact on the climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether the project is allowed to go forward. it's relevant to the >> guest: the presidents department of energy that looks at the future projection shows that by 2014 we are still going to be heavily dependent upon the fossil fuel. in fact, the study shows that the renewables will still constitute about 10% of the energy requirements that we have. with that in mind, the question
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isn't if this is going to market. it's how do we get it there in the safest way as possible because canada will produce this oil and will get to market. and i would much rather have a brand new state of the art pipeline traveling down the margin mississippi and on the trunk to be cut tanker cars and trucks. >> host: there was a story that was reported by the newspaper saying that the decision would likely be until the inspector general looked at the investigation of the conflict of interest complete and the inspector general looked at the complete of the environmental research mismanagement that prepares the environmental impact statement on the keystone xl on the central conflict. >> guest: it's not a new story. that came out and was thoroughly investigated. my understanding is that there were no conflicts found. what you are starting to see frankly is the recycling of a lot of defense. keep in mind, that executive order that was put in place that governs this entire process was put in place to expedite the cross border transportation facilities. instead of expediting it, this
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environment environmental impact we could have built the empire state building five times buy now. we have completed world war ii in less time. so again as an institutional list at some point we start to save that we have had for environmental studies. we have had this and that and at some point the question is has this policy been hijacked or are we still at in pass. >> host: eric is from nichols bill kentucky on the democratic line empirical cowal hello. we have had an environmental study and also practical experience with skills. i don't know where you're getting your safety records from, the 99.999%. [inaudible] like we have already had happened we have hardly anywhere
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tall of cleaning up the spill. >> guest: first the safety rating is based on this. we transport and move around the country 31 million. think about that for a second. 31 million barrels of oil for the refined products each and every day. we did that yesterday. nothing happened. we did it the day before. nothing happened. so if you consider that it is over 13 billion barrels a year that get moved around, the spill rate is actually pretty good and it is better than any other mode of transportation. and so that's my point is that these products are not an optional supply. they are not something that we can live without. if we have them and as a former regulator there is a robust set of regulations in place and a very aggressive enforcement posture by the federal government in the state government. so the question isn't if, the
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question is if we have to have these products, how would we make sure they are transported as safely as possible. >> host: that morning let's go to gary in santa barbara on the democratic line. are you there? >> one more time. i think we are having trouble. let's try davenport iowa on the republican line. >> caller: i am a locomotive engineer. there is a human factor in putting the oil on the train that isn't present in the pipeline. as much as my company has a consumer we need to build the power grid in this country and
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it is not an ideal way to do that if all i can follow the rules i don't do the right thing you are going to be real that and still live all over. but the pipeline at least if it is built to code standards you take the human factor out of it there's something but not as much as on five real. when you take that into the consideration. >> guest: that is a good point. one of the things about the pipeline is the air out of sight and out of mind and most of the viewers listening today that 2.6 miles of pipeline people would have been like i didn't know that. and that is because the year generally buried underground and they are generally kept away from the populace. and the areas where it does go through an urban area or an environmentally sensitive area there are additional regulations that deal with the pipelines in those areas. one of the key components is now number one leading cause of the
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pipeline incidents when they do happen is by for third-party excavation damage so it is a mode that really limits the interaction between people and the product being shipped. >> daytona beach democratic line. >> host: go ahead, thomas to the you are on a. >> caller: i don't have any problem with that but there should be some kind of a guaranteed. it's been all across the country and going somewhere else to get on the world market. a number one, when he took office i was paying at all were 25 per gallon of gas.
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it's under like $3 a gallon here in florida in the last eight years of bush and the last five of obama. so we can think the republicans for the high gas prices. >> guest: the question there is looking at how it is going to be used. there has been a debate recently and the environmental opponent to keystone trying to point out or a picture that is to be exported. if we imported 10 million barrels of oil every day from unstable places around the world and you look at the fact that the canadian crude that we get is already discounted 30 to $40 per barrel it makes more sense to keep that here in the u.s.. and frankly, what it doesn't make sense to do is to ship it down the pipeline and pay the
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tariff, then put it on the tanker in houston and facilities that don't exist and the immediate through the panama canal to the u.s.. that is unrealistic. >> host: we were concerned about the jobs being treated. he spoke of the amazon saying the full command center getting the environment protection isn't a john plan he declared. keep on talking about this coming up from canada seems to create about 50 permanent jobs plan. he's already improved the southern part of the keystone exfil said he's already approved the pipeline going from alberta canada to texas. if you talk to the teamsters and to the union officials, they say look these are construction jobs. we don't use them as temporary jobs because our likelihood depends on going from the construction projects to construction projects.
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moreover, it is the impact of having that production come through the u.s.. i have talked to counties and nebraska that are along the original keystone and they've been of lowering taxes because of the revenue that has flown in and then directly stimulates the economy and where it comes to the u.s. with the u.s. labor force that does add to the economy. we shouldn't build the mixing bowl because there are no permanent jobs created. there are no permanent jobs created in that all construction jobs are temporary and you have to look beyond that i think. >> host: michigan, republican line. >> caller: i just ended about five minutes ago so i don't know if you have discussed this or not. but in michigan we have a problem with a company and bridge.
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-- embridge. they had a skull and it still hasn't been cleaned up. there's controversy about cleaning it up. it seems to be the same type of oil that you want to ship. now you were going to ship canadian oil through the united states. why doesn't canada shift that to its country? also i have another question and that is in the event this does get to the refinery in texas it doesn't come to the united states at the wheel goes on the general market. so this monkey business about saying well the united states will get that, that's not true. and i really resent people to bring the oil industry trying to pull them over our eyes. thank you for having this type of program and for us to call out our displeasure with what is
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happening. thank you. have a nice day. >> guest: by the way canada is our number one importer and that does stay in the united states and is refined in the united states and is used in the united states. in fact the u.s. actually exports of refined products back into canada. that is true. but the vast party of all of the oil that we get from canada stays right here. and so, you know, i just really haven't seen that come to fruition. i yeah understand the concern, the oil in the product and the banks generally it is staying here. >> host: . it's been another issue raised. there are not that many places around the world that can confine the heavier crudes. it is no heavier than we get from california or mexico.
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it's later than the oil from venezuela. so it has to be refined in by u.s. because there are very few places that have that key devotee to be the second coming from the modeling concept is kept in the u.s.. in fact all of the oil from the refinery there generally makes its way of the whole u.s. east coast and in washington, d.c. is where we use the product. >> host: patrick on the democrats lined. >> caller: yes, good morning. good morning. thank you and for the wonderful program yesterday. the price of oil keeps going up and gassed keeps going up. why is it that we have such a surplus and still the prices keep going out and they keep complaining that we need zero leal from the middle east and we have right here in the united states? in canada so we can help here in
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the united states. but it would also help to give people the right information. one person complains that we have a surplus of gas and oil. but the safety is very important. so we appreciate that and if it helps the people and helps it go down, then we would be mostly appreciated. >> guest: he has raised a very good point. years ago he thought we were pretty much out a fossil fuel. what we have learned from the advances in technology is not only do we have a lot of crude oil that we are finding in the u.s. and that canada is finding that i think once mexico changes its government-run company from mexico if you're going to find a lot more. and we have a lot more in this country than saudi arabia has oil. as we find we have more production capability, the difficulty is bringing that production capability online. and there is a balance. there is a balance between producing that oil and make sure that we are good stewards of the
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environment but by the same token if you look at president obama driving on the federal land and stalling to a new low, we are producing more and the world is also using more oil and that's why i think it's critical when you talk to the policymakers you believe that we may not be independent per say, that we can sure lesson ever dependent on overseas oil which we can bring domestic capability on line. that's the current struggle >> host: the saidy have an excess coming into the u.s. now. so why build a new one? because it's going to ports in china. >> guest: there's already a 500-mile pipeline in canada that goes through british columbia. the complex oil in a supertanker right there and send it to china. there have been infrastructure projects proposed. i think that keystone of the bill was already subscribed meaning that they are already up to the capacity once it gets built. i'm not sure where he's gotten the info but i haven't seen the
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pipelines or what they call under subscribe at all. >> host: how was the stability maintained? the pipeline itself ifs monitored from the ground and the air. there is technology the was deployed along the line and surgeon locations that monitor for safety. these companies have to work closely with the department of homeland security. it's considered in many places critical of infrastructure that needs to be protected. the wines are also flown over constantly and monitored from satellites as well >> host: is the responsibility when it comes to clean up? >> guest: the responsibility lies with the operator first and foremost. number two there is a backstop called the life of the trust fund and that exists in the
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billions of dollars to go ahead and advance money for cleanup that the operator then has to replenish. like i say they have response plans that are in place that the operator has to follow and there are assets that have to be deployed on site quickly. this is something that is pretty much worse at oversight. >> host: tom from washington, d.c.. hello. >> caller: i think c-span yesterday for sure. i want to ask a question of safety. but first let me say that fracking with all its problems has in fact resulted in a sharp drop in the price of natural gas than has been noted. and i just want to make sure that the audience knows that has given the american manufacturing substantial cost advantage over its competitors so much so that a lot of foreign companies are looking to come here to do their manufacturing or take advantage of natural gas.
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the safety question coming and i know this sounds silly but it is the means by which the pipelines are inspected from inside of the pipeline. and i sure that our guest knows that if he could explain it. >> guest: that is a very insightful comment on natural gas. i should have raised that as an analogy to the previous caller that talked about the crude oil prices. when the natural gas production went up by 20, 25% the price dropped by 50%. it's not necessarily a linear tit-for-tat but it can be an exponential drop. if we can get the oil where it needs to be i'm not suggesting that it should be the drop but i think that we can start to ensure against price fluctuations when there are many crises around the world. through pipeline technology has advanced dramatically in the last 20 years and so has safety.
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it's one of the reasons why the overall pipeline incidences' are down by 60% -- >> host: can you explain what that is? >> guest: they run on the pipeline and there are many different types. there are those that are basically pieces of foam that are scrapers. but the smart technology uses either variations in the magnetic field or sonogram technology to literally produce an image of the pipeline and the thickness of the pipeline is just like getting an mri or a cat scan and that tells us a lot about the health of the pipeline. how it's doing, if it has been damaged from the outside, if it has a corrosion issue or anything that is going on so it is a holistic approach to the management of the lifecycle of the pipeline to find the
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incidences' before they happen. >> host: what material is used on pipeline? >> guest: there will be ptc and plastic. >> host: what is the life expectancy? >> guest: life expectancy depends on how they are maintained and operated. the major pipeline serving in the area and the whole southeast have been in place since the projects in the early 40's. >> host: said the keystone pipeline that we are talking about -- >> guest: it is steel pity it is rated alt-a call xm 70 pipe and that is just a number that stands for how many pounds of pressure it can take. it is a state of the art line. it is actually above and beyond what is required to even run this pipeline and that is one of the added safety margins that the operator has agreed to do. >> host: janet from massachusetts on the republican line. >> caller: the keystone pipeline along with every other pipeline is a national security
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issue. the armed conflict from yen into libya to syria and afghanistan, that is a huge area. and we are held captive by the price of strikes in the north sea oil price because we are not energy independent. currently because of the act we cannot move an energy product from texas to the east coast so they are getting huge amounts of the natural gas and oil from a hostile areas. california also has geographical issues. so it is having a tough time getting energy from alaska or canada. so we need the policy for approving the pipelines particularly if they are in the
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same footprint as preexisting power or road easement. they shouldn't be tied up with environmental evaluations when the soil has already been affected by something like that. this is a national security issue and the middle east is about to blow up the are going to try to cut off our energy supplies and spike the oil price. >> host: do you think building the exfil pipeline will change our dependence significantly? >> caller: i think it will -- i think it will show a change of policy. currently the transportation bill that didn't get through the
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senate had sections that prohibited the this easing of environmental evaluation from other pipelines. i think the key thing to the pipeline approval is that it will show a change of the wind. a change of policy. >> host: so the bill was under understand but for the fact the pipeline crosses the border between the u.s. and canada there would be no environmental study. you and i could go out, pedro, and build a brand new pipeline from the balkan area and south dakota and run it all the way down to houston and there is no governmental environmental study. the only governmental action is because of the international border crossing. and, you know, the keystone pipeline has become a pipeline safety that has very little to do with the pipeline safety, but this disagreement over the energy policy giving it and whether or not we should continue to utilize the fossil fuel products or whether we
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should be concentrated on the renewable only. my thought is look as a former regulator and someone that served in the military for close to 26 years in the active reserve service and has been to iraq and kuwait i don't want to go back there. so to the extent that we can lessen our dependence on oil from the on unfriendly regions and places i think we are better off and she had it right on the head a country is only as secure as its energy supply. >> host: if you build a pipeline with in the united states you are not required to form some type of an environmental study? >> guest: you are not required to obtain a presidential permit and unless it passes through the public land, then there is no environmental study required if it passes over you might have to get a permit from the army corps of engineers if it passes through the watershed or something like that that you not only conduct a nepa analysis.
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the national environmental policy act which controls this process which was signed into law by president nixon. >> host: elbra guest brigham mccown of the national transportation adviser and acting administrator for the pipeline and hazardous material safety administration. thanks for holding on on the democratic line. hello, good morning. >> caller: one thing off the top it's hard to look at the camera and say we are not shipping it overseas but the reason that it goes all the way to the gulf is because we do want to ship that out overseas. now, i'm not against fossil fuel because i know that we need them but we are taking the risk when we go from canada and the problem is that is all going to
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be untapped oil because it goes from canada to the gulf. if we really want to keep it here why wouldn't it to build a refinery at number so the pipeline didn't cross across the offers? that would guarantee that it stays here. that is a big problem of a lot of people was to know that it is going to just be shipped out overseas. now, i have one more thing to add on the fracking. i like it. i think it's clean energy but if it were not for the democrats they would be shipping it and would like to have that on the world market, too. as it starts to hit the world market prices will go up. >> guest: first of all there is a provision in the law of the u.s. is exporting and a cruise
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second on the keystone xl my personal view is when you start mixing this with canadian crude it becomes a blended product and it's no wonder canadian crude. even if you could though, it doesn't make sense. the reason it has to go to houston is people a long time ago -- and i wondered about this a time the hurricane comes up but was to place most of the refineries in the u.s. gulf coast. people love to get the permit up in the midwest or someplace else. it hasn't happened for a number of years but i don't think it'll ever happen given the government red tape so they are where they are and that's where the new pipeline is needed because we have the new supply of oil and we have to get from point a to point b. >> host: this is john and
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alexandria ohio. the independent line. >> caller: what a lot of people don't understand is in 1999 the community modernization act that they enacted shortly thereafter, everything spite. gas, oil and which the smartest people in the room that push that through is a lobbyist. because of enron and the huge profits can be made to get them back down you have to remove that. now when it comes to the keystone pipeline, it has already been set and televised on tv and there are numerous other things that i have seen that have been earmarked to
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china. >> host: we will leave it there. it just does not make sense to do that. and frankly, if we have the opportunity to buy that oil, and we do come and the transcanada said that none of it is going to be exported. but even taking that aside, we need the oil. with 10 million exports a day and with this oil being offered cheaper and less expensive than from anyplace else, it would make no sense to me to export to the interest kobach us through the map. there is a section that already exists. if approved, how long would it take to build. >> guest: it would take about two years to build and runs from canada to of alberta to about five or 600 miles to the east and then drop straight down south ending up in steel city
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nebraska and part of that peels off to the east and goes to illinois to the refineries in illinois. so the canadian crude is also being refined in illinois and supports gasoline and diesel production in the midwest. and it goes down to oklahoma. president obama last fall during the election style approved half of keystone xl and it isn't something that is reported that the section -- it was already in the work in the motherland there is the keystone pipeline that has already been approved and that section there is kind of a red dot towards the bottom is near completion. and the first or second quarter of 2014 will be up and operational. >> host: again our guest with us. with an answer whether or not this extension will be built any time soon.
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>> guest: it really should be coming along and when i was in the administration and we did an environmental impact statement or study we actually had to have a tie line because we had to keep on schedule. the time - two to three years and we are four and a half. >> host: brigham mccown with the national transportation adviser and served previously in the government to the look at pipeline safety issues.
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some news from the justice department today. the obama administration is adjusting its stance on marijuana law. "the washington post" writes the u.s. attorneys in all 50 states the justice department said that it wouldn't stand in the way of colorado, washington and other states where the voters supported legalizing marijuana either for the medical or recreational use. as long as they maintain strict regulatory regimes on the drugs. the memo reiterates that it remains illegal under federal law that directs federal prosecutors to focus their resources on specific areas of enforcement rather than targeting individual marijuana and users. the include preventing distribution of marijuana to minors and preventing the sale of pot to cartels and gangs.
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>> one of the most fun times i ever had was it was 2006 and looked like the democrats really were going to take over -- take back over the house and was looking pretty bad for republicans. vice president cheney's office called and wanted to know if we could come over and have breakfast with him. so we went over to the vice president's residence and had breakfast with him. i had met him before but first of all, it was unbelievable how much he knew. he had been to so many of these districts over the years as one of the republican leaders in the house and this and that but basically, he was just sort of asking us how bad is this? and we were saying yet, it's pretty bad. but that's kind of fun when you talk to the caucuses on both sides and you get a glimpse of both sides of the players.
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.. i think whoever lived in it the first lady should preserve the tradition and enhance it. but leave something . >> c opinion is two to the present. live monday nights including your calls, facebook comments,
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and tweets starting september 9th at 9:00 eastern on c-span. now panelists a the center for american progress propose proposed cut to the head start program. head start programs serve about 1 million children a year, and are federally funded. run by local agencies. this is just other -- over an hour. good morning, everybody. welcome. i'm the executive vice president for policy here at the center for american progress. we are delighted to be hosting this event today with the national head start association on the impact budget cuts are having on our youngest and most vulnerable children. we're lucky to have
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practitioners here today who will know better than any of us that the impact of cuts are having on their children and in their community. we are grateful for them to coming to share their story with us. it's fitting we're doing the event today on the anniversary of the march on washington. this really is a critical issue from the perspective of civil rights. too often children of color from low-income communities enter school behind peers. this gap continues as they move throughout the academic career. program like head start help to level the playing field and prepare the children to enter school ready to learn. it's children of color who are impacted. two of the states that will experience the largest cuts under sequestration in their enrollment california and texas serve over 70% of the serve they are serve are children of color. and high-quality early childhood
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education programs are one of the best pools we have to ensure children have an equal shot at success. in washington, we're continuing to focus on the concept of budget cut rather than investment in our future. this is the wrong debate for us to be having. recently one of our panelists today michael lyndon who is our managing director for our economic team recently he put out a paper that called for a reset in the debate in light of the fact we have already $1.12 trillion in dev set reduction. because of lowered cost on we're on track to even without sequestration to reach goals set over four years ago. in michael's paper. we also point that fiscal austerity measures are failing to -- and stifling economic growth. so we have challenged congress to take these facts and evidence and to shift the debate from cuts in to investment in our
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future, and there's no better place for us to invest in our young children. this that paper we called upon congress to embrace the president's plan to make substantial investment in early childhood education. the evidence for these investments we believe are overwhelming and at-risk child who doesn't receive a high-quality early hood education is 25% more likely to drop out of school. 40% more likely to become a teen parent, 50% more likely to be placed in special education, 60% more likely never to attend college. and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime. other countries are acting on this evidence. china has pledged to increase preschool e enrollment by 12020. -- and india has announced plans to reach 60% of the children with preschool education. these countries know that these investments will lead to a more competitive work force for their
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country. if we want to continue to compete in the global economy, we need to do the same. now i would like to turn over the podium who is the executive vice president and our partner for the event. she's the executive vice president for the national head start association. she a long-term advocate for children and families. in her current role she represents the voice of million of head start family and staff. we're happy to have here today how talk about how sequester is affecting the head start community on the national level. yays. >> thank you for that kind introduction. good morning, everyone. by the way, we have a small staff, so i'm the executive director which has no room for executive vice president yet. [laughter] and i really want to take a moment to thank our hostess center for american progress for the generosity and willingnd to
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call attention to this really important issue. all of us in this room care deeply about the fate of the nation's at-risk children. i'm glad for a forum that allows us to talk frankly about the impact of sequestration and those most vulnerable that head start serves. and i thank you in the audience for being here. when i know you would rather be travel together lincoln memorial today. this is an auspicious time to be thinking about ensuring that children have access to great opportunities. we have all been moved by the celebration this weekend of the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. today is the day to actually reflect on the breathtakingly important moment in our nation east hi are. the joy of knowing how far we have come. and the stark reminder of how far we still have to go.
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and i'm just to mention the head start too has the roots in this push for equality. we're particularly pleased to have our colleague from mississippi here. history shows that 48 years ago, there were drive-by shootings at head start programs in that state. some employers were threatening their maids to not send their children to head start. we have come so way and we have ways to go. in 2012 head start and early head start programs across the country were serving a scant 40 percent of all eligible children. our waiting lists were long. over several years with flat funding with rising costs in rent, energy, health issues. -- in shrinking support staff and lowering salaries. so we have almost always operated at the margin because it seems inconceivably not to
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spend every dollar on providing the best quality program for every possible child. so when the unthinkable happened and sequestration became the new reality this march, we had little to cut. you recently see the -- you likely seen the recent office of head start report that over 57,000 fewer children will be served in head start and early head start next year. because of the sequester. this is not a small number. the creative number crunching thinkers on our team figured out that 57,000 people would fill the football stadium at the university of louisville. they would fill 1900 school buses, and create six and a half mile traffic jams. and with their arms outstretched the kids would surround the national mall six and a half times. so while it's true that this
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number is lower than the original projections, and a closer look at the details shows an even more troubling picture. head start programs have the authority to be flexible in implementing cuts. and that's an opportunity for which we are grateful. but the local flexibility is a double-edged sword. many more children and family will be affected bit cuts. here is how the data show that programs cut 1.3 million days from the school year. not only does this take way critical day of early learning it puts parent and families in a difficult situation of finding quality, affordable child care options to in order to stay employed. from a survey that we conducted in hsa more than a quarter or program -- meaning that parents lose a community resource and will have to transport their children to a
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new farther away center that provided they still have a spot lucky enough to keep the spot. it's a tough for them with gas prices already high and many families actually without cars. in addition 15% of the programs in the nhs survey reported cutting transportation. that's reducing access for the most isolated and vulnerable families. even before the sequester, only half of the program had been able to afford to offer transportation. in these strategies for cutting are not sustainable. a program cut already fixed costs buses or field trips this year. those won't be available to cut next year. this ensures that any additional cuts will have an even greater access on 2014. the office of head start reports that 25,000 staff have either seen their salaries cut or lost their job. that mean the head start field will lose the expertise and the
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investment made in staff education and training over the last six years. so if you ask me earlier this year what i would have liked to be talking about in 2013, my answer would not have been sequestration. i've been lucky enough during my time in this field witness the slow building acceptance among policy makers and citizens alike of the critical importance of investing in high-quality early education. and today the environment in which we look and find ourselves could not be more positive. i know, i speak for all of us when i say i'm pleased that the health research has given us better an more concrete data on the effect of early childhood experience, and thrilled to see the think tank in washington pay more and more attention to this issue. and to find mu allies and supporters in congress every week. i'm surprised and delighted in
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speaking in agreement with the military who are did dedicating themselves to the issue. i'm overjoyed to be working with the business community on the issue and be talking about it as an issue of ready for our the future for the economic viability. so has there ban moment in history when the national acceptance of early learning was high. sequestration was a swift punch. it took the wind out sales of the millions affiliated with today's head start. our family, staff, volunteer and advocates. how could we have misjudged the support we thought we were building if congress could allow it to happen? in the midst of the anxiety. the best champion president obama and now his plans to propose massive new investment in high quality learning. this what we should be talking about. we have more data behind us now than ever before. we have more acceptance on the part of state and local
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community than ever before. the stalemate over the budget and our lingering shock that sequestration has not been restored prevents us from diverting our attention to new initiatives while we're still cutting children from the programs. in the end, the answer is the same. investments matter. greatly. today we come together to impact the investment. adding to them slowly over time as smart financial advisers tell us to do as well as the invest the detrimental -- to save a little money today. it is unintensed consequence of the a death by a thousand cuts. we can't the loss in morale for our employs and advocate and we can't calculate the loss of hope on the family that is tushed -- turned away. what we can do is continue to sound the alarm that the cuts
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cannot been sustained. today's panel is deeply understand the harm sequestration has caused and i hope that we find new ammunition to use in our fight to reverse the damage. our community is a passionate one. we disagree all the time. but we all come back to the same table because we're united in our long standing common goal to expand access to high quality early childhood experience toes all children. i am -- as always, privileged to work with each of you and grateful for your support as we conquer this today so we can may focus once again on a brighter future. and it's my real pleasure now to introduce a true leader and parent, coolier who is a parent representative from region three on national board. and she's an exceptional -- she's a former sharon of the
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parent policy counsel parent child center in washington. she's an exceptional advocate just recently she and her daughter just gave amazing testimony to the budget committee and really made some great impact there. so please join me in welcoming her. [applause] >> good morning. thank you for the introduction and the opportunity join you today. it is a really an honor to be here on such an historic day. to talk with you all about the importance of head start and the challenge we parents face with the sequester. as she said -- i'm sorry. my name is shavon collier. i'm the proud mother of reya and four others. she's four and lucky enough to
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be starting again in head start this fall. but across the country, i know that many of her peers are not so lucky. reya attends here in washington, d.c., why i am the former chair of the parent policy counsel and currently sit on the national head start association board. at the center, we were able to avoid cutting children this year because we won a grant from the d.c. office of state super tent of education or occe. the occe grant funded an extra head start classroom that we would have had to cut due to the sequester. but this was a one time grand and i have no idea how our center will don't avoid cutting children and -- classrooms like the one reya plays and learns in. if we continue to face future cuts. just because we were able to not
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cut children this year, don't think that it weren't felt deeply by the staff. i think this is something that many people who don't duogo to the center every day don't understand. the staff there have been incredible to me and to the other parents. but you can see that extra stresses on the faces every day. several positions have already been eliminated, even though staff who still have their jobs are often doing the work of two, three, or even four different people. these are the people who passionately work to make sure reya and our classmates learn, are healthy, and get ready for school. they should only have to stress about keeping the children safe, engaged, and learning not about their own livelihoods. i do really admire them, but it is clear that the sequester has impacted staff and that unfortunately rubs off on the
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the children. as i said, reya and i were so lucky. but i have also heard about other parents who have not been so lucky. parent like chris ann from kansas who has to travel over an hour each way to drop off and pick off her daughter at head start off their town's program closed and cuts all transportation services to nearby programs. or worse of all, kelly in maryland who had to quit her job because her son lost his space in head start. she wasn't able to find or afford quality child care. i can't tell you i'm in the same place. it's not like there other programs or affordable places for reya to go if it wasn't for head start. i'm just talking about those parents who were lucky now have even get a head start class to begin with. i have many friends who wish they could get their children in head start. upper middle class folks who
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probably don't qualify for head starts and many folks who probably qualify for head start. i see their jealous of me because they know how effective it is and have seen it work on reya and her development, but they either can't afford a program like it, or there just isn't enough room in their community. to wrap up, i have to say that i never wanted or thought i would find myself in this position. for many parents like me, finding a job, succeeding at the job, and raising a young one is stressful and challenging enough. but after losing my job and struggling to find another in this economy, the extra stresses were overwhelming. head start has helped me through it all. i have now found a job. even though i have, i'm still not making enough to afford quality child care. med -- head start has been the tability? our lives. that's quickly changes because
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of the sequester. and the uncertainty it's brought us. i'm proud of what the center has done, but i know most of the folks across the country weren't so lucky. it's clear that if the sequester continues, even we will have to cut classrooms and family like me. and nobody seems to care or even want to talk about it. i understand congress and president obama have to make hard decisions, but i don't understand why they should take it out owrn -- our children. our children are our future, and we owe it to them to provide every opportunity for them to succeed. we should be doing more to help out children like reya and others. until then, i just want people to understand that the sequester hurts, and it is our reality. and that over 57,000 stories out there just like mine and kelly and krista.
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thank you. [applause] >> you know, somebody did -- one of an affiliate did the study the health of anemia child care, and the administrators, the directors came out as the most stressed. we'll have a chance to hear from executive director of rock land county, new york. she was born in white plains aheading north carolina before beginning her career teach within and sworker and executive director. he's a great friend of our and the president of the new york head start association. employees join -- please join me in welcoming
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her. [applause] >> good morning. i'm so happy to be here. i thank the national head start association and the center for progress for the opportunity. i'm going repeat some of what they also said. but i like that say that in new york state there has been 3,847 children have lost their slot in head start this year. this summer in rock land we were unable to serve 300 children for our summer program. these were 4-year-olds who are ready for school. and we have prepared them through school readiness to be prepared for school. they are losing all of that preparation that we did at head start. when we pass through the community we see young children sitting in window watching the world go by they're not attending a program, and they're not having any kind of opportunity.
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so we know that these children are at risk. they are children they have different family situations, they come from low-income families, sub standard housing, a lot more, but we really need to think what is -- about what is going on. the directors in new york want to know what is going on? what happened? why is it happening to head start and these children and families? head start programs have cut their eliminated position. they laid off staff, they cut hours of staff, they cut staff benefits, transportation has been cut, the number of days of the programs have been reduced. we reduced our days. we are negotiating with our vendors could they please cut 10%, 5% whatever they can do to help us to make the budget
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work. we are cutting classrooms and program supplies. when you talk about the return on investment, we know in early childhood that if you invest $1 now today, your return is $7 to $9 lair. -- later. these children are vulnerable. early childhood has been proven that it reduces the rate of crime, the children go on to college, they less like lib to be on social welfare programs. so we really need to support head start and all that it does. right now it's the 50th anniversary on the march on washington. we have to think back and remember what the war on poverty was about and why it was created. why head start was started. when you talk about it, it's so confusing at this time, head start is being -- i say taxed and cut, but as we need to think about what is
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going on. do our head start there are fears as to what is going happen next year. what is going happen to the children. what is going happen to the family? it's very difficult for staff to function where they don't know next year am i going have a job? are we going operate the program and stressful for the directors and everybody. and the families i'm asking to please support head start and hopefully we can overcome this. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you for sharing those personal stories with us at this time i want to invite our panel up to join us on the stage. we're thrilled to some of the best expert on the program here today. i'll turn it over to christie ya from education week and introduce the panelist and
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moderate the discussion. >> good morning, everyone. as she mentioned my name is christie ya samuel. i cover early education poem. this is a fascinating time to become early education and young children. we have a great panel here to discuss the important issues. i would like to just give the panel a brief moment to introduces themselves before we launch to questions. if we can start here to my left. if you can introduce yourself and. >> [inaudible] i have the honor of serving as the executive district for the mississippi head start association. our office is located in jackson, mississippi. i have been with head start since 1988, and i'm excited to
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be here today to share some of our concerns about sequestration. >> i'm martha covan the associate director for -- office of manage and budget which is part of the executive oversee the budget of a number of federal agencies including education, the administration for children and families at hhs where the head start program is. >> hi cay within the department hhs hhs and i started my early childhood career twenty years ago in a head start agency in brooklyn. so i'm really happy to be here today. i'm sharon from the center on budget and policy priorities. where i'm the vice president of budget policy and economic opportunity. this is a second go around for me at the center budget and friar returning in november, i worked for secretary inteel yous -- inteem use.
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>> i'm the manager director my work mostly focuses on the federal budget, deficits, and debt. >> great. i was wondering for we could start with you. we heard the numbers that have been mentioned in introduction about the over 57,000 slots that vitamin be lost. i wonder if you might be able to drill down a little bit more to that. i know, that the office of head start has some additional information on that. maybe even if we know the numbers what we might be seeing for sequestration continue. i'm not sure what information we have on that. >> let me start descrilling down a little bit and the numbers we have. 57,265 is kind of the top-line number of children we know that lost access to head start because of these consults. and that's about 6,000 infant and toddlers and 51,0003 and 4-year-old that would have been in head start.
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so about 60% of our program had to make the cut in the enrollment, then there were other programses that made other choices. as she mentioned at the beginning, there was some flexibility about how programs were able to implement the cut operate at reduced level with the caveat that the standard we have for the quality and the health and safety of our program are nonnegotiable. that's something that programs really can't minimize the quality or do anything that would not meet our general standards. we had some flexibility of things we could let programs do differently this year. and so programs also made choices not only serve fewer children which is the 57,000 number. but children also now receiving head start and early head start for fewer days over the school year. so the top line number we have talked about there is that across the country there is 1.3 million less days of head start going children across the country. what that really means is that
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programs about 28% of our programs choose to shorten the school year. and so 87,000 kids are receiving a shorter head start year. and on average, that is about 15 days shorter. so even head start kids that are lucky enough to be in head start are actually having their school year reduced by close a month. by more than three weeks. the other big number that some programs choose to have a shorter day. about 11,000 kids are having a shorter head start day, and on average, programs that shorten it by an how far are -- hour and a half. a child getting a six-hour program is receiving a four and a half-hour program. or program at five hours is down to three and a half. there's a big impact of the kids not receiving it. we know more about they are getting less hours and less days of head start for kids still enrolled. >> that's a great kind of national perspective. i wonder what we're actually
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seeing if mississippi both with the children who are enrolled in head start and with the adults. >> well, we're looking at in mississippi about 1800 opportunity -- that's 1800 children who won't have an opportunity for head start or early head start, and it's been a significant loss in jobs. we are one of the major employer in the state of mississippi. that adverse i are effect not only family who won't have access to high quality care for their children. staff who won't have jobs. and then the foods and services that we purchase and spenders we use in the community young things won't be available. >> you know i want to go back quickly. to ask i don't know if we know at this point what further cuts
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might be coming down the line if sequestration continues. is that something that is still to be determined? >> we don't know exactly at this point what programs will face in 2014. i think one thing we know some of the changes that programs made in the program this year aren't sustainable. so i think she talked about we may have had a one-time cutting to transportation and they use that money to be able to keep more children enrolled. they won't have the option if there are further sequestration cut in the future. similarly while maybe in the first year we were able to say you can operate at the shorter school year. we know that kids need have a more exposure to head start. those aren't things that program will have the option do in the future. i think any future cuts will be compounded by the fact that some of the one-time fixes this year aren't available in the future. i want to try tow put in a larger context.
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as everyone knows the budget concerns are going, you know, unfortunately far beyond head start. we have, you know, debt ceiling coming up and the continuing resolution and the government is expiring. and martha, i'm wondering for you can talk about what the obama administration is proposing in early childhood. what the administration is wanting to see and maybe how they are working to get congress to stake up the issues when it's hard to get funding going at this point. >> one thing to be clear -- very much trying to put ourself in the past more over that our plan for early education is one of investment. investment in head start and not only making sure that programs can keep up with a cost of inflation and not have to make those describe but build out a new early head start child health care partnership. some of the best things of head start can be brought to the --
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raise the quality of early childhood for those infant and toddler. we proposed a large investment in home vizzing which is in place right now the money is temporary. we think it's a fantastic program in fifty states. and finally large investment in preschool for 4-year-olds. as we know there is solid evidence to show that the investment are smart ones in the future. they generate a high return, and the president very much believes we can don't reduce the debt in a balanced way while making the plan the senate hhs appropriation bill crafted bay senator harkin and supported senator mccull sky and others. that's the path that we and many in congress will. it's hard to find a member of congress who will tell you that early education is a bad investment. the struggle is how to get to a
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fiscal i i did dynamic where we can make the investment. if you might be able to go with that. it's something you recently written a report about. my role on the panel is not too much on early childhood education. i have a 3-year-old in preschool. it's important. the notion we need to be cutting anything frankly right now has missed the boat. three years ago the deficit progeeks were, i think legitimately concerning to a lot of people. the democrats, republicans, progressives, conservatives look to the numbers in term of this is not sustainable path. but that is not the path we're on now anymore. we have done a lot of spending cuts to discretionary programs
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like head start and other discretionary programs national institute of health. lot of thing have been cut. we have raised a little bit of revenue. and there's a lot of other trends that are happening in the economy that is bringing the deficit way down. the deficit today is falling at the fastest rate in fifty years. the notion we need to be cutting anything, really, is i think a notion from three years ago. more importantly, i would say that even more importantly i would say that the spending cuts we have done over the last few years have been bad for the economy. broadly speaking. we can see it in specific term on the panel. when you cut head start teachers, those are jobs right away that are gone. but think about the ripple effect of that. not only the jobs not there. they are not spending money in the community which creates job in the community. it's even bigger. somebody -- a parent loses a
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head start spot for their children and we heard about it earlier. they can't work anymore because nay don't have child care. that is economic opportunity lost. haas hard to get it back. imagine that scaled up to hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars we have cut over the last few years, you can get a sense why the economy is running this slowly and growing this slowly. kind of mind boggling we're talking about more spending cuts right now. >> i have a question about the federal role in this venture you're alluding to. one of the interesting things i found when i was writing stories about early childhood education is that at the state level, there's not -- we have seen, you know, expansions of early childhood perhaps in some cases. but in red and blue states. i'm wondering if sharon you
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could talk about this. i could open it up to the panelists is about sort of the federal role. why it's important for the federal government have a role in this could be something we leave to the state to, you know, build on themselves? or with a is important to have the federal role to rev the engine. >> i'll start. the federal government historically had a significant roam in childhood education. dates back to the war on poverty which established the head start program and one the early investment recognizing it's a national priority that children and every state have an opportunity for solid education and the economic opportunity that comes with it. it's certainly the case that the federal government and the state government are partner in education. and that is true in the early education world. it's true in k through 12 education. it's true in other areas. by having a partnership, several
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things happen. first of all, the federal government is able to make sure that opportunities exist, even in states and communities that are more disadvantaged than others. we certainly see that in head start. the federal role can drive it higher. and i think the role that head start has played in advancing quality not just in head start programs, but in the field of early education at large is a really important piece of the history of development of early education in the country. without the federal presence, and those federal standard and the federal dollars, i think we would be at the much lower level of development in early education. i think going forward, there's no question that early education investment will have to be a partnership between the federal and state governments, but i don't think either will be able to do it on the own. and i think left doing it on the
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own we will see much bigger disparities between states and between communities where distanged communities can -- those children will have everyone less opportunity if we didn't have the federal investment that allows it to equalize to some disagree opportunity around the country. absolutely. that's 100% right. the other thing is that new york has an interest in making sure that mississippi has a highly stwraind work force. it and mississippi has an interest in making sure that california has the best workers in the world. because we are taunt how ben initial end up, you know, rippling throughout the coming for coming generation. it's a national issue. it's not as if the mississippi economy is separate from alabama or tennessee or any others.
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so that's absolutely where the federal role has to come in. we are all pieces of it. that's when the federal government that's the perfect role for the federal government. >> i'm wondering what you're hearing from lawmakers at the state when you going talk about preschool and expanding early childhood programs? >> one of the things you hear as you said there's a lot of interest and bipartisan interest in. it one of the things, i think the state level policy makers will acknowledge some of them have stagnated in their ability to invest. one of the purpose of the administration's plan i think like this start to jump start the investment. we know through the recession a lot of them actually were disinvested and the federal government one of the things question do is able to be more dynamic in our investment. we don't have the same very strict budget sthanders state can jump start. we is say it's a smart investment and it will pay off. the substantial funds for preschool. get it up and running and make
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sure they are high quality. as sharon said that's important. we have uneven. >> i think the notion that the federal government would come in as a partner i think is intriguing. again, where we get stuck on the question of financing and roles and what have you. there's ab acknowledge that resources to the state would be beneficial. >> is there a concern i heard it from some lawmakers that federal money necessarily interested in and how do you address that? is that something you have heard? >> that's something we struck l with, on the one hand no federal taxpayer would want the dollars we spend to be spent on something that isn't generating that high return. and the one return that was cited. that was for high quality preschool. there's a lower return and sometimes maybe not even a return on low quality preschool. it's important we spend the money wisely. we're not trying to mandate a one-size-fits all. i think it has certain
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standardlet face within the broad parameter. >> just jumping off the quality piece. i know, head start is going through a process right now where it is going to improve the quality of the program. yes, we are light now in a period where terrorist an unprecedented change in head start saying we're only going to be giving renewing funding for the programs that we demonstrate they are providing high quality services and running more and more competition to see in communities who is the best the provider and that has our first big round of new grants came around the same time and sequestration cuts and i think, you know, for programs that are really they absolutely have to
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be providing the highest quality services both because they want to do for the children because they are under new accountability standard than higher than before. it's an extremely difficult time figure out how you are going midway through a year absorb and operate at reducing funding levels. largest than ever seen reductions remotely close to the program at the same time they're being held to the highest standard of quality and as said it's important we have the standard equality. but more appropriate. people that are trying to run the program that is incredibly difficult time to be doing that. >> you gave us some information how it's been affecting you in mississippi. i wonder what you are hearing from lawmakers or policy makers there are people responding to the -- about what is going on in the state or listening or are they,
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you know, state lawmakers kind of weighing in on that. what is the discussion? >> well, what we're hearing is what the other panelists have shared. high quality early childhood education is a good idea. where it meets the road is how do we figure out how to pay for it. what we've been asking the federal government as well as state government do is while you're making the very, very difficult decisions about where dollars are going to be spent, don't balance budgets on the back of poor children and poor families. it is incredibly important that the federal government set a standard that all citizens of the united states and each state have, you know, a basic if they
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don't feel comfortable leaving their children in environments where they think they'll grow. now in mississippi, it's interesting during the last legislative session for the first time the legislator appropriatedded money for prek. we were cheering for that and we anticipate about -- parents are try to go back to school or sometimes working two jobs, and still not making a very high salary. we have to say we understand your situation. we understand your concern, we just don't have the
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opportunity. >> who funds these things? not as if you ask the federal government is an extremely high tax that is already, you know, at the limit of what it could be doing. it's not the case. the u.s. is a low-tax country, and we have already cut a lot of spending, and i just -- it's important understand these are choices that congress is making inspect is not inevitable. it's not that we don't have the money. we are choosing not to invest the money. which is a completely different thing than saying we don't have -- that's not the case. and if we thought about them a little bit smarter. and we said, well, when we invest in head start and invest in scientific research and invest in infrastructure whatever it is. these things will pay off in the future. we're going to be all better off down the line. it would be, you know, we don't live in a rational world.
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if we did, that is what we would be doing now. we wouldn't be talking about we can't afford it. we would say we can't afford not to. >> this is definitely the reporter-type question to ask. and i can open if to the whole panel. what are the chances that we will see some movement on this. it's been talked about definitely seen from the administration certainly see the secretary of education out there, and talking about the importance here. and are there something to promote the issues. i'm not sure what kind of leverage or action might be able to taken there. >> i can start and entrepreneur
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in there. a couple of things. one, the president has put forward a comprehensive plan to replace sequestration with the balance package to reduce spending and make other reduction in the deficit. that's acheeivel. that's what we're trying to go. if it were enacted or something like it. , we would not be facing head start cut like this in the future. that is the in increased investment in early education. within the cask established by the budget control act. this is not while-eyed new spending. it's careful trade off choices within that mix. because it's so important as said. that is achievable that pending senate bill. if we have the awareness we have
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been doing in the wrong direction and think about turning it. we could be a few months from now there are some things we are doing such as proposing some important reforms in the child care program that will increase the quality when a family get a federally funded child care voucher. at the end of the day you need to be able to hire a teacher and have a classroom. you need to support the children. there are dollars associated with that. we can't kid ourselves that truly replaces that. the head start competition is incredibly important. >> all of washington is sorpt of, you know, watching with baited breath to see --
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beated breath. there is a growing awarend this that sequestration cuts are ill conceived and illed advised. harming the country and the chip. this isn't just progressive that are saying it. the has weighed in about the economic draft on the economy outlook getting to medium and longer term -- of a share of the economy is imminently achievable at the same time -- these kinds of things that have high payoff and central to economic opportunity and promise the american dream.
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there's no pathway from here there to. i will say that i think there are people on both sides of the aisle that recognize the harm the cuts are doing. i think there is a pathway for replacing sequestration with a more balanced package and beginning down the road of investment. what we see in the senate labor hhs appropriations bill that does comply with caps set in the budget control act that actually has spending cuts relative to where we were in 2010. that even in that constrainted environment we can make good priority choices and invest in our kids. the more that people in the state, in communities are sharing their stories. thing is a possibility of getting to a better place over the coming months. it won't be easy, and won't
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happen america leadership in i think the more the conversation is engaged the more likely it is we get to a better outcome. >> i offer a slightly more pessimistic view. >> sure. >> i think that what martha and sharon said right. and but i think it's also important to note there's growing awareness among some part of policy makers that sequestration is bad. i think at the same time is a sense among others it wasn't as bad as we thought it was going to be. and that aren't hearing necessarily from the constituents on a daily basis. i'm worried members of congress will decide we lived through 2013, it wasn't -- yeah, it was bad but it wasn't as bad as we thought. which was very well good for them to say tell that to the 57,000 families who --
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live for it. we're here, sequestration is here. it's a reality. we're going live with it. it will take the path of the least resistance. doing the status quo is typically the path of the least resistance. we have to make sure that they understand sequestration is not status quo. that was a one-time it was a disaster. we should not have done it. we should not do it den. and i think it is very important over the next four weeks for families who have been impacted. >> it's important not only for people who are making decisions to have number and to have dpa that, if they need to have faith. and parents like shavonne can
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stand before you and see a real, live breathing person saying i'm doing everything i can to try to make the american dream real, every time a door is open, two others doors are closed. i say decision makers need to see the pain of sequestration in an actual family's fate. you know, when there's a 17-year-old, and get in to why a 17-year-old has a child. that's secondary. but the child is there. a 17-year-old was trying to finish high school and we know if you don't have at least a high school diploma, what a bleak outlook employment is. and you have to say we're sorry. there's not an early head start enrollment opportunity. michael taunted -- talked about this morning taking his 3-year-old on a bus to school. there are places in mississippi. there's not a car. even if it's there. how do you get there?
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these are real people, real families, real struggle, real pain, real poverty. >> we can take some questions from the audience. i don't know if there are some -- wait for the microphone and introduce, you yourself. >> i'm devon -- [inaudible] we have been working head start for the last few years and have a wonderful partnership. so thank you for all you have done with us. as a pho partner we're wondering what we can do as a local level, state level, and national level to help support you aside from writing checks with money we don't have either and raising
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awareness which we're happy to do. what can we do to help support you to ease impact of the cuts while we wait for something to change at the federal level? >> well, i think one thing that is important to do which goes along with raising awareness is dragging bodies to head start programs. because there are a lot of people who think they know about head start. and they actually don't. when they actually got head start program. they are awe struck at the things that are going on. the ready -- head start is not just a child development program. it's a family development program. your mayors, the governor, the local legislators to come in and actually see how the dollars are
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being spent and what a great investment in it is. the other thing is trying to help us leverage what resources we have left after those cuts. putting, you know, if there are mentor teachers who are can come out and help to improve the quality. there f there are opportunity for parents to have access to more resources to either improve their employment field or access to employment. just at home community partnership investing in families and working together to improve outcomes for families. -- very concrete from a reliable source. do you see similar data coming
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out about the effect of sequestration on other programs. i know, not every program works the same way and sometimes data is harder to get. but that would, you know, obviously be helpful. that does jeb rate at lough press which helps the grassroots. one of the unique thing about -- and the office of head start is something that was extremely helpful to program management as well as public awareness raising which is a few months that's somewhat unique. there aren't that many situations across government. that being said we know there's a lot going on. we know state by state what the percentage has been. talk about something that hit the family when the family is down. we know how many title i dollars have been pulled out of state. we feel is sort of consistent
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enough and scrubbed enough that people will take it as seriously as they should. we're happy to make it available. we predicted -- only 57,000 were cut. it was done mechanically. ..
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>> so, because i think it's important to think the compounding effects of cuts particularly in poor communities. so poor communities have a larger share of their public education dollars coming from the federal government because the federal government directs more federal education funding to poorer school districts. and that helps equalize and is a positive. but when education funding is cut, it can make an even bigger impact in those less-advantaged, more-disadvantaged school districts. so you have poor families in poor communities losing head start and then having education, and then having dollars come out of their public education k-12 system. and that's just two programs that i've talked about, right? some of those same communities are losing housing assistance so
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families are now less likely to get help paying rent, and childcare assistance dollars are also being sequestered. so you can see how for low income families in low income communities there's a compounding effect. but i do think it's important for everyone to recognize we're here talking about head start this morning, of course, the cuts are not just about low income programs and low income families. there's also the cuts in medical research that is really, you know, a major driver of our economy and in improving health over time. there's the ability for the weather service to predict the weather accurately. the list goes on and on. so i just -- but for those lower income communities and families, there is a compounding effect of the cuts. >> you know, i almost wonder, and this was something that i was wondering, um, when the sequester first went into place and we saw, for instance, the air traffic controllers and how congress sort of patched that
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hole, and i was wondering whether head start or other programs would be patched in that way and whether that would be sort of a good sort of short-term fix or whether it would be bad because, you know, there would be no incentives to kind of address things in a broader perspective. i don't know whether there's been conversation about doing something like kind of going into sort of support head start and let the rest of sequester go. i don't know whether that's something that any of you all heard at all. >> on faa, it's really important for people to understand congress did not approve one dime of additional resources to solve the faa problem. they allowed, they allowed the department of transportation -- >> yes. >> department of transportation, to shift cuts to a different part, and so they basically shifted some, you know, immediate effects, cuts that were going to have an immediate effect to cuts that were going to have a longer term effect on
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our infrastructure. but there were no additional dollars there. so ultimately, if we want to make sure we're investing in the building blocks of our economy, if we're investing in our kids n medical research that has led to breakthroughs, um, that we all take for granted today, um, and improved health every day for millions of people, it's not about shifting, it's not about shifting the deck chairs. it's not about pulling money here, you know, to put a little bit more here and deepening the cut over there. it's about recognizing that right now we are underfunding investment and that we are not a poor country that doesn't have the money to make the investments. what we have to have is the will to have the right budget priorities and be willing to support those investments. and so i think that, you know, over time whatever or funding level at the top line is there, we need to make the right priority choices within those funding levels. but ultimately at the moment, we simply are underfunding investment on the domestic side writ large. and that's where we've got to
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fix that and then have the right priority discussion, you know, at the second level. >> absolutely, absolutely. >> i 100% agree with everything sharon just said. we've talked about low income families, children, the faa a little bit. i think if you really want to step back and say who are we really affecting, it's the future. we're cutting the future. we're cutting investments in early childhood which affects our future. we're cutting health care research. even these smaller things, other places which are not maybe we wouldn't think of as investments, a lot of ways that they're dealing with sequester is they're deferring maintenance, or they're not making investments in their own infrastructure to make whatever their job is they're doing better in the future. so it's all shortsighted. it's incredibly shortsighted. and it's mind-boggling. [laughter] >> there any other questions?
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i see a gentleman in the back. >> um, sorry. my name is phil, and i'm a local educator. and you guys have spoken a lot about what a quality preschool education, um, how that's needed, why that's needed. but i'm curious, what are the aspects of a quality preschool education that you would like to see in every single preschool in the country or head start program? >> first of all, head start started making very significant changes as far back as the '80s in teacher goals and class size and staff/child ratios and using research-based curriculums and being able to track children's progress. so all of, all of those things are important. but i think what has made head
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start sort of stand above is the approach to the whole child. not just the academic and school readiness side which is very important, but the health and wellness side. because we all know if children respect well, they can't -- aren't well, they can't learn. if families are not healthy, they can't help stabilize their families and move them forward. so i think there has to be an inclusive program which looks at sort of school readiness and academic preparedness for school, but also those other things that shore up families, that help them to become productive citizens and move their families forward. >> add to that those same characteristics at head start are very much the building blocks we look to if we were the preschool for all initiative which would be for 4-year-olds. very much the same kinds of
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elements are important. one that i'd add is to be constantly learning, to be looking at what -- how -- what models are effective, where children learn and where are they not to make sure that we're investing smartly for the future. >> so i think that we are at the end of our time. i really appreciate the panel taking the time to have this great conversation, and thank you all so much for joining us. [applause] >> some news regarding syria in the last few hours, a spokesman for house speaker john boehner told reporters that president obama briefed him on syria and that the speaker requested further talks. the statement in part says: the president briefed the speaker this afternoon on the status of deliberations over syria. during the call the speaker sought answers to concerns outlined in his letter to the president yesterday including the legal justification for any military strike. the policy and precedent such a
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response would set and the objectives and strategy for any potential action. british prime minister david cameron also had some comments today about syria. some of his comments from earlier. >> the president of the united states, barack obama, is a man who approves the action in iraq. no one could in any way describe him as a president who wants to involve america in more wars in the middle east, but he profoundly believes that an important red line has been crossed in an appalling way, and that is why he supports action in this case. when i spoke to president obama last weekend, i said we shared his view about the despicable nature of this use of chemical weapons and that we must not stand aside. let me make this point, i also explained to him that because of the damage done to public confidence by iraq, we would have to follow a series of incremental steps, including at the united nations, to build public confidence and assure the maximum possible legitimacy for any action.
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these steps are all set out in the motion before the house today, and let me say, mr. speaker, i remember in 2003 i was sitting there two rows from the back on the opposition benches. it was just after my son had been born, and he was not well, but i was determined to be here. i wanted to listen to the man standing right here and believe everything that he told me. we're not here to debate those issues today, but one thing is indisputable, the well of public opinion was well and truly poisoned by the iraq episode, and we need to understand the public skepticism. i give way to the right honorable lady. >> prime minister cameron's statements, along with those of opposition leaders, will air tonight at 8 p.m. eastern time. and join us later for more live programming with an event looking at innovation and national security issues. the group young professionals in foreign policy and the disruptive thinkers d.c. are hosting the program. watch that live at 6:30 p.m.
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eastern also here on c-span2. and later today on c-span, it's the group heritage action. they've been holding health care town hall meetings across the country this month. today heritage foundation president jim demint and rafael cruz, the father of senator ted cruz, visit wilmington, delaware, to talk about their efforts to cut off funding for obamacare. you can see it live on c-span at 7 eastern. civil rights leaders who were a part of the early '60s civil rights movement discuss the march on washington when martin luther king jr. gave his "i have a dream" speech. representative john lewis, former u.n. ambassador andrew young and former naacp chairman julian bond take part along with gwen ifill of pbs "newshour". the moderator is marvin kalb with cbs news. ♪ ♪
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>> from the national press club in washington, d.c., this is the kalb report with marvin kalb. [applause] >> hello, and welcome to the national press club and to another edition of "the kalb report." i'm marvin kalb, and our program tonight is "remembering a march, a movement and a dream." meaning, the march on washington for jobs and freedom as it was officially called 50 years ago on august 28, 1963. the civil rights movement that once dominated our headlines and began to touch our national conscience. and the "i have a dream" speech by martin luther king, one of the most powerful, resonant speeches in american history. many feared the march would turn violent, but it was, in fact, amazingingly peaceful.
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here in black and white on television and in reality, 250,000 people bound together in a moral march for jobs, equality, justice, probably up to that time the largest demonstration on the washington mall ever. i was there to help cover this story, one in a small army of cbs reporters. i remember being aware as i looked out at that swelling crowd that this was more than a news story, it was also a special moment in our national history open for the world to behold. as we mentioned before, this is one of the open wounds of the democracy, and if it goes well, you'll look good throughout the world, but it's a risk that you run. and you're as open here on this march as we were when we talked openly and freely about the space shots. if any of those had gone bad, we would have looked bad, but if they go well, it's a tribute to
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democracy and stands out right here, roger. now back to you. now 50 years later i am gray -- [laughter] and the world, i hope, is wiser about inflammatory issues such as racial and economic injustice. for a discussion of the march, the movement and the dream, we are joined by three civil rights leaders, two journalists and one college president. to my far left only in geography, sir, john wilson, the 11th president of morehouse college, martin luther king's alma mat aer, the only private liberal arts college in the country dedicated to the education of african-american males. for four years wilson served president obama as executive director of the white house initiative on historically black colleges and universities. he's also held top positions at the massachusetts institute of technology and the george washington university. to my far right, again only
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geography, andrew young who was a close and trusted aide to martin luther king. young helped organize the march on washington. in addition, he was a former congressman, a former mayor of atlanta and a former ambassador to the united nations. he's currently a professor at the andrew young school of policy studies at georgia state university. again, to my left, gwen ifill, reporter who coanchors the pbs "newshour". she's also managing editor of pbs' washington week. she has covered seven presidential campaigns, she's moderated two vice presidential debates, and before that she worked for nbc, "the new york times" and the washington post, and in this business she is regarded as one of the best. to my right, julian bond, one of the leaders of the civil rights movement while a student at
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morehouse college. he helped found snic, the student nonviolent coordinating committee. in 988 he was elected chairman of the naacp, the national association for the advancement of colored people. he was also elected to the georgia house and senate. he's been a radio and television commentator, and consistent currently he's a professor at both american university and the university of virginia. to my immediate left, a man often described as the conscience of the u.s. congress, john lewis, the congressman from georgia since 1986. at age 23, one of the first to speak at the march on washington. in fact, he's the only surviving speaker. he took a leading role in organizing sit-in demonstrations, fighting jim crow laws, joining the freedom rides, getting arrested and severely bea time again trying always to this day
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to build what he calls a beloved community in america. and to my immediate right, dorothy gillian, former president of for national association of black journalists. after a number of reporting jobs with black pneumonias and magazines -- newspapers and magazines, she joined "the washington post" in 1961, the first black female journalist at the paper. she's been a fellow with the freedom forum at columbia, at the institute of politics at harvard, and she's been a fellow with the george washington university school of media and public affairs. let me start with the memories of those who were actually among the leaders at the march on washington. congressman lewis, ambassador young and julian bond. and, congressman lewis, after so much violence against you personally and against many others in the black community, how did you come to feel that nonviolence was the way to go? >> well, as a student in
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nashville during the late '50s and early '60s, we were taught the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence. every tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. a small group of students from tennessee state and the medical college, vanderbilt university, peabody, american baptist theological seminary would come together, and we would study the teaching of gandhi. we would study what he attempted to do in south africa, what he accomplished in india. we would study the role in civil disobedience. we studied the great religions of the world. we had a wonderful teacher, a man by the name of jim lawson. and he infused us with the wave of nonviolence. many of us during those early days accepted nonviolence as a way of life. as a way of living. not simply as a technique or as a tactic x. that became the way of the nashville movement.
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>> thank you, sir. ambassador young, i think all of us who were at the march realized that we were experiencing something very special. i wonder what it was about the martha left you -- martha left you moved -- martha left you moved? >> first place, coming out of birmingham we didn't think much of the march. we thought the movement was in the streets, and we'd had 5,000 students take over the city, we collapsed the economy, we got an agreement from a hundred businessmen to change the segregation laws of birmingham, and we figured the fight was over for us. this was, this was a sunday school picnic. the students in birmingham who got out of jail wanted to do a march on washington like gandhi sought march to the sea. and they wanted to get out on highway 11 and just start
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marching, taking it town by town. and it was a. phillip randolph that appealed to dr. king and sent bayard rustin down to try to talk a little sense into us. we were what you used to call back then freedom high. [laughter] and bay yard made sense, but there was nobody in birmingham that was particularly enenthusiastic about the march on washington. james bevel, who i think was probably the main ideologies behind the march, wouldn't even come. i was not coming until dr. king called and said get on a plane and get up here, you'll be sorry. so it was a kind of a militant arrogance that infected us. >> and the march itself -- >> the march itself, i was worried that it would, i wasword that it wouldn't do anything. there'd been a lot of -- john can tell you, there was not a
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lot of harmony. snicc wasn't that anxious about the march. you know, the naacp and the urban league didn't want the march for different reasons. and so it didn't can look like it was going to be fun til the people started. and when the people, i mean, i was with out there on the lawn at 7:00 in the morning when the buses started coming in. and when they started coming in singing freedom songs from just about every direction, i mean, it just -- you couldn't hold back the tears. you realized that this was something special. and what i think it did was, it took a southern black movement and with the kind of telestar imaging and television, it made it a global phenomena.
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>> julian bond, you were all -- and you were talking about snicc a moment ago -- so impatient for justice. and yet your leaders, any number of them, seemed to be preaching patience, appealing to white america to catch up, to get the message. and i was wondering if you yourself felt at some point that it wasn't going to happen, that you were frustrated? >> no, i've always been an optimistic person. i've always believed the best thing can happen and usually, so far anyway, it has happened. you know, there are up ands there are downs and so on, but i've always believed the best thing could happen. andy is right, the people in my organization, john's organization, he was the chairman, were suspicious of the march on washington. we thought it was a diversion from what we'd been doing. we were organizers, we went into the rural south and helped people have the courage to rebellinger the to vote, and we thought -- register to vote, and we thought the march would take us away from this kind of activity. but we did it. and i had the same feeling that
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andy did. i got to the mall early in the morning and didn't see anybody there. but people came, and they came, and they came, and the numbers grew and grew, and it became something greater than anything i had anticipated it would be. >> dorothy gillian, in an oral history that you gave you painted a very stark picture of civil rights america, segregated america. you spoke of old, nasty, bigoted, racist whites, their look of hatred towards you and other blacks. the culture, you said, was to kill a black person if they made a misstep. and i'm wondering picking up this theme we've already herald, did you feel the march would accomplish very much? >> i felt the march really was an important show of the determination of black america for something better, something -- a new way, a new --
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a change that had to come. and i think one of the reasons that people were so, it was such a, i thought, quiet, focused crowd, you know? it wasn't, it wasn't a lot of noise and chatter, you know? people were, people were -- >> focused on the speakers. >> on the speeches, on the purpose. if so i really felt that this march -- especially in the chain of events of 1963 even as it happened -- was crucial and was going to lead to something important. >> good. gwen ifill, if i'm not mistaken, you were a little girl living up north in relative security -- >> buffalo, new york. >> buffalo, new york. what were your memories of the march on washington? what did you pick up an at the dinner table? >> like dorothy, my father was a minister, and probably like your father and all black min issters, they claimed to march
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with king. [laughter] so he got on a bus, and he came down with the preachers, and they march inside the march and left my mom home with the kids to take care of us at home. but we are the kind of family that sat in front of the television all the time and were made to watch history as it unfolded, it's probably why i'm a journalist today. we were not allowed to go out and play if there was news happening. and in this case, we saw us. we saw our expression. we were probably too young to fully understand what that meant, but we knew that it was important, and we knew somewhere out there our dad was there, so there had to be something to this. and to me, the interesting thick about the march -- thing about the march was it was 20 years in the making and that 50 years later we're still assessing whether the demands that were made were met. because there were demands. it wasn't just a picnic, it wasn't just a rally, it wasn't just a series of speeches. there were a set of goals. and something that, things that
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are measurable. i talked to taylor branch today about the march for -- and, of course, he's the historian that wrote the trilogy about the civil rights movement. he talked about how america has moved in 50-year blinks when it comes to talking about race and segregation and civil rights from james madison to abraham lincoln and the gettysburg address to woodrow wilson who rolled back progress by segregating the federal work force and then to the march. and when you start looking at the the way we have evolved over time, it's not just the march. it's that in 1963 and 1964, in part because the march changed the way people looked at the movement, lyndon johnson was able to pass a civil rights bill within a year and a voting rights bill the following year. and this is something -- and john kennedy's heart was changed because, as john lewis mentioned to me, he wasn't at all, he wasn't feeling this at all until
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the big six went into his office and told him, you have to feel this, we're going to do it anyway. so when you watch how quickly things evolved and how slowly things change now, it's remarkable to look back at that time and see how much happened in such a short -- and changing hearts and minds as well as law. >> so what you're saying, i think, is that the march had a profound effect on the legislation that followed within a year or two, right? >> it did. and it had a tremendous effect on people who didn't realize the scope of the problem or the issue because it didn't affect them. now they could look at the -- as joan baez called it, the salt and pepper faces in the crowd and connect. >> okay. but dorothy had a rather bleak vision of america because of her experiences. i'm wondering what was yours? >> our vision of america was we had to be better than everybody else, we -- >> black had to be better? >> oh, yeah. my parents were immigrants to this country, so we were people who chose to be americans, so
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great patriots. the idea of coming to this country and making a decision to transplant your family to make your life better was great. but we were also taught that it didn't come to you just like that. that you had to work for it. that you couldn't sit back and expect it and that you had to excel in order to get maybe the same thing. and i leshed many year -- learned many years later that sometimes it helps to be underestimated. you can take advantage of that too. [laughter] >> dr. wilson, at morehouse college these days when your students think about the march on washington, are they thinking just about the king speech or about the message of that day? >> oh, i think they think about both, but i need to tell my story too. i'm a preacher's kid. >> oh, my -- [laughter] >> everybody here -- >> i'm a preacher's kid. [laughter] i was 5 or 6 at the time of the march, and my father -- as a minister -- was there. and more than that, my grandmother was there.
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and my grandmother had ridden the shoulders of her mother to go hear marcus garvey, and then she showed up at the march on washington. very powerful. so i heard a lot about it, heard those, heard those stories. and those stories are still alive and well on the campus of morehouse college. there is an investment in the peace and justice tradition at morehouse, and i stand on the shoulders of the giant, benjamin elijah mays, who had so much to do behind the scenes with everything that we're talking about today and celebrating this year. >> it's probably an impossible question, forgive me, but do you see another martin luther king among your students? >> well, i sure hope so. we are certainly trying to shape the morehouse undergraduate experience to produce the martin luther king of cameron -- chemistry, of biology and a number of other fields and still another martin luther king of
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peace and justice and nonviolence. >> forgive me, i'm sorry. >> yeah, yeah. the -- i thought, sort of decided we had the first white president of south africa. after mandela at more house last year. i mean, there was a kid who'd been there four years from south africa who was white who totally immersed himself into everything about morehouse and martin luther king. and it was obvious that he was preparing himself to go back to africa. we also have ten students from zimbabwe was sent by a zimbabwe businessman, paid all their way. a black zimbabwe businessman. he sent also ten women to spelman because he said he wants the next generation of leaders in his companies in africa to have an african-american experience. >> congressman lewis, on the day of the march -- >> yes.
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>> -- you had to edit your speech to sort of tone down some of its more passionate demands in order, i gather, to satisfy some of your more cautious colleagues. as you look back upon that now, do you think you made a ?eak should you have kept to your original demands? >> no. the speech -- and julian bond can tell you much more about in this because he was our communication person, and he had made advanced copies of my speech available. but it was a strong speech. president kennedy had proposed a civil rights bill. in my original text, i said the bill proposed by the president is too little, and it's too late. and then much further in the bill -- i was reading a copy of a newspaper, and i saw a group of black women in southern africa carrying signs saying one
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man, one vote. so in my march on washington speech, i said something like one man, one vote is the african cry, it is ours too, it must be ours. the kennedy administration took the position that if a person had a sixth grade education, he should be considered illiterate and shouldn't be able to register to vote. those of us in the student nonviolent coordinating committee took the position that the only qualification for being able to register to vote in our country, especially in the american south, should that be of age and residence. and so many people in sncc started wearing those buttons, one man, one vote. and much further down in the speech i said you tell us to wait, you tell us to be patient. we cannot wait, we cannot be patient. we want our freedom, and we want it now. we had prepared a speech that represented the feeling and the attitudes of the people that we were working with, but also the
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young people that made up the student nonviolent coordinating committee. and at one point i said listen, mr. president, listen, members of congress, you're trying to take revolution out of the streets and put it in the courts. and i went on and on and on in the speech -- [laughter] and said we're now involved in a serious revolution -- and just picking up on something a. phillip randolph had said. and they wanted me to drop the reference to revolution. and mr. randolph said there's nothing wrong with the word revolution, i use it myself sometimes. [laughter] and then i said the party of kennedy is the party of eastland. eastland was the chair of the senate judiciary committee from mississippi, a real segregationist, and i said the party of javits is the party of goldwater, where is our party? and then i questioned, i said i
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want to know which side is the federal government on? and near the end of the speech what people really didn't like -- [laughter] the archbishop of the diocese of washington was supposed to give the invocations, and he threatened not to give the invocations if i didn't change it. it said something like if we do not see meaningful progress here today, the day may come where we will not confine our marching on washington, but we may be force today march through the south the way sherman did, nonviolently. [laughter] that's inflammatory. so a. phillip randolph, roy and walter and some other people came to me -- [laughter] and so mr. randolph, principled man, wonderful man. and he said, john, can we change this? [laughter] and dr. king came to me and said, john, that doesn't sound like you. so i couldn't say no to a. phillip randolph and no to
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dr. martin luther king jr. these two individuals i admired, and i loved them. so we changed that. and near the end of the speech rather than make any reference to sherman or marching through the south -- [laughter] i say if we do not see any meaningful progress here today, we will march through danville, virginia, through jackson, mississippi and several other places really. [laughter] but, julian, do you remember -- >> i remember all that. and i'll tell you -- [laughter] one of my, the civil rights organizations that supported the march were asked to donate staff to the march to staff the march. and i was donated to the march on washington committee. and one of my tasks was distributing john's speech, the original speech, to members of the press who were seated down below lincoln still above, on the steps. and i had passed out these copies of john's speech. and i pointed out to them that john would be the only speaker speaking that day who talked
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about black people instead of negroes or colored people as was the fashion. i thought and we thought that this demonstrated how militant we were and how different we were and better and superior we were from the other civil rights organizations. [laughter] i have to say none of the reporters paid any attention. [laughter] >> what did you mean by militant? >> well, i meant just aggressive. i didn't mean anything harmful or violent. i've always been upset by people who say, well, they're so militant, because they equate it with violence. it's not necessarily equate bl with violence. it just means somebody who's aggressively in pursuit of his ideas, and that's whom i thought we were. we thought we were more militant than all the other groups gathered there. >> what was the magic of dr. king, congressman? >> well, martin luther king jr. more than any other leader of our time had the capacity and the ability to inspire but also to get people to share the
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vision. and the day he spoke he delivered a speech, halfway through he started preaching. he delivered a sermon also. it was two in one, andy, would you say i that? two for one? >> uh-huh. >> but anyway, he said i have a dream today, a dream deeply rooted in the american dream. he knew he was preaching. he turned those marble steps of the lincoln memorial into a modern day pulpit. but the real speech, and i downloaded it here to show off -- [laughter] [applause] but in a sense we come we have e to our nation's capital to cash a check. when the architects signed a promissory note to which every
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american was to fall heir. this note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. it's obvious today that america has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as its citizens of color are concerned. instead of honoring this sacred obligation, america has given the negro a bad check. a check that has come back marked insufficient funds. now, that was totally ignored by the press, but that was the message of jobs and freedom. >> right. >> and that's still the message. >> marvin, if -- >> just one second, gwen, i just want to take a minute now to remind our radio and television audiences that this is "the kalb report," i'm marvin kalb, and we're remembering the march, the movement and the dream with congressman john lewis, andrew
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young, julian bond, dorothy gillian, gwen ifill and john wilson. gwen, you wanted to say something. >> i like it when you take care of business, that's important. [laughter] i was going to pick up on what andy young just said because what i'm always curious about, and let me put on my reporter hat for a minute, over the years when most people think about the march on washington, they only think about the dream speech. they don't think about anything else that king said in that speech, and you're right, he said a lot harsher things than anybody talks about. they don't even know who bayard rustin is, all the other things that happened that day including the absence of women on the stage on purpose. and i find it, i wonder whether you -- and there was an interesting story in "the washington post" this weekend about how "the washington post" even missed the dream part of the speech. they just completely missed it. they were so much looking for violence, yeah, that they didn't see it. so i'm wondering how they saw it having been there, but then you notice how much white press missed the story.
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>> what i want to do is to address that issue of media coverage, of the march on washington, and i remember at the time the three major networks were there, cbs covered it, we were all very proud at the time without commercial interruption. the telestar satellite broadcast the march to europe, "the washington post" assigned more than 60 reporters to cover that story, so it was really big news. okay. congressman, you once said that the civil rights movement without the media would be hike a bird without wings. what did you mean by that? >> well, i really meant that. >> well, i know you did. [laughter] but tell us what you -- >> without the media, without -- especially in the american south, without reporters with that pencil and pen, without the photographer, without the
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cameras to bring the message into living rooms so people could see it, so people can feel it -- >> how did you get that into your head that that's the way to get the message out? >> we knew. andy young and julian bond would tell you that even sometimes we had protest thes -- protests, when we had a demonstration, we knew we had to do it at the same time to make the evening news, to be on the 6:00, 6:30 or 7:00, 10 or 11. the sit-in was so disciplined. you had these well-dressed college students sitting there orderly, orderly, sitting there reading a book, writing a paper, looking straight ahead. they were well dressed and then
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they had the other element that would come up and beat us, pour hot water on us -- >> hot water? >> the other element, the racist element. and people saw that kind of -- [inaudible] or you had a bull connor in birmingham using dogs and fire hoses on young children. people couldn't take it, the american people couldn't take it, and they were saying to members of the congress, saying to the president of the united states you have to do something. you must do something. and that's why president kennedy called it meeting -- called that meeting in june of 1963, and a. phillip randolph spoke up in the meeting and said, mr. president, the black marchers are restless. and president kennedy started moving around in his chair. he didn't like that idea. he said, mr. randolph, if you bring all these people to washington, won't there be violence and chaos and disorder? and we'll never get a civil rights bill through the congress. whether randolph responded and
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said, mr. president, there's been orderly, peaceful, nonviolent protests. we came out, spoke to the media and said we had a meaningful and productive meeting with the president. we told him we were going to march on washington. and a few days later on july 2nd, 1963, the six of us met in new york city at the roosevelt hotel. and in that meeting we invited four major white religious and labor leaders to join us in issuing the call for the march on washington. without the media, the movement wouldn't have succeeded. we needed the press. and we came of age with many of the young reporters. >> julian bond -- >> the hardest thing for us was -- >> i'm sorry? >> i had actually worked for the national council of churches and had a program on cbs in 1957 called "look up and live." and they gave me 60 seconds' introduction and 90 seconds'
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conclusion. and the one thing that's hard for a preacher to learn -- [laughter] is to express something in 60 seconds. [laughter] and so i was not the press secretary, but because i had worked with "look up and live," i was always on the preachers, look, if you're going to make it on the news, you've got to make it short, see? and the longer the speech -- in fact, i even told farrakhan that when he went to the march. i said, look, if it's a ten minute speech, you'll get news coverage. if it's an hour speech, nobody will touch it. and it's a hard lesson to learn. >> julian bond, i remember the telephone number of the associated press in d.c., in the atlanta -- [laughter] >> 404-521-89 -- oh, identify forgotten -- i've forgotten it again. [laughter] anyway, ask me when this is over, and i'll tell you. >> the thing i'm interested in is that martin luther king seemed to have a special
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appreciation of the pervasive power of the media. and i'm wondering how he got it. >> i really don't know, but i know what his genius was. he was able to talk to white and black southerners in the common language of evangelical christianity. and know that both of his audiences would understand what he was saying, understand the references he was making, the things he was talking about. and he had this ability which many people do not have to talk to these disparate groups of people and make them understand. and the beauty of the march on washington and his speech was that he's speaking to this large number of white people who had never seen a black person speak in an entire speech, never seen that before, and all of a sudden here is this articulate man who is explaining why we're marching, why we're protesting. this is why we're doing it, because we don't like these things that are going on. and these things are this, this and the other thing. and he made it so clear and plain that you could not help by
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say, gee, you know, he's making a real argument here, and i think he ought to be listened to. >> he was making much more use of the old testament than the new testament though. and the old testament prophets when he really got to preaching, he was talking isaiah and jeremiah. so the jewish rabbis and the jewish congregations and the whole, the whole narrative of freedom was we had been in the, locked in the slavery of egypt, and we'd wandered around in the wilderness of segregation for 40 years, and we were about to enter this promised land of creative integration. i mean, that was, that was not kris canty. that was judaism -- christianity, that was judeo -- judaism. and the jewish community was bombed in the south just like we were. and as they were in south africa. so that it was, it was an
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ecumenical movement in the best sense of the world. and the presence of abram herb el on the front line in selma with the greek orthodox archbishop and ralph bunch, you know, and walter rutha, i mean, this made it a freedom, a human rights strug and not just a black struggle. >> dorothy, you worked for the black press while covering a number of the hottest stories in the south. how in your experience was that different from working, for example, at "the washington post"? what was the difference before a reporter? >> well, one of the major differences was the difference in resources that we had at the washington post. most of the smaller papers, certainly, had limited resources. but what they had, for example, i worked for a short time for the tristate defender in memphis, and that allowed me to go over and be a part of the
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coverage of the little rock nine. and the editor of that paper was beaten while he was trying to cover that story was they mistook him for a parent. and so even though he said you're a rookie, stay in the office, obviously, when he got beaten, i went to little rock. but that, we were the staff, you know? and that, that's one of major differences. but i think the important thing about the black press is that they told the story before the daily press got there. and then once i arrived at the washington post, very impressed by the resources. but one of the major things that was missing was enough diversity to really help tell the story of communities and to tell those stories well. >> one of the questions i've got
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for you and, forgive me if a mean question, but you're talking about the resources of "the washington post." "the washington post" had more than 60 reporters covering the march on washington. and yet the following day on august 29, 1963, in "the washington post" there was no mention of martin luther king, nor of his sweep. and i'm wondering, you were there, i know that you were not covering that. you were there as a spectator. but what's your understanding? what was that all about? [laughter] >> well, my understanding trying to piece it together afterwards, first of all, the focus within the media was on the violence. when i talked to some of the reporters, they had -- the editors were giving battle plans of what to do in case of violence, how to look for bad guys. if any reporters got hurt, you know, where -- how do we get together to get the reporters
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out? their whole focus was on -- >> but there was no violence. >> and there was no violence. >> but he did speak, and it was a rather great speech, so where was the post? >> i'm coming to that. [laughter] and this has to be separate because i wasn't there, but i believe, you see, if there had been, you know, more racial diversity, if there had been a black editor among the people making the decisions -- and i'm not, i don't want to knock my old paper, because i love the post and the people who run there -- but, you know, the fact is there were three black people on the whole staff. none of them decision makers, you know? i was on maternity leave, the other two men, i'm sure, were part of the coverage. but when newspapers make decisions and people sit around a table and talk about what the news is, you know, what goes on page 1, what goes inside. and i think if there had been more diversity around that table where somebody could have spoken
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the importance of that speech, that would not -- >> that remains true today too. i mean, that is the problem here. >> absolutely. >> when you can talk about how terrible it was in 1963 but, in fact, newsrooms are not that much more diverse now, especially when it comes to decision makers, people who have sensitivity to see the story is as it unfolds in front of them. and that is also a loss all this time. >> well, i made -- >> there was a decision made then as there are decisions made now about what is fit to print. and somebody made a decision in '63 about what was, whether that was fit to print. and they said it wasn't worthy of the attention, and the post recently apologized for that. >> but, i'm just saying that part of the reason decisions are made is because you need more people around the table. and the reason that's relevant, to pick up on your earlier point about the 50 year ands about
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some of the things that dr. king was really demanding such as end to poverty, etc., at in this mot as our country gets browner, the media gets whiter. i mean, we are actually losing diversity within media. right now there are only about 12% of people of color. that includes african-americans. >> julian? >> let me read something about the preparations the city of washington, the kennedy administration made for the march, and you'll see these racist notions of what black people will do if they gather together are part of the mechanics -- >> just not terribly long? >> no, not terribly long. trust me. [laughter] all elective surgery in the area's hospitals was canceled freeing 350 beds for riot-related emergencies. 1900 of washington's 2900 police officers worked 18-hour overtime
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shifts instead of their normal eight hours. in the event of a riot, a policeman or national guardsman would be stationed on every street corner in downtown washington's business district to guard against looters. they deployed 200 squad cars, 86 motorcycles, several helicopters, 23 cranes to move broken down or disabled buses. local judges were placed on round-the-clock standby. 350 everyone mates were evacuated from the jails to provide space for protesters. national guardsmen were given temporary arrest powers. government offices were shut down, liquor sales were banned for the first time since prohibition, and there's more. [laughter] >> and baseball games were canceled. >> two baseball games canceled. two baseball games. [laughter] i mean, this is a notion of black people as troublemakers. you can't have a hundred black people gather together, and they're talking about bringing thousands. what a terrible thing that would be. >> andrew young. i want to -- hang on.
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i want to ask you this question. [laughter] in 2004 on the 40th anniversary of the civil rights act of 1964 in lexington, kentucky, the newspaper, "the herald leader," front page had the following, and i will quote: it has come to the editor's attention that "the herald leader" neglected to cover the civil rights movement. we regret to mission. [laughter] closed quote. using that as a takeoff point, what was your judgment? you touched on it earlier, of the white coverage of the civil rights movement? because i remember that there was a very distinct difference between local television coverage and network coverage that if you were in the south and you were watching the local news first and then the network news, you would see two
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different can kinds of coverage -- different kinds of coverage. the local news was extremely sympathetic to the white end of the argument, and the networks began to pick up the message of the civil rights movement. but it was two things. and i'm wondering from your with experience, did you come upon this? >> all the time. >> off? >> all the time. one of the reasons why we didn't mind the fact that we were bugged was we wanted people to know actually what we were doing and saying. because they were -- a lot of the press including "the new york times" and washington post, a lot of them were getting their tips from the fbi and the gbi. once we got a little past '63 and '64 and st. augustine when the mob turned on the press and in mississippi when people like paul good got fired by abc because he would not cover
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the -- he was, abc was still running the story, forgive me, that these three civil rights workers were hiding to get attention. and paul knew that they had been killed. and he lost his job for that. and so i had to pull nelson benten who you remember out of a mob in st. augustine. >> to save him. >> to keep him from being beaten up. a danish reporter got hit in the camera eye by a baseball bat, and it knocked his eye socket out. i mean, it was ruthless and brutal against the press. now, that was not the northern press. i mean, that was the national press. but the written press never quite believed what they saw. and when we had -- wyatt walker used to have press conferences at 9:00 in the morning to tell
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them what we were going to do. and then the demonstrations would start about 10:30, and then at 1:00 we'd them 'em what we did and why we did it, and we'd answer questions. and the news would be gone. but they'd still make up, they still had angles. they could not believe that martin luther king was as honest and decent and as much of a selfless man as he actually was. >> thank you on that. >> just one -- >> please, please. >> in 1961, on may 20th, 1961, when we arrived in montgomery -- this was during the freedom ride at the greyhound bus station -- the police department withdrew, and there was some place else, just didn't show up. and an angry mob met the bus. and the first people to get near the bus were members of the press. and these reporters were just beaten, just bloody.
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the cameras destroyed. and i can remember the name of some of the individuals that i got to know very well. and then after they beat the members of the press, they turned on us. but then julian and andy, you come to selma in 1965. i don't want to call the name of a major newspaper, but they even apologized, and they all feel sorry, the people that are still around. they doesn't cover the march from selma to montgomery. and this major newspaper is located right in the heart of the south. the publisher and the editor said it was the worst mistake they ever made as an editor and as a publisher. they didn't can cover the march of 1965. but it took "the new york times" and "newsweek" and cbs. at cbs you had a wonderful photographer, lawrence -- >> lawrence -- >> yes.
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lawrence peers -- >> fearless. >> no, he can't see. he can't see what's behind him. >> and he was shooting a great deal for walter cronkite. >> that's shooting film. >> shooting film. [laughter] shoot l film. and lawrence said on one occasion, he said if one of those s.o.b.s even touch my camera, i'm going to -- [laughter] he meant it too. >> but he was a southerner. >> he was a southerner. he was from montgomery. he'd been with martin from the beginning almost. >> gwen, give us your judgment, please, on how well did the american media do in the coverage of the civil rights movement? >> there's a great book called "the race beat" in which they tell a lot of these stories, and they tell them well, and they anytime some of the thing -- admit some of the big things they missed. and there's another book by jack nelson who worked for the los angeles times for many years, and he basically very honestly
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talks about how he didn't see it. he didn't see the story. and how he turned and how he began to realize at first as a reporter, hey, this is a great story here, and then as a person watching it unfold in front of him. there were a lot of mistakes made, but i really think that a lot of it wasn't willful blindness as much as it was lack of exposure amongst southerners and northerners. in southerners it was protecting what they had, among northerners it was, really? this is happening? is this important? and trying to get a sense of it. ..