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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 4, 2013 10:00am-2:01pm EDT

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>> poll to poll to poll there's enormous stability in the data. and you can correctly, and you should, push them and critique whether they're doing it right, but the data's stable. there are other very well known national polls that have been incredibly all over the map, and those, to me, are worrisome. if you're getting that much variation in a world where the world's this locked down, it means you are doing something poll to poll to poll that is not replicating data, and that is an enormous caution sign.
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and so that, to me, is a very simple standard to say if you're covering politics, you've got to know enough to know that poll, poll to poll to poll shift or change and then look at that poll and look poll to poll about what the change has been. and that, to me, is the guideline i use to, that polls i actually carefully pay attention to and the polls i think are, i think are -- i don't look at or trust. >> amy, could i just make one point here? because most of this discussion has been about pre-election horse race polling which i tend to think is the least socially valuable stuff we do. it may be important to bill's business, it's important to the cook political report, media organizations love it, people read it x it's a nice market test for the pollsters. but in terms of social value, it's not that much better than miley cyrus' twerking.
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i think what we do that is incredibly -- because at the end of the day, somebody's going to win the race. you don't need the polls, and, in fact, we'd probably be better off if people went to vote about a lit -- with a little less clear idea on the what was going to win. what's more important are the polls, you know, when we're able to show people that even after newtown there are almost as many people in the country who are more worried about losing their right to own guns as there are people worried about gun crime which is something that if you live in washington or new york or palo alto you probably wouldn't naturally realize. or when we're able to show how, show the supreme court how -- and i don't mean to suggest the supreme court is a poll-driven organization -- how rapidly public opinion has changed on the issue of gay marriage over the course of the last decade. i'm sure no one on the supreme court would ever admit to being influenced by a poll, but come on. i mean, they make their decisions in a social context. how do you know the social
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context if you don't have good data showing you what people are thinking. so i think there's a bigger issue at stake here, and i just didn't want the panel to end without making that point. >> and, actually, there was manager i wanted to say and -- something i wanted to say, and it sort of dovetails it. i'll save my defense of social utility of horse race polling for another day, but i will say this, it is by far the curiosity about who's going to win particularly among people who get politicized near the end of a presidential race and care very much about the outcome is by a factor of 10 or 20 to 1 more likely to draw people to our work. and i'm not exaggerating. in terms of the web traffic and what we see on our surveys. and our -- and so a word about aggregating both in general and to answer, in part as an answer to claudia's question, what's its role. when -- the reason that we take
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virtually every poll and, you know, use the innovation that charles franklin who's here today helped us create, which is not hugely different than the notion of taking a bunch of polls and averaging them or taking it a step further and doing a model, is to provide some context. it's not to replace polling which is clearly ludicrous. there'd be nothing to aggregate if not better data underneath. but to basically start with the premise that if we're going to write stories about the horse race, that we ought to try to get it as right as we can. and that, yeah, polls have a way of bouncing all over the place. it's not a new thing. go back and look at the polls from the '80s when response rates were better and they bounced all over the place then. but when you draw a smooth line through that variation, you offer to a journalist or a political junkie manager to anchor themselves to. if there's one new poll that seems way above or way below trend, then you have a pretty good idea maybe it's misleading,
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and you have something else to compare it to. not necessarily a truth, more of an industry average, but that's helpful. and i think that's the primary benefit of aggregating polls the way we do. >> i will be brief, and i want to echo what alan said and praise pew for the work they do and the social utility of the data and the transparency. because i can call up the folks at pew, and if i have a question, i ask them, and i get an answer. i think people need to use organizations like that. one of the great misconceptions and misconstructions politically is relying on an old definition of white working class voters a as white noncollege voters. and it was driving me crazy. and ron brownstein, who is a journalist and probably knows more about polling than any other journalist, i called ron, i said, ron, i don't think this is a good definition anymore. he said, well, get me a better one. i called up pew, and i said can you run a cross-tab for me on
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what percent of white voters are white non-evangelicals. that's twice as high as her in the electorate overall. so is that group being driven by their economics and being working class, or are they being driven by their religious values? i think there's a lot of data that says they're being driven by religious values, and there should be another definition. and a point there very quickly for those of you who cover them, alan's right, the social utility is where the value lies, and you should be using those as resources. tail -- and i'm not a geek, ken, but i do keep the cross-tabs in my office all the time so i can refer to them. there is a wealth of data there about the american people and the american voter, and people should use studies like that more. >> well, my other point about humility and the american public is i'll do -- how do you know that? i'll say, well, every once in a while between polling and
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punditry, actual elections break out. and they have a certain clarifying effect. [laughter] and that's, i think, the other thing that i tell folks that i really believe which is there is, there is a sort of wisdom in the electorate that if you do this long enough, you have to learn to trust. that this is a country that tends to get it right over time, and our job really is to try to figure out what they're trying to, what signals they are trying to tell us. because in some aggregate way, there normally, there is something pretty powerful that the public's trying to communicate. and, by the way, it does overall kind of at the end influence what happens in terms of what we do. and we're probably watching a great case history where the caution about syria and the caution that they're hearing from these multiple surveys is having an enormous bearing on, i think, the president's decisions and what's happening in the congressional debate. and, you know, so i do, you
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know, so i just kind of want to just say that there is, as you said, importance in utility what everyone in this room does, this really is a unique group. but there has to be humility with both trying to get it right which is becoming very, very difficult, and all these discussions are meaningful, but also recognizing that the thing we're trying to get right is that the body politic has a certain kind of judgment and wisdom that we need to listen to and understand. >> i was going to make three quick points, but now i'll make four. i'm sorry, you are a geek, but that's a loving thing to say. [laughter] yes, the social utility of polls is not a horse race. let's all be honest, as alan says, that drives traffic. that is why the media does polls and maybe the social utility by-product is we get this other, more useful stuff. no one stays they stop and stare at -- says they stop and stare
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at the car crash. no one when there was a fight behind your junior high school went and ran to that fight. got to get the horse race better because it's always going to be the most visible part of polling and, quite frankly, it can subsidize what we all agree is the more interesting stuff. two other things. i think there is a big philosophical divide on methodology which was said here. joel kept using the term modeling the electorate, and there really is a difference between many pollsters, and it's a little bit democratic and republican, but it crosses a bit between those who, you know, look at microtargetting, integrate microtargetting, integrate voter lists with their surveys and use that model of the election as their target weights along with census and historical data to figure out what's going on. you know, if you know x is going to be 20%, we can be pretty confident if we talk to those 20%, we're going to get the margin right, it's just a
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question of how big, how big a number, a number they are. and then again, i said it, i've said it and i think others have said it, but just to really, really, really be careful for journalists reporting the volatility of polls. and i think they're actually, i mean, it is very complicated, as claudia said. but mark gave a very simple answer. if the entire average of pollster.com or any of these other aggregators is x and you're way off, everything we know suggests that that one poll is off, that the average is not off. >> all right. well, thank you to this entire panel. i think, i'm very happy, also, we ended on a very optimistic note. we started off a little bit dour about how terrible the industry was, how everything's wrong, but we get right to the bigger point. and i think that we ended this quite well. and to remember, too, for the journalists who are in the room, i think the context becomes very important too. i know it's not quite as sexy, but giving people, i think what
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they are frustrated about, they see a top line number they don't understand not only how did they get that number, but why people are saying that. and we can use the data within that poll to get a sense for people's attitudes. thank you, of course, to kantar for doing this. we hope to see more research about this very important subject. thanks to you all for being here. on to a wonderful day. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> this discussion at the newseum this morning on how the
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public views the polling industry is wrapping up. if you missed any of this event, a reminder you can watch it anytime at our web site, c-span.org. coming up live this morning here on c-span2, the commander of the u.s. forces in afghanistan will brief reporters from afghanistan on the ongoing handover of security responsibilities to afghan forces. that's scheduled to get under way in about 20 minutes, 10:30 eastern here on c-span2. and coming up at 11:30, we'll take you live to capitol hill where the senate foreign relations committee is marking up its draft authorization for use of military force against syria. the draft resolution put together following yesterday's hearing would prohibit any american boots on the ground, limit military action to 60 days and require a report from the administration detailing any support for opposition groups in syria. the committee's scheduled to vote on the resolution at the conclusion of their markup session today.
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and over on c-span, house counterparts of the foreign affairs committee get their turn today to pose questions to secretary of state john kerry, defense secretary chuck hagel and joint chiefs of staff general martin dempsey on whether to authorize military force in syria. we'll have live coverage beginning just before noon today, again, that's over on c-span. until the live briefing in about 17 minutes or so with the commander of the u.s. forces in afghanistan, we'll show you some of yesterday's senate foreign relations committee hearing on syria. we're going to start with testimony from secretary kerry. >> well, mr. chairman, members of the committee, ranking member corker, thank you very, very much for having us here today. we look forward to this opportunity to be able to share with you president obama's vision with respect to not just this action, but as senator corker has inquired appropriately, about syria
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itself and the course of action in the piddle east. middle east. mr. chairman, thank you for welcoming teresa. this is her first public event since early july, so we are all happy she's here. as we convene for this debate, it's not an exaggeration to say to you, all of you -- my former colleagues -- that the world is watching not just to see what we decide, but it's watching to see how we make this decision, whether in a dangerous world we can till make our government speak -- still make our government speak with one voice. they want to know if america will take this moment and make a difference. and the question of whether to authorize our nation to take military action is, as you have said, mr. chairman, and you've echoed, mr. ranking member, this
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is, obviously, one of the most important decisions, one of the most important responsibilities of this committee or of any senator in the course of a career. the president and the administration appreciate that you have returned quickly to the nation's capital to address it and that you are appropriately beginning a process of focusing with great care and great precision which is the only way to approach the potential use of military power. ranking member corker, i know that you want to discuss, as you said, why syria matters to our national security and our strategic interests beyond the compelling humanitarian reasons. and i look forward, with secretary hagel and general dempsey, to laying that out here this afternoon. but first, it is important to explain to the american people
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why we're here. it's important for people who may not have caught every component of the news over the course of the labor day weekend to join us, all of us, in focusing in on what is at stake here. that's why the president of united states made the decision, as he did contrary to what many people thought he would do, of asking the congress to join in this decision. we are stronger as a nation when we do that. so we're here because against multiple warnings from the president of the united states, from the congress, from our friends and allies around the world and even from russia and iran, the assad regime and only, undeniably the assad regime, unleashed an outrageous chemical attack against its own citizens. we're here because a dictator and his family's personal
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enterprise in their lust to hold on to power were willing to infect the air of damascus with a poison that killed innocent mothers and fathers and hundreds of their children, their lives all snuffed out by gas in the early morning of august 21st. now, some people here and there amazingly have questioned the evidence of this assault on conscience. i repeat here again today that only the most willful desire to avoid reality can assert that this did not occur as described or that the regime did not do it. it did happen. and the assad regime did it. now, i remember iraq. secretary hagel remembers iraq. general dempsey, especially, remembers iraq.
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but secretary hagel and i and many of you sitting on the dais remember iraq in a special way because we were here for that vote. we voted. and so we are especially sensitive, chuck and i, to never again asking any member of congress to take a vote on faulty intelligence. and that is why our intelligence community has scrubbed and rescrubbed the evidence. we have declassified unprecedented amounts of information, and we ask the american people and the rest of the world to judge that information. we can tell you beyond any reasonable doubt that our evidence proves the assad regime prepared for this attack, issued instructions to prepare for this attack, warned its own forces to use gas masks. we have physical evidence of where the rockets came from and when. not one rocket landed in
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regime-controlled territory. not one. all of them landed in opposition-controlled or contested territory. we have a map, physical evidence showing every geographical point of impact, and can that is concrete. within minutes of the attack, 90 i think to be precise, maybe slightly shorter, the social media exploded with horrific images of the damage that had been caused; men and women, the elderly and children sprawled on a hospital floor with no wounds, no blood but all dead. those scenes of human chaos and desperation were not contrived. they were real. no one could contrive such a scene. we are certain that none of the opposition has the weapons or capacity to affect a strike of
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this scale, particularly from the heart of regime territory. just think about it in logical terms, common sense. with high confidence, our intelligence community tells us that after the strike the regime issued orders to stop and then fretted openly, we know, about the possibility of u.n. inspectors discovering evidence. so then they began to systematically try to destroy it. contrary to my discussion with their foreign minister who said we have nothing to hide, i said if you have nothing to hide, then let the inspectors in today, and let it be unrestricted. it wasn't, they didn't. it took four days of shelling before they finally allowed them in under a constrained, prearranged structure. and we now have learned that the hair and blood samples from first responders in east
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damascus has tested positive for signatures of sarin. so, my colleagues, we know what happened. for all the lawyers, for all the former prosecutors, for all those who have sat on a jury, i can tell you that we know these things beyond the reasonable doubt that is the standard by which we send people to jail for the rest of their lives. so we're here because of what happened two weeks ago. but we're also here because of what happened nearly a century ago in the darkest moments of world war i and after the or record of gas warfare when the vast majority of the world came together to declare in no uncertain terms that chemical weapons crossed a line of conscience, and they must be banned from use forever. over the years that followed, over 180 countries -- including iran, iraq and russia -- agreed,
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and they joined the chemical weapons convention. even countries with whom we agree on little agreed on that conviction. now, some have tried to suggest that the debate we're having today is about president obama's red line. i could not more forcefully state that is just plain and sum my wrong. simply wrong. this debate is about the world's red line. it's about humanity's red line. and it's a red line that anyone with a conscience ought to draw. this debate is also about congress' own red line. you, the united states congress, agreed to the chemical weapons convention. you, the united states congress, passed the syria accountability act which says syria's chemical weapons are, quote, threatening the security of the middle east and the national security
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interests of the united states. you, the congress, have spoken out about grave consequences if assad in particular used chemical weapons. so i say to you, senator corker, that is one of the reasons why syria is important. and as we debate and the world watches, as you decide and the world wonders not whether assad's regime executed the worst chemical weapons attack of the 21st century. that fact, i think, is now beyond question. the world wonders whether the united states of america will consent through silence to standing aside while this kind of brutality is allowed to happen without consequence. in the nearly 100 years since the first global commitment against chemical weapons, only two tyrants dared to cross the world's brightest line. now bashar al assad has become
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the third, and i think all of you know that history holds nothing but infamy for those criminals, and history reserves also very little sympathy for their enablers. finish so -- so the reality is the gravity of this moment. that is the importance of the decision that this congress faces and that the world is waiting to learn about in these next days. now, ranking member corker asked a central question: why should americans care beyond what i've just said which ought to be enough in the judgment of the president and this administration? well, it is clear that in addition to what i've just mentioned about the syria accountability act and the threat to the middle east we cannot overlook the impact of chemical weapons and the danger
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that they pose to a particularly volatile area of the world in which we've been deeply invested for years because we have great friends there, we have allies there, we have deep interests there. since president obama's policy is that assad must go, it is not insignificant that to deprive him of the capacity to use chemical weapons or to degrade the capacity the use those chemical weapons actually deprives him or a lethal weapon in this ongoing civil war, and that has an impact. that can help to stabilize the region ultimately. in addition, we have other important strategic national security interests not just in the prevention of the proliferation of chemical weapons, but to avoid the creation of a safe haven in syria or a base of operations for extremists to use these
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weapons against our friends. all of us know that the extremes of both sides are there waiting in the wings, working and pushing and fighting. they'd be desperate to get their hands on these materials x the fact is that -- and the fact is that if nothing happens to begin to change the equation or the current calculation, that area can become even more so an area of ungoverned space where those extremists threaten even the united states and more immediately if they get their hands on those weapons, allies and friends of ours like jordan or israel or lebanon or others. forcing assad to change his calculation about his ability to act with impunity can contribute to his realization that he cannot gas or shoot his way out of his predicament. and as i think you know, it has been the president's primary goal to achieve a negotiated
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resolution. but you've got to have parties prepared to negotiate to achieve that. syria is also important because, quite simply -- i can't put this to you more, more plainly than to just ask eve of you to ask yourselves -- each of you to ask yourselves if you're assad or if you're any one of the other despots in that region and the united states steps back from this moment together with our otherral highs and friends -- other allies and friends, what is the message? the message is that he has been granted impunity. the freedom to choose to use the weapons again or force us to go through this cycle again with who knows what outcome after once refusing it. we would have granted him a capacity to use these weapons against more people with greater levels of damage because we would have stood and stepped
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away. as confidently as we know what happened in damascus, my friends, on august 21st, we know that assad would read our stepping away or our silence as an invitation to use those weapons with impunity. and in creating impunity, we would be creating opportunity, the opportunity for other dictators and/or terrorists to pursue their own weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons. i will tell you there are some people hoping that the united states congress doesn't vote for this very limited request the president has put before you. iran is hoping you look the other way. our inaction would surely give them a permission slip for them to at least misinterpret our intention, if not to put it to the test. hezbollah is hoping that isolationism will prevail.
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north korea is hoping that ambivalence carries the day. they are all listening for our silence. and if we don't answer assad today, we will erode a standard that has existed for those hundred years. in fact, we will erode a standard that has protected our own troops in war. and we will invite even more dangerous tests down the road. our allies and our partners are also counting on us in this situation. the people of israel, of jordan, of turkey each look next door, and they see that they're one stiff breeze away from the potential of being hurt, of their civilians being killed as a consequence of choices assad might take in the absence of action. they anxiously await our assurance that our word means something. they await the assurance that if
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the children lined up in unbloodied burial shrouds were their own children, that we would keep the world's promise. that's what they're hoping. so the authorization that president obama seeks is definitively in our national security interests. we need to send to syria and to the world, to dictator cans and to terrorists, allies and to civilians alike the unmistakeable message that when the united states of america and and the world say never again, we don't mean sometimes, we don't mean somewhere, never means never.
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as justice jackson said in his opening argument at the nuremberg trials, the ultimate step in avoiding periodic wars which are inevitable in a system of international lawlessness, is to make statesmen responsible for the law. if the world's worst despots see that they can flout with impunity prohibitions against the world's worst weapons, then those prohibitions are just pieces of paper. that is what we mean by accountability, and that is what we mean by we cannot be silent. so let me be clear: president obama is not asking america to go to war, and i say that sitting next to two men, secretary hagel and chairman dempsey, who know what war is. senator mccain knows what war is. they know the difference between
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going to war and what president obama is requesting now. we all agree there will be no american boots on the ground. the president has made crystal clear we have no intention of assuming responsibility for syria's civil war. he is asking only for the power to make clear, to make certain that the united states means what we say, that the world will be joined together in a multilateral statement mean what we say. he's asking for authorization to degrade or deter bashar al assad's capacity to use chemical weapons. now, some will undoubtedly ask -- and i think appropriately -- what about the unintended consequences of action? some fear retaliation that leads to a larger conflict. well, let me put it bluntly. if assad is arrogant enough and
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i would say foolish enough to retaliate to the consequences of his own criminal activity, the united states and our allies have ample ways to make him regret that decision without going to war. even assad's support beers -- russia and iran -- say publicly that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable. now, some will also question the extent of our responsibility. to them i say, when someone kills hundreds of children with a weapon the world has banned, we are all responsible. that is true because of treaties like the geneva convention and the chemical weapons convention, and for us the syria accountability act. but it's also true because we share a common humanity and a common decency. this is not the time for armchair isolationism. this is not the time to have
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spectators to slaughter. neither our country, nor our conscience can afford the cost of silence. we have spoken up against unspeakable horror many times in the past. now we must stand up and act. and we must protect our security, protect our values and lead the world with conviction that is clear about our responsibility. thank you. >> thank you, mr. secretary. >> [inaudible] >> committee will be in order. the committee will be in order. >> we don't want another war! >> may i ask the police to restore order. >> nobody wants this war! launching cruise missiles means another war! the american people do not want this! >> testimony from yesterday's senate foreign relations committee hearing. that same committee will be
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meeting at 11:30 eastern this morning to mark up the draft resolution authorizing the use of military force in syria with a vote scheduled by the entire committee. we'll have live coverage of that entire meeting here on c-span2, again, at 11:30. right now we're taking you live to the pentagon for a briefing with the deputy commander for u.s. forces in afghanistan. >> at the beginning of the mission here in afghanistan, and i'd live to give perspective from from a guy who's got a couple, three tours here in this country. and when i first arrived in this country, like many of you can remember, there was no afghan national army, and there was no afghan national police. there was the remnants of the northern alliance, the taliban had been shattered, and it was a state of minor anarchy that had been emerging from 30 years of
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consecutive brutal warfare first under the soviets, and then when the soviets left for a few years under the imagine the bull la regime, and then, of course, it breaks apart into a civil war followed by the regime of the taliban. so in this country if you're about 40 years old or younger, then you've experienced nothing but unrelenting consecutive war. and for me, it looked a bit like the pictures i used to see when i was younger of world war ii, the cities in europe or the cities in japan that had been all bombed out. that's what kabul looked like, that's what many of the other cities looked like. they were rubbled, they were destroyed, and there was really nothing here. there was no real health care, there was no water, there was no sense of hope. it was just a state in which the people had been devastated by
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years and years of war. if you flash forward to today -- and i was here at the beginning, and then i came back in the '08-'09 time frame and then i'm back now -- if you flash forward to today, you've got a significantly and, in my opinion, much more positive situation on your hand. first of all, with the security forces we, in fact, have almost 350,000 uniform police or army in multiple different types of police and army that are out there fighting the fight and carrying the load every single day. and in addition to that, not only do they have the numbers -- so they have capacity -- but this army is capable. so they've gone from zero to 350,000 in a relatively short amount of time. and they are capable at the tactical level every day, day in and day out, and they've proven it over and over and over again in this summer's fighting
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season, the first summer that they've really and legitimately been in the lead. i've been here now for about four, going on five months. i've gone through the pre-ramadan part of the fighting season where the enemy laid out their objectives. things toned down a bit, they picked back up. but for the most part, this army and this police force have been very, very effective in combat against the insurgents every single day, and i think that's an important story to be told across the board. have there been one or two outposts that have been overrun? yes. but you're talking about three or four thousand outposts that are in the country. so the bottom line is the afghans have successfully defended the majority of the population of this country. if you look at where the population lives, you've got kabul, kandahar, masri, sharif, you know all the major urban areas, and ten roughly speaking within about 25 miles or so of
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highway 1 and highway 7, highway 4 and the other major lines of communication, that's where 80% of the population lives. that's where most of the afghan security forces have focused their effort in order to protect the population. so they're executing a full spectrum counterinsurgency, the afghans are, and their design, their purpose is to protect the majority of the population. and they have effectively done that in the first four-plus months of the fighting season in which they have literally been in the lead. if you look back to kind of the '01, post-9/11 period all the way to '06, i think it's fair to say that the united states and other members of the coalition were in the lead fighting, essentially, unilaterally a counterinsurgency operation. if you look about the 06-'07 time frame, we had at that time
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somewhere to the tune of about 100,000 or so afghan security forces. so we started fighting what we called shoulder to shoulder, and the biword of the day was -- [inaudible] and that lasted, shoulder to shoulder, from from about that time all the way up through the surge period and really until last summer towards the end of the summer, august, september, october, time frame. we started very progressively, very deliberately having the afghan security forces in the lead where they were capable of being in the lead. and that really was symbolically addressed in the milestone ceremony that occurred last june, 18, june. but, in fact, from last winter and into the early -- late winter and early spring and now into the summer, they have progressively taken the lead. and they are, in fact, right now leading well over 90% of the operations that are occurring. and what does that mean?
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that means that they are planning, they're coordinating, they're synchronizing, and they're executing combat operations every day. about a thousand-plus patrols a day. just this week they're doing 35 named operations, they're running multiple special operations throughout the aor. we do support them. we provide advisers, we train, we advise, we assist, we do enable with intelligence capabilities, we have close air support, we provide rotary wing. but for the most part and well in excess of 90%, the afghan security forces have completely taken the lead in this fight. this is a different fight today in afghanistan than what i saw before. this is a fight in which the forces of afghanistan, the forces of the government are, in fact, engaged every single day which you can tell, as you know, from casualty rates, etc., have
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gone up on the part of the afghan security forces. so bottom line is, that's a huge change. that's a significant condition change that has occurred really in the last few years over here, and it's culminating right now. secondly, i think you have to talk a little bit about the enemy. the enemy that i've seen this tour is quantitatively and qualitatively different than the enemy i've seen in the previous tours. they go by the same names, czar canny, taliban, etc., and you know all the names. but their capabilities are different. so far this year in this fighting season, what have they been able to do? they've been able to do some suicide bombings, intimidate some people, they've been able to do assassination, they continue to do ieds, there's some small arms attacks, etc. what they can't do is provide an alternative form of governance, they don't have a political
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agenda that's acceptable to the vast majority of the people of afghanistan. all they can do and all they've been doing is terrorizing the people of afghanistan. that is not playing well. all the information we have, both classified and unclassified, clearly indicates the vast majority of people in this country reject the agenda, the program that is being offered by the opponents, the enemies of afghanistan right now and all the various radical groups. so there's two significant things that, i think, are different that have occurred over time and that we're witnessing the fruits of that boar right now. labor right now. if you look at a couple of other things i think that are really significant that have changed, i've had some guys on my staff do a little bit of research on what causes, you know, societies to change and look at some of the fundamentals that cause societies to change. and if you look at this country, in the last 12 years these aren't things that catch headlines per se, but in the
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last 12 years there's been really some significant change in this country. if you look at something like the business you're involved in, the communications business, the media business, that's huge. where there was no media, essentially, 12 years ago, today there is a press corps here. there are 75 tv stations, there's 175 or 180 radio stations throughout this country. that didn't exist 12 years ago under the taliban. and in addition to that, you've got all kinds of high-speed communications around here from internet to telephones, all the cell phones, text messaging, facebooks, all the social media. that is very significant. that communication explosion in afghanistan, in a country of 30 million, is making a difference day in and day out. if you shift gears to landline communications, this country -- as you know -- is tribally compartmented, mountainously
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compartmented by the physical terrain, etc. roads make a difference in a rural country that is fundamentally agrarian based. so in order to get goods to markets, etc., you have to have roads. in the last 12 years, there's been over 24,000 kilometers of roads. those road networks are serving to connect the people of afghanistan to each other. so where you have people in valleys that have never gone outside their valley their entire life, that is now happening. so there's a tremendous amount of movement. if you look at the airlines of communication, there's 52 airlines flying in and out of kia every day, international airlines. when i first came here, the only thing flying in and out of there was the u.s. air force. now you've got 52 international airlines flying in and out. so you've got international communications now in afghanistan that never existed before. what's the sum of all that in that, to me, matters. when you expand knowledge at the rate at which knowledge is being
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expanded in this country over a mere ten years, that has significant societal change written all over it where people are exposed to ideas, knowledge, science, education, so on and so forth, that were never exposed before. and what does that mean for the enemy? that's not a good picture for the enemy. i often hear time's on the side of the ger guerrilla, on the sif the taliban. that's not true. with this explosion of information, time is on the hand, on the side of the government of afghanistan, the people that are supporting a progressive afghanistan and not on the side of the taliban. the taliban is out there trying to control information, trying to deny people information, trying to deny people knowledge. that's a huge change. another one is education. this country's only got 30 million people or so. about 10 million of them right now are engaged in some form of education either at the primary level or the secondary level or at the university level. there's almost 200,000
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university students. i think there's 17 universities spread throughout this country right now. there is several hundred thousand elementary and secondary schoolteachers in this country. the education boom in this country is significant. again, that does not auger well for the opponents, for the taliban, al-qaeda and the rest of them, because they are opposed to that. they're not in favor of education. they want to control education. all they want you to do is go to a madras and shud the sharia -- study the sharia. they want nothing more than that, and that's not what's happening in this country. you've got about a third of this country whose literacy rate has skyrocketed from a mere 10% all the way up to 28% right now, and it's climbing very, very quick. so the education level is significant. but even more important than that is the them graphic of this country. -- demographic of this country. right now you've got something like 68% of country, well in excess of 50%, are underneath the age of 25 years as we speak. that population is getting
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educated. in a very short amount of time, five, ten years, those people are going to be coming into positions of significant influence and power in this country. and i think the days of the taliban are going to be behind them when that educated group of young people that are in existence today that are learning the sciences, the maths and all the social sciences, etc., assume positions of responsibility. and we're seeing that. we're seeing that all over the place with young reporters, urban intellectuals that are rising throughout the area. we're seeing a very, very broad rising of young people that are clearly and unambiguously rejecting the agenda of the taliban. if you look at health care, when i showed up in this country, the average age of an afghan male was 42 years old. if you look at it today, depending on the study you look at, it comes in somewhere around between 52 and 56. if you go back to london in 1750 at the start of the industrial
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revolution, their average age was 42 years old. if you come flash forward, it took them until 1770 to get to 52 or 56 years old. so this country has experienced a huge growth in positive health care. yesterday i visited a hospital here in kabul, the afghan national police hospital. i've gone out to several of the hospitals in the various communities. almost every single community now in this country has some kind of clinic, health care, doctors, nurses, they have bandages. is it the type of health care that you might want? perhaps not. but is it a hell of a lot better than what existed anything under the taliban? and the answer's absolutely, yes. and the people of afghanistan are seeing that. they're seeing communications, they're seeing health care, they're seeing education. if you look at the economy and you came here as some of you did 12 years ago, there weren't a whole lot of cars driving around kabul. today you have traffic jams. so there's fuel, there's cars, there's maintenance, there's mechanics. there's an economy that's bubbling in and around this country that did not exist
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before. the gdp here is still dependent on foreign aid to a large extent, and unemployment is still much too high. but the positive signs are out there. there's early indicators of potential for this country, and i think that's all to the positive. bottom line is across the board in 12 years this country's come a long way. this is not the same country i walked into back in the day, and it's not the same country even three or four or five years ago. this is a significantly advanced country, or significantly advanced from what they were. and it is mostly due, i think, to the taliban and the enemy tactics of murdering people, terrorizing people. they killed over 100 civilians just last month. that doesn't go well with the afghan people. and it's mostly due to the afghan security forces and what they have been able to do in the last few years and then all the sacrifice and the blood, sweat and tears that the forces of the international community, most
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significantly the united states, have done over the last 12 years. so i am someone here who can tell you by witness that things are quite a bit different and quite a bit better in afghanistan than they were, for sure, under the rule of the taliban. and i am much more optimistic about the outcome here as long as the afghan security forces continue to do what they've been doing this fighting season, and if they continue to do that next year and the year after and so on, then i think things will turn out okay in afghanistan. and with that, i'll be glad to take anybody's questions. >> general, this is bob burns with the associated press. you seem to be forecasting the demise of the taliban. i'm wondering how does that factor into the prospects for political negotiations with the government between the taliban and the government if the taliban has no future? >> well, let me, let me revise
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and extend my remarks. you used the word "demise." this war is not over. this is a very resilient enemy, it's an adaptive enemy, and i don't think for a minute that the taliban or tear kind are going -- or their kind are going to kind of fade away into the dust in the next year or two. that's not going to happen. on the other hand, the taliban stated objective is to seize political power in afghanistan. i do not think at this point in time with the strength and capability of the afghan security forces that the taliban or any of their allies have the capability to reseize political power in the country of afghanistan under current conditions. and i don't think that that is a likely probability anytime in the near future. so i don't see the taliban's demise, but i do not think they any longer have the capability, nor any political support to
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achieve what is their strategic objective. if history's a divide, we know that -- a guide, we know that if you're going to be a successful insurgency to achieve political power, you've got to achieve a certain degree of traction in terms of popular support. you have to have the proverbial water for the fish to swim in order to have a successful insurgency, success being defined azizing political -- as seizing political power. the conditions still exist, however, for fighting to continue for a fairly long period of time. but i think the keyword here is can the ansf contain the insurgency, can today manage the violence so that the insurgents do not present an existential threat to the government, and i think the answer to that is, yes. at least that's the indicators that i conclude from what i've seen so far. there's still a couple of months left in the fighting season. i would never want to call the
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ball too early, but i think all indicators are that the ansf have done well. and in fight after fight day in and day out, they are getting the upper hand on the insurgency. so i don't is see the insurgency in all of its various groups being able to achieve their political and/or strategic objectives. i don't see that in the cards. but i also do not see them just disappearing or the demise. the question on reconciliation that you asked, that's really a political question for the government of afghanistan. and they've got to figure that out. and they're working at that. that's not a military task, per se, that's not something that we are engaged in, but it certainly as it progresses or develops will have effects on the battlefield. but that's not something we're engaged in, that's something for the government of afghanistan to work out. over. >> courtney? >> hi, general, it's courtney from nbc news. you mentioned that the enemy is qualitatively different than your last tour years ago, and
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you also said they're resilient. what reason do you have to believe that they're not just biding their time? there's only a little over a year left in this nato mandate, there's no sign of any kind of a decision yet for u.s. troops to stay after december 31, 2014. so what makes you think that they respect just biding their time and then after 2014 they'll adapt and come back into afghanistan and begin their efforts to take over again? >> great question there, courtney, and i've asked myself that question a thousand times: how can i be sure that they're not just preserving combat power, husbanding resources, getting ready for the quote-unquote departure of the international forces in order to launch an offensive and bring down the afghan government? well, a couple of things i would say. is that possible in sure, that's
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in the realm of the possible, but i don't think so. my professional judgment is the enemy is not biding their time, the enemy according to their own strategic guidance, their own operations order that they issued out for this summer's fighting season clearly indicated that they wanted to push the envelope, press the offensive, fight during this fighting season both against afghan security forces and against isaf. so i don't think their intent was to hold anything back. and, furthermore, and i won't give any specifics of classified, but we have plenty of classified information to indicate that they're unhappy with many of their commanders for failing to show aggressiveness or failing to succeed on the battlefield. they've replaced several commanders and others on the battlefield. so there is plenty of indications both classified and unclassified for me to conclude that the enemy has tried to mount a significant offensive.
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against the afghan security forces and isaf. and thus far have failed across the entire country. >> dave martin with cws. cbs. the portrayal of the afghan security forces is becoming increasingly effective. >> hey, thanks, david. good to hear your voice. hope everything's good with you and the folks back home. i read that article. i actually read both the transcript and what general dunford said. what general dunford actually said was he didn't assume that it was sustainable as opposed to declare that it was unsustainable. there's a slight difference, but i think it's a substantial one
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or has substantial difference and meaning. bottom line is here's my assessment. the afghan security forces are suffering more casualties, no question about it. there's more afghan security forces, and they are out there putting the wood to the enemy every single day, day in and day out, across the entire battle space. they're fighting significantly against all of the various groups. and they are suffering. they're taking casualties. they're inflicting a hell of a lot more than they're taking, by the way, but they are taking casualties. on average they're, it's probably somewhere in the range -- it depends on the week, but somewhere in the range of 50-100 or so afghan security forces are killed in action per week. and that's not at all insignificant. that is significant. and we're paying attention to that, and we want to continue to work with them on the tactics, techniques, procedures of good,
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sound tactics in order to minimize their own casualties. so we're working heavily on counter-ied, for example, on all the technological devices that we use. we are training the afghans to use those. proper movement techniques, etc. also a big one is medical evacuation. because anytime you take casualties, there's obviously an impact on unit morale, etc., so you want to make sure that an individual soldier -- regardless of what country they're from, any individual soldier wants to insure that they're going to get adequate medical care if they're injured. so we're working hard to improve the medical evacuation system. everywhere from point of injury all the way up to rotary wing medevac. pord to evacuate the soldiers that are wounded in a timely way and get them to appropriate medical care. in addition to that, close air support and attack helicopter support. we provide both of those for the
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afghans when requested, but they are now developing an attack helicopter capability with their mi-35s and the lift capability with their mi-17s. it's early. they've been running air assaults. they have been supporting themselves in a variety of ways, but those two capabilities are important in order to make the battlefield uneven in fave of the friendly forces -- in favor of the friendly forces. also indirect fire. the afghans now this summer are employing d-30 artillery in much greater use than they were in previous years, and they're getting trained up to a level where they can plan, coordinate, call for fire, adjust fire, etc. same thing, most importantly, with mortars. probably the most responsive fire support system that any infantry-based force can have is 60 millimeter and 82 millimeter mortars. so they're applying those to much greater effect than in times gone by. so those capabilities once they're brought to the fight at the unit levels will change, we
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think, the quote-unquote significant amounts of casualties that they're having. ieds are big, direct fire's big. ied, counter-ied in tackics, procedures, we'll work towards that. and for the direct fire a lot of that in a direct fire fight, as you well know, indirect fire tends to put the playing field in favor of the friendly forces. the bottom line is we're working on capabilities to address that. but i think there's a broader question here on casualties, and i've given this a fair amount of thought over the summer. and some people say, well, you know, the u.s. army or the u.s. marines or the german army, etc., could never sustain those rates of casualties, and those rates approach rates that we took in vietnam at times. but i think that the ability to take casualties is directly related to the political object to be achieved. and for the afghans, i think that's significant. for them, they are fighting for
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their country. they're fighting for the very existence of their future. and i don't -- of the, there's 4 maneuver brigades out here. there's over a hundred kandaks, and there hasn't been a ingle unit, police or -- single unit, police or army, that has shattered, lost their cohesion, lost their ability to carry on the fight as a result of casualties. i think that speaks sol -- volumes about their cohesion and their willingness to defend their own country. and i think they are fully cognizant of the fact that the enemy they are fighting wants to take over their country. and they are fully aware that if they fail in their fight, they will live under taliban rule again. so they are determined, and i've seen it over and over and over again throughout the last four months, these guys are absolutely determined to fight for their country, and they're doing a good job at it. and, yes, they are suffering. is it sustainable or unsustainable? i think that's an open question.
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i personally believe that, you know, i walked around the hospital just yesterday, and i think there was probably about 80 or 90 afghan wounded in action in there. and these were pretty serious wounds. and i got that tell you, these guys are hard guys. these are tough, physical, tough people and mentally tough people. and you have to almost go back in time, i don't know, the middle of the 1800s or something where the union and confederate armies are marching in boots and bare feet back and forth over the mountains of virginia and georgia to find people as hard and as tough as these people. so taking casualties is significant, and we as isaf and advisers are working a whole wide variety of programs to try to reduce those casualties. that's on the one hand. on the other hand, i believe this enemy is resilient, but
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i've got to tell you, the afghan security forces are very resilient. they're hard, they're tough, and i don't think the rate of casualties -- although significant -- i don't think that's going to shatter or break this security force. over. >> [inaudible] >> general milley, julian bond here, "wall street journal." do you think that the afghan security forces post-2014 will still need some of those capabilities they're getting from isaf that you just outlined, the close air support, the medevac, and if they don't still have that level of support that they have today in those areas, will we see in this level of violence go up? will we see the casualties go up? what's your assessment from where you sit today?
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>> well, julian, good to hear your voice as well. a couple things. one is i would argue that it's probably a little bit too early to tell. we need to get the full results of this fighting season, which we'll get those probably in october, whenever the snows start falling, october-ish, november-ish. and we'll do an assessment and analysis. and we'll provide a military recommendation to general dunford, and then he'll provide a recommendation on up to the north atlantic council and the u.s. senior leadership, etc., as to what our best military estimate as to what kind of capabilities are going to be needed in 2015 and beyond. as -- so, first of all, it's an ongoing process, and it's not finalized, it's very much predecisional, and we have to get some more data on what kind of capabilities, where, what units, etc., will need assistance in january '15 and
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beyond. but having said that, as you probably are already aware, there is a mission that comes after the current mission. the current mandate ends 31, december, 2014. and then there's this follow-on mission called resolute support, a nato mission called resolute support that is in development now in terms of the planning of it, the size of it, the scope of it, the tasks and so on and so forth. so i think it's a bit premature for me to say exactly what will be needed. in broad terms, though, i do think that some element of support is going to be needed not so much at the tactical level though. my observation is that the kandaks and the brigades that are out here every day, you know, the companies and the battalions and the brigades of the afghans and their counterpart police, they're pretty damn good at, you know, shoot, move and communicate many mounted and dismounted combat operations.
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they are pretty good. and they're doing just fine relative to this enemy in this country. so that part's okay. the parts that need, i think, additional work -- and we're going to work hard over the coming months and year, up until the end of this current mandate -- is to shore up things like logistics supply at the institutional level, like class nine which is spare parts for vehicles, spare parts for weapons that break, etc. that's a very sophisticated logistics system in order to make sure that we bring in the right parts and then get them distributed so you get the right part on the right vehicle at the right time. so something like a logistics system at the higher levels. not so much at the lower levels. that definitely needs additional work. things like personnel management systems needs work. promotion systems, merit-based promotions and those sorts of things. leadership development cleary needs work. the integration of combined
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arms, i think, is coming along pretty well meaning that an infantry unit out there in contact has the ability to call for and adjust indirect fire from either artillery or mortars and either ground or airvac wait their casualties. they're actually doing pretty good right now in coordination with mounted and dismounted forces, but we need to continue to work that system so it becomes self-sustainable over time. you've got to work ammunition resupply, fuel, water, you've got to do things like all of these compounds and bases that they're taking over we want to make sure that, you know, basic things that you would imagine in any community, you know, sewage, electricity, those sorts of things. all that institutional-type stuff has got to get worked. with respect to close air support, attack helicopters and medevac, those are systems that are currently in development. i'll give you, like rotary wing,
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for example. rotary wing resupply and medevac. they ran an operation in a district which was a multi-kandak, multi-brigade operation last month. they planned it, coordinated it, synchronized it, and they ran six different turns of air assault, brought their troops in on their own helicopters, they brought in roughly speaking 6,000 pounds or a couple of tons of resupply, they brought in humanitarian aid, they did all that on their own. they did take casualtieses, and they were able to evacuate the casualties on their own. they flew attack helicopter support on their own. we had isr support over their head with some unmanned aerial vehicles, and we did fly close air support, but we didn't have to drop any bombs. so they are capable of, right now, of doing some of those operations. what we need to get to here this year is we need to be able to see that across the board.
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that was done by 201st and 203rd corps. we need to see that across all the corps, all the kandaks and a sustained level of effort over time. we think it's achievement and bl to get to a pretty high level here in the next year, year and a half before 31, december. we think that's achievable. and then what residual capabilities they're going to need starting january '15 and beyond, we think those will be at the higher level of logistics and institutional support and not necessarily at the microtactical level. i'm not sure that 100% answers the question you were after, but that's my assessment at this point, over. >> thanks. general milley, this is david alexander there reuters. i understand that president karzai's been quoted as saying he doesn't think it's necessary to have a post-2014 forces agreement in place until perhaps after the election. so i just wonder if that's, is that sort of the new target, or
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is that pushing it a little too thin? how's that going? >> well, i'll be frank, i don't -- my level is below the president of afghanistan. i don't engage with president karzai. that's, general dunford does that, the ambassador does that and others do that. i saw the comment in the media, so i don't know. that's a political question. he's got to decide that. he's the sovereign leader of a sovereign country, and he's got to determine what he thinks is in the best interests, etc., etc., etc. our position is we would like to have a bilateral security agreement, and i think publicly the chairman and others have stated they'd like to see that, you know, the october, november time frame. that's one level above me. does can it have impact? -- does it have impact? yes, it does. but in terms of the day-to-day
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operational fight, no. where it does have impact, though, is in what i would call a sense of anxiety, a fear of the future, a sense of hedging on the part of afghans across the board, both the civilian elites and military leadership as well as, i would argue, a broad base of afghans throughout the country. so there's a degree of anxiety out there within afghanistan about what 2014 means. and i think the sooner that various leaders define that with a degree of certainty, then i think the better it will be for the government of afghanistan and the future of the people of afghanistan. but that's a political question, and i'm not sure, candidly, of the status of the negotiations, etc. we don't, obviously, play a role in that. i think the embassy has lead on it, and they're working it.
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but certainly, we want it, and we want to get that done, and i think that's in the best interests of the campaign effort over here, but we'll have to wait until we see what the political leadership of all the various countries come up with. over. >> [inaudible] >> joel gould from army times. you talked about the taliban planning to push the envelope. there was a, there was recently a complex attack in gosni that resulted in afghan, polish and one american casualty from the 10th mountain. do you expect that those kinds of complex attacks are going to increase particularly as the, you know, as the drawdown is coming and the fighting season is, starts to dwindle? and also what can you tell us about that attack? >> well, the short answer is,
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yes, we do expect that the enemy are try to do -- and he stated he would try to do -- what's called generally high profile attacks or what we call complex attacks which involve dismounted forces, suicide bombers attempting to breach, etc. that one on fob ghazni was a significant attack involving multiple suicide vehicle car bombs and an attempt birdies mounted suicide bombers to penetrate the perimeter and inflict significant amounts of casualties. unfortunately, we lost a great american there from 10th mountain division in that attack, but the defenders did extraordinarily well. all of the attackers were killed, but the afghan security forces did well as well, and the polish security forces or the polish contingent did great, the americans did great from 10th mountain. that was a tough fight, it was a tough attack, and the defenders
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did well, and we were, in my opinion, the enemy completely failed in achieving any kind of operational or strategic effect from that particular attack. we do expect more of those against either fixed sites and/or key infrastructure in kabul, political sites, etc. and they have had several to date as well. so there's been in the kabul area, for example, there's been 13 high profile attacks since the beginning of may, about seven of them have been against isaf facilities, and the others against afghan facilities. and in all of them, i would argue that they were a resounding failure both in terms of trying to make a political statement on the part of the enemy and/or having any kind of military, strategic or operational effect. you know, one of them they blew
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up a suicide bomber in the parking lot of the supreme court, and they murdered a whole bunch of civilians. in another one they attacked an international office of migration, a representative of the united nations, a very soft target, and they killed some folks there. and they attacked the red crescent in jalalabad. but i would not call those attacks anything that demonstrates any kind of viable capability on the part of the enemies of afghanistan except the fact that they're terrorists and they're murderers. other than that, they haven't been able to achieve much success at all. so we do expect more. this is an environment in which the enemy has objectives, they are trying to achieve those objectives, and they're using the tool of terrorism to do it, and they're using the tool of wanton violence to inflict and undermine the legitimacy of the government of afghanistan. and at least to date they're
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having very little success in doing it. over. >> time for two more questions. luke? >> general, it's luke martinez of abc news. have will been some success areas that you did not success, for example, after the transition i saw recently that in kunar there seems to be, have been quite a security turn around there with afghans and leaders there. is that right, and are there other areas that are similar like that? >> yeah, there's -- there's several of them. be you know, there's ups and downs. it's a war, so there's puts and takes, there's goods and bads throughout. on balance, overall, there's much more goods than bads with respect to how the afghan security forces are perform. one of them you pointed out which was the pesh river valley. isaf forces withdrew in large
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part from the kunar area for good reasons. there was a modest amount of population up there, and the cost was exceeding any kind of benefit as we coulded tell, and so -- could tell, and so a few years ago there was decisions made to god and withdraw most of -- to go ahead and withdraw most of the outposts from up there. so the afghan security forces this past june, 6, june, in fact, decided that they would go back up there, reassert governmental control in the pech river valley and a few over capillary valleys up in there. so on 6, june, they went ahead and conducted an operation where they put in an afghan kandak by ground. they did make contact. they defeated the enemy that they ran into in and around those areas, and then they have essentially maintained pretty good control of that area since 6, june. and just this week they're working to bring in,
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quote-unquote, holding force in the doctrine there of counterinsurgency. they're bringing in a holding force with police which is a combination of afghan uniformed police and afghan local police. they've worked a variety of governmental actions there on behalf of gouverneur standny, and they're pushing on further to secure the road all the way up, etc. they're doing a very good job at that. another one was the operation that i mentioned before with an air assault from multiple corps into some very rugged terrain into an area that was kind of tough. another one which surprised me when i got back here was, you know, down in rc south and southwest, there was significant, really significant fighting down in helmand, sanguine, etc., just a few years ago. the level of security that's been brought to kandahar and the
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areas in rc south and southwest not only by isaf, but by now both the 205th and 215th corps that are operating down there is quite a bit different than what i saw before. so that's a significant and positive change, i think. and it appears to be holding up pretty well. so sanguine, for example, the enemy has tried hard to retake sanguine, but the 215th corps down there in rc southwest has done a very, very good job in holding that terrain and defeating the enemy offensives such as they were when they tried to, you know, cut the road. so there are several spots. if you go up to mass' sharif, you go up to kunduz, those places are extremely stable, and they are relative to the insurgency. is there crime? yeah, crime, there's some other things. but -- and there's, you know, other types of bad activity.
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but relative to the insurgency, those other areas are quite stable. now, there are some areas that are tough, so it's not all rosy everywhere. highway 1 south of kabul, specifically between wardak and logar has been a tough fight this summer. the enemy in combination with criminal groups in combination with others, you know, miscreant-type actors have been attacking various convoys, stealing fuel, torching trucks. but that's about a 20-mile stretch of road in some compartmented terrain that causes a defile just south of kabul. so that area has been contested all summer long. the 203rd corps right now as we speak is running a pretty significant operation in there to clear out the enemy support zones. so that's an area that's been contested. konar is still contested, you know, as you go up to that area,
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it's pretty contested as well, but there are parts of aruz that are still pretty contested. as you get into out ghoul stand, those areas are fairly contested, and the afghan security forces are in a fight there. so there are areas in which there is significant, ongoing fighting. if you looked at it geographically and you lay it out kind of district by district and geography by geography, there's about somewhere around 15 or 20% maybe of the geographical land space of afghanistan that is significantly contested and about 80% of it is not, is not very contested, and it's clearly under governmental control. if you look at it from a population standpoint, it's about the same. about 80% of the population lives in areas that are not significantly contested by the insurgent ises. most of the injure seven si that -- insurgency that we see today so occurring in areas of low density population, and that's where the afghan security
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forces are trying to get after it. over. >> [inaudible] >> do you have an estimate of the number of persons the taliban have now as compared to what was 12 years ago? >> i'm sorry, i could not hear the question. i think what i heard was occupy people do the taliban -- how many people do the taliban have now? was that the question, over? >> yes. >> that's correct, sir. >> yeah. i, i don't know for certain and, candidly, i'm not sure anyone knows, probably to include the taliban, exactly how many taliban there are. at best you get a wide range of
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estimates. and then you have to define it even further. are we talking about armed combatant-type taliban, or are we talking about supporters of the taliban that lend some kind of logistical or political support, etc. so some of that depends on definitions, so on and so forth. as a broad kind of comment, i would probably be reluctant to give precise numbers, but as a broad comment, you're probably looking at something of a low of 10 or 15,000 armed combatants and maybe a high of 25,000, 20, 25,000 armed, and it's not taliban. it's multiple groups. so you've got taliban, you've got haqqani, you've got tmj, you've got al-qaeda, you've got imu, islamic movement of uzbekistan, and you've got about four or five other named groups. you've got a potpourri of groups
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that generally have similar-type objectives, they're sort of the similar species of fish tar swimming general -- that are swimming generally in the same pond. but they are not exactly unified by any stretch of the imagination. but taken as a whole, that's probably in the range of accuracy, and it's probably about as good a guess as anyone would be able to give you in terms of a left and right bookend of the numbers. so it's a pretty wide range, i know, but i think that's a question that is not answerable with any high degree of accuracy. over. >> that, sir, we'll turn it over to you for any closing comments. >> okay. i've got time on this end to take another question if there's one more question, and then i can kind of wrap it up. >> okay, sir.
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jim -- [inaudible] >> all right, sir. for years we've been hearing that the afghan police are not trained up to the same sort of standards as the afghan army, yet we keep hearing they're taking a lot of casualties. is that, are the afghan police catching up? and just as another aside, the american and nato troops have essentially changed the way they conduct business over the last year with the afghans in the lead. how is that working, and how have they adapted to that role? >> the, well, on the first question for the afghan police, the training, the level of effort in terms of training has clearly lagged behind the army from the very beginning of this operation. if you go back to the bonn
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agreement and then you kind of trace that through the years, the level of effort was behind the army. and more training effort, convict and focus was put on the army. that was recognized a few years ago, i don't know, probably maybe '08, '09, '10, something like that. and the gears started to shift to increase the level of effort to support police forces. now, there's multiple types of police forces. so you've got the afghan border police which, obviously, operate along the border or, and you look at the afghan uniformed police which operate fundamentally in urban areas or higher-density population areas. you've got the civil order police which is sort of like a car binary type organization. but a concerted effort has been done in the last couple of years, and we're continuing that
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today to improve the level of training, leadership and equipping of the afghan police. and we're seeing a better performance on the part of the police this summer than we've seen in the past. the enemy clearly is attacking the police more than any other force, both afghan local police and afghan national police. because that police force is truly the front line of the government. and they are not as formidable in conducting small unit dismounted light infantry type operations as the afghan army. so the afghan -- or the enemies clearly target the afghan police more than today do the army. and the afghan police proportionately take more casualties than the army. in the aggregate, the army takes more casualties than the police, but as a matter of proto portion, the police -- proportion, the police take more
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per the number of police. but the police have not been shattered, they haven't broke, they're hanging in there, they're doing good, and they're improving in terms of their skills at both not only police work, but at their ability to operate in a counterinsurgency, terrorist type of environment that you have here in afghanistan. so hopefully, that answers the first half of your question. as far as the relationship as to what we do, we are clearly and unambiguously in the train, advise, ais -- assist part of, or that is our mission, that's our task, that's what we do every day. we do not conduct unilateral offensive operations. we did that years ago. we do not do that anymore. what we do is help the afghans in their conduct of their counterinsurgency, and we train them, we advise them, we work
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schools, we help equip them, and then we assist them where needed and where requested. and that relationship has worked out pretty well, and the afghans have stepped up to the plate, and as you can tell by casualties and other things, they are, in fact, fighting the fight. hey, let me just wrap it up. first of all, good to hear some of the voices i heard out there. and i hope everyone's doing well. but with respect to afghanistan, you know, kind of going back to where i started, a lot has happened in 12 years in this country, some of which makes headlines, some of which does not. but there's a significant degree of societal change both in the security conditions, the security capabilities and on the part of the afghan government and at least as important are the societal changes in terms of education and communication and so on and so forth. taken as a whole, taken as an aggregate and, again, you know,
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it's still early in the sense of, you know, how does this all turn out, but i would argue that the changes that have occurred in this country speak that or would suggest that the momentum of this war has shifted in the favor of the government of afghanistan and not in the favor of the taliban. and i think the taliban capability wise and political action wise do not have the capability to present an existential threat to this country provided that we continue doing what we're doing, we stay on plan, we continue to advise and assist and work with the afghan security forces. so i, my own estimate -- and it is my estimate, not any kind of, not anyone else's -- but my own estimate is that the situation in afghanistan is significantly better than what many people may appreciate it to be. given a 12-year view or even
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given a 40-year view, most afghans would tell you that the situation today is better than it certainly was 25 years ago or 20 years ago or even 12 or 13 years ago. and i hear that repeatedly not just from people that are senior in rank and the afghan security forces, but i hear that from lots of people all over the country of various walks of life. so i think that the united states and the international security forces from nato have got to be a lot to be proud of over what's occurred in the past 12 years. having said all that, though, this war is not over. this war is still being contested, it is still being fought day in and day out, and it is not yet won. right now i would say that the conditions are set for winning this war. and, but it is not yet won, and it is not yet over. so with that, i'll, i'll bid
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adieu and wish you guys the best and appreciate the time. >> thank you, sir. .. the participating right now in a closed door intelligence meeting. this meeting expected to start shortly after that finishes. the draft resolution put together following yesterday's hearing would prohibit any american boots on the ground, military action limited to 60 days and require a report from the administration the killing
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any support for opposition groups in syria. the committee is scheduled to vote on a resolution at the conclusion of their markup session today. and over on c-span, house counterpart, foreign affairs committee get their turn to pose questions to secretary of state john kerry, defense secretary hagel and joint chiefs of staff general martin dempsey during today's house hearing on whether to authorize military force in syria. we will have live coverage beginning noon today. again, that is over on c-span. earlier this morning the top republican and democrat on the senate foreign relations committee spoke to reporters about the process of moving forward with a resolution to the end of the remarks coming before classified intelligence briefing on syria. here is a look. i think one of the things we want to be sure of is every member has the opportunity to
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feel like they can affect this outcome in a meaningful way. so i think we have a very good starting point. i've was on the phone until late last night and beginning early this morning. and again, hopefully we are going to have a good day today. but i do think there is a push for people to have enough time to digest a couple things. number one, the nuance of the legislation. but also, i think today to hear a full accounting from the administration as to what they will attempt to do on breeding accountability. this is obviously an important day, but again, i want to ensure that every member -- we have a lot of members on both sides of the of -- i want to feel that every member has the opportunity to affect this in a way the believe is constructive and meaningful, and we are going to
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be in those discussions in just a minute. >> just the senators or the house? >> i haven't had any conversations with the house since the meeting yesterday at the white house. senators, administration, and or others. >> -- vladimir putin has said the proposed action would be illegal in terms of international law as has ban ki moon. >> i don't know that that will have much impact. i don't mean that in any way to be pejorative, i just don't think that is where people's focus is right now. >> what is the resolution you are expecting from your colleagues? >> i have a couple ideas. i mean i've had personal conversations with members of them last night and this morning, so we will see. i want them to certainly be the ones to express their points of view. but i am really pleased with the starting point that we've
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achieved, and again, i just want to emphasize as i did all day yesterday this is the starting plant and the senate -- i am thankful that the senate is waiting in this way. i think it's good that we are weighing in in advance and hopefully we will move forward today. we may be back in on friday. i know it's a jewish holiday that starts late this afternoon. we may be here over the weekend. but, you know, i think everybody should have the opportunity to purposely move on this piece of legislation. >> what would you be doing -- >> we will see. again, there's been a lot of discussions about the best way to get where we need to go with all of the things. i know there's an attempt to get this to the floor as soon as possible. but at the same time, as we've all said, i mean, this is one of the biggest issue is a senator will ever way and on and let's make sure we do this the right way.
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>> what you want to know? [laughter] what's left to do? >> well, we are going to have our classified here and now and we are going to discuss with our colleagues about the process and moving forward. and when we come to a determination of people feeling comfortable about the process, we will determine the move forward on the resolution. i think the resolution as senator corker and i, with the input of members of both sides of the aisle, have achieved strikes of balance. it gives the president the wherewithal to have the limited military action that he's asked for in order to punish assad for the chemical weapons and killing of innocent civilians. at the same time it is tailored by having a time frame and at -- in it, and i certainly
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prohibiting american boots and troops on the ground. and i think that that is the center of the spectrum of the comments that we've heard on the hearings and from colleagues. showing you the senate office building on capitol hill now where the senate foreign relations committee is gathering shortly. the markup of the draft resolution authorizing the use of military force against syria. committee members are participating right now in a closed door intelligence briefing. this meeting expected to start shortly after that finishes. over on c-span, house counterparts on the foreign affairs committee get their turn to pose questions to secretary of state john kerry, defense secretary chuck hagel and joined chief of staff general martin dempsey during today's house hearing on whether to authorize military force and syria. we will have live coverage of that beginning in about 20 minutes, noon eastern. again, that one is over on
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c-span. and while we wait to bring you this markup, here is question time with members of parliament. christopher pitcher debate >> i'm sure the whole house would wish to join me in congratulating the duke and the justice of cambridge on the birth of their son, prince george of cambridge. i speak for the nation sending our congratulations and wish them and prince george a very happy and healthy life. i can assure honorable members they will be able to offer congratulations next monday when the motion is moved in the proper way. mr. speaker, this morning i had meetings with others and in addition to my duties in this house i shall have further such meetings later today.
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>> i express myself with the prime minister's congratulations to the royal highness there has been good economic news around the country. unemployment is down and the economy is growing. manufacturing is up. exports are up, construction is up. [inaudible] -- proposing to stop messing around, give it up and abandon the plan b. i think my honorable friend makes an important point. we have had welcomed news over the summer. export is up 5.8%, business is at the highest level since january, 2008. consumer confidence is up and the figures on construction, manufacturing services all going in the right direction. we mustn't be complacent. these are early days but it's because of the tough decisions this government took that we can now see progress and we also remember the party told us
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unemployment would go up and come down. they told us the economy would go backward, it's gone forward. it's time for them to explain how they were wrong and we were right. >> mr. speaker, i join the prime minister congratulating the to get the justice of cambridge on the birth of prince george. and i wish all of them all of the happiness in the world. at the g20 summit is completed tomorrow, will the prime minister do everything he can to get other countries to match the u.k.'s important commitment to alleviate this humanitarian situation and syria. given one-third of the syrian families have been forced to flee their homes and yet the u.n. has left them half of the resources that it needs. >> prime minister? >> of course i will be taking that action because britain has a proud record on humanitarian aid but not just in this
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conflict but previous conflict. in this on your the second largest aid donor that there has been. we spent over 400 million pounds. it's important that the g20 to make a number of points clear. the use of the chemical weapons, the desire for the peace process, and above all, getting the donor countries together and making sure we do everything we can so they live up to their responsibilities and everything we can to help the syrian people. >> mr. speaker, the civil war and syria and the refugee crisis are having profound consequences not just in that country, but across the middle east specifically jordan, turkey and iraq, and especially in lebanon where the population is up by 25% since the civil war began. what specifics beyond the welcome humanitarian assistance the government is providing can pretend to give these countries to deal with the burden on their infrastructure, economy? >> having seen for myself being
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in the refugee camp, the camp in jordan is now one of the biggest cities that there is in that country. we have well funded embassies, well funded diplomatic networks and close relations with lebanon and jordan and other relationships with the turks as well. we are doing everything we can to help them. we are well placed because we're spending serious money on the humanitarian programs. at the end of the day what we need is a solution to the crisis. we need the peace process to be put in place and we also need to make sure we are absolutely clear about the revulsion of in terms of chemical weapons and we should be making sure that our aid program is also helping get syrian people protection from the important chemical weapons attacks that they've suffered. >> the of revulsion of the chemical weapons attack is shown on all sides of the house as a debate as they made clear. and i wanted them to come on to t
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there is no difference with in this house because all sides of the house have the need to stand up for the innocent people in syria today at the question at the issue -- i think the house in a measured way should carry on doing that. the point is how to do that. now mr. speaker, there are large barriers as we found out over the last year or more so the geneva peace talks are actually happening. can i ask the prime minister though whether there is the case for the knee-jerk talk between the parties back in the country is backing the rebels and the countries backing of the regime? that happened in the civil war in lebanon and with at least provide a basis for discussion. >> i agree with the right honorable gentleman that britain should use all of its diplomatic
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muscle to discuss with those countries that goes back to the regime and to join with those countries that back the rebels in the opposition to try to bring those talks about. that is why i have had brief heated discussions with president putin most recently last monday. and why i traveled to see him specifically to discuss this issue. but i come back to this point it is all very well for the countries supporting either side to want these peace talks to take place. what you also need is for those people involved in the conflict in syria to recognize it is in their interest to see a peace process start to begin. now, i think we can convince the syrian national council if it is in their interest because the transition could lead to the genuinely free elections and change for syria. but we need the regime itself to realize that it is in his interest, because there is no victory that he can win against his own people. and for that to happen, we do need to take and the world needs
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to take a very tough response to the things like the chemical weapons attacks. now i accept that britain can't be proud of any military action on that front. but we must not in any degree give up our other revulsion of the chemical weapons attacks that we've seen coming and we've expressed this point in every form to the member. >> mr. speaker, nobody disagrees with revulsion on the use of chemical weapons. as i said, the question is how to deal with it. now, now, the thing i said to the prime minister is that given the difficulty -- given the difficulty of giving direct talks moving between the syrian government and the opposition, where there isn't the case for getting their regional partners involved. now we all know that if iran -- the roll iran has played in fuelling this conflict. given the successful diplomacy involves what is the government position on the iran participating either in the contact group or as a part of the geneva process.
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>> as the foreign secretary said yesterday he will be meeting with the iranian foreign minister when he is in new york for the u.n. general assembly. but let's not forget what iran has actually done to our embassy and to our country. we shouldn't put that on one side. the point i would make to the right honorable gentleman is of course we all want east peace process to take place. we all want geneva to happen. but we can't wanted more than the participants involved in syriac's bloody conflict, and we have to make sure it is in their interest that these talks go ahead. that's why yes, diplomacy is important. but the work we do with the syrian opposition that supports democracy and the pluralistic fair future for syria that is important. bigger standing up for millions of syrians who have been bombed and blasted out of their houses. those are the people you need to talk to in the refugee camps in jordan and elsewhere to see how they feel, how bad the rest of the world is currently letting them down. >> nobody disagrees with that,
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or indeed the view we take about iran's behavior. the question is -- the question is how are we going to bring the parties together including their regional parties? and finally, mr. speaker, they're remains support across the country for bread and taking every diplomatic, political and humanitarian effort to help the syrian people. and last week's vote was not about britain shutting its global responsibilities. it was about -- it was about preventing a rush. >> the house of commons voted clearly and i said i respect the out come out of that vote, and i won't be bringing back plans for the british participation in military action. i agree with him we must use everything we have in our power come out for diplomatic networks, our membership of all of the key bodies, the g8, the key 20, the u.n., e.u., nato, all of that influence to bring
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to bear. my regret last week as i don't think it was necessary to bring the house on the votes for the decision that it was. >> thank you, mr. speaker. leave here today if the services business activity index is at the highest level for six and a half years. does this show the government's economic policies are working and whether the prime minister commit to ensure the increased prosperity and to participate? [laughter] >> looking at the proposal he makes i know that she wants it connected in our country and he puts that case regularly. but the good news about this economic recovery, relievo as it is, is we are seeing it in more people. there are 935,000 more people employed than there were when the government came to office.
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1.3 million private sector jobs and we need to see further progress on that because the best route out of poverty industry to improve living standards in the country is to see an increasing number of the men and women in work. >> thank you mr. speaker. may i approach the prime minister on the relations with iran? with respect to him, his previous answer sounded as if he'd taken into account the fact that since our embassy was outrageously [inaudible] there had been an election in iran, however imperfect, that has led to an individual becoming president who to my knowledge is someone the british prime minister can deal with pity and can i ask him to look very closely how we take steps now to improve relations to identify those common interests and try to get them involved in
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solving syria? >> i agree that the but the election of a president who has a greater commitment to reform is a positive step. and i've written to the president to raise a series of issues that needs to be settled between britain and iran. we need to see progress on what the president himself has said is important. we have seen some relief and sanctions we should do this not from a position of just hoping for the best. we have seen what this country in the iran has been capable of in the recent past. so should we go into these sorts of discussions very cautiously? >> does the prime minister agree to inform the public debate? is the prime minister aware that 4% of the people believe that he
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is still alive? they think that the member is not a natural leader. >> i can see that my honorable friend has put the summit to good use. i'm grateful for the question. you need to see a round of opinion polls before you can see the trend. [laughter] why does the prime minister believe that the lobby is an organization for the salvation army, the countryside right through? >> i was listening to the exchanges before i came into the prime minister's question. it's being run by the trade union and they manage to convince the member of parliament.
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we all know what is going on. they don't want the trade union brought within all. they want the trade union to go on spending millions after millions trying to offer a campaign rather than having them until all. that is the lobbying bill is about. thank you mr. speaker. the u.k. is to allow 50 million pounds by hosting a around the world of the race that kicked off this week. would the prime minister come to see one of the top marines and come gradually and -- congratulate. >> i think my friend is absolutely right. i have seen a model of this vessel and i join in welcoming the fantastic contribution they make to the british economy to begin a was great to see the race will to london for the first time and better to see
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them there by the british food and superbly supported by the great campaign to come but i wish all of those taking part. >> to take the prime minister back can he be more positive about building a better relations with iran as one of the keys to bringing about the peace process and syria and across the whole region since attacking iran all the time isn't going to bring them to the negotiating table it is quite better and she's quite positive about it. >> if you are trying to it depends on the actions they take. now given that the iranian government was complicity in the completely smashing of the embassy and the residence in tehran, we will want to see some action so that we can build that
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sort of relationship. now, i have reached out by riding with the president perhaps congratulating him on his exception to power and wanting to discuss these issues. but if we believe there is just some magic team to this hearing in conflict buy suddenly adopting a totally different posture towards iran i don't think that we are making a very good decision. >> we saw the proportion. if my right honorable friend would agree there is further evidence all of which prost by the party opposite. >> i think my friend makes a very good point. in the second quarter of 2013, three and half million households in the u.k. that are down 182,000 on the year and it's down 425,000 since the election in each one of those statistics tells a story about people who've been able to get into work and provide for their
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family, make something of their lives. we should be proud of the welfare reform that we have put through every single one opposed by the party opposite. we haven't just saved 83 billion pounds of the welfare measures that they oppose and we effectively given hope to the millions of families in the country to yet >> is it not time to join us in thinking that surely the american strike now would have the opportunities offered by the new iranian leadership and by the new u.s. initiative and palestine? will the prime minister do what people want to insist that she 20 searches for a way to bring about this cease-fire rather than the new rate? >> as i said i respect the decision the house came to after the date last week and britain
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won't play a part in the military action. but i would ask if we could put ourselves in a moment in the shoes of the president of the united states and others. she said a very clear line that if there was a large scale chemical weapon used, something has to happen. now, we know that the regime used chemical weapons on at least 14 previous occasions. and i think to ask the president of the united states having said that red line and having made that morning to step away from it i think that would be a very perilous suggestion debate because in response i think that you would see more chemical weapons attack from the regime. now of course the right honorable lady has to do good track record of supporting peace and supporting peace talks and i respect that. i will do everything i can to try to bring the geneva peace talks together. but i don't believe there is a contradiction taking a line on the use of chemical weapons that are reporting in the modern world and also wanting the peace talks to bring this crisis to an
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end. >> thank you mr. speaker. it is half of that in birmingham, half. and academic research suggests that the current funding formula discriminates against rural areas and against older people. does the prime minister share my view that we would move as quickly with possible towards the corollary as? >> my honorable friend makes an important point that even though we have given a lot of these decisions away from the minister's, they have said that they are looking at a fair funding formula and i am sure they will get the argument that he's made and they are asking to look at the drug fund which is a phenomenal success. sadly it hasn't been copied in whales' but on full of hope and they helped many of the constituents to get what they badly need.
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>> can the prime minister tell us what he's doing to support the food banks to the united kingdom? >> what we have done is something the food bank had been asking for for years but sleeper didn't grant them because they were worried and that was the devotee to say to people who needed help because they could go to the food bank. that might be something that they didn't want to do because it was bad publicity to the and we did it because i was the right thing. >> thank you very much. does the prime minister agree that the combination of the good weather and the reduction and the control the public spending has given confidence to create 1.3 million jobs? however, given these encouraging figures the opposition still believes the policy would cost a million jobs. >> my honorable friend there
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wasn't good news to be had over the summer but it's important that we recognize what is the good news about? there was a key judgment the parties had to make about whether in this parliament to get to the deficit and to take the tough decisions that we needed to turn our country and around. we made those top decisions on this side of the house and the party launched every single one of them. >> thank you mr. speaker. the governor is right. the figures show, however, the council's won't have sufficient places. can the prime minister guarantee that all of those children will actually have one? >> we have put in place the funding to provide that for the disadvantaged to-year-olds and i'm confident they will receive the services that they deserve. islamic my constituency is lower than any sense 2010.
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locally we organized the successful -- my right honorable friend agrees with me this goes to show the government has the economic plan to fight by the members opposite. >> my friend is right. the figures on unemployment are encouraging. there are more people working in the country than ever before. there are more people in private sector employment than before and a record number of women working in the country and almost a million more people in work compared with the situation that we inherited. at some stage, the party opposite is when to have to get off the bench and admit that they got it wrong. even today the chancellor is saying that he's going to borrow even more, even when we started turning about the economy he has learned absolutely nothing. >> three points for the profit
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windfall while they face energy bills giving up by 300 pounds a year. why does the prime minister failed to stand up to the energy company and get the energy market for ordinary families to do this and i don't know where the lady was on the energy bill that the government is legislating to make sure that people are put on lowest tariffs. this government has done that. when the leader of the party was energy secretary that incidentally the bill went through the roof there was none of this sort of action. >> given that the have resigned the figures upward to the growth of 10% that there are a record number of very low unemployment, very good conditions for people to get into work this my right honorable friend think that all of this would have been in exchange if he'd taken the advice of the chancellor? >> it's interesting what my honorable friend says any time
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there is a question about the economy and more people in work, there are more business is getting established and that our economy is growing, the party opposite don't want to hear a word about it. they know what the whole country can see. britain's exceeding and labor is failing to use chemical the prime minister accept any responsibility that on the wages an average thief lost 6,660 pounds in real terms while he has been number ten. >> there is only one sustainable way to get the liver living standards and that is to get the economy growing which we are doing and to cut the taxes to keep the mortgage rates low which is what we are doing and if we listen to the party opposite who only had one plan to spend more and borrow more and build up more we would be back to where we started.
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>> as this has unfolded we've always had the armageddon question in the back of my mind which i shall now in an understated forum put to the prime minister. if the americans bombarded the asset forces and legally invite the russians and to the greed the rebels, what would -- nato ? >> we discussed this at length last week and the only way the action can be legal is a u.n. resolution so we would only support the action that is legal and only support the actions that were proportionate to read as i've said they wouldn't be taking part in any of this
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action. but any way you have to put the armageddon question out of the way which is that in the know way president obama's red lining in this election is taken following the use of the chemical weapons, you have to ask yourself what sort of armageddon of the syrian people going to be facing a. >> is for the people living over 2 million pounds. because some people living -- tell me how does he run that with the support on the group who have no cash? >> i think first of all he has to get it clear what is a tax and what isn't a tax. in all the changes there was a subsidy for people who have additional room and we believe
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it is fair that the same rules in the private sector accommodation and in the council accommodation. but the question is now for a labor. you've granted and raved about the subsidy. are you going to reverse it? are you going to reverse it? the subsidy klaxon that means no and that means yes absolutely nothing to say thank you mr. speaker. it is no trivial decision for someone to leave their home and their country fleeing for their own safety. how many people must have left syria before it is impossible for its regime to declare any kind of moral entitlement to the government -- to govern the country? >> i don't believe that the
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regime has any legitimacy. i don't believe that it's treated its own people. i think the bombing of its own citizens and now this use of chemical weapons i see this as a completely illegitimate regime. but what we now have to do is bring every pressure to bear for the transition so that we can end up in syria and totally different hands. that is what is required. >> thank you mr. speaker. because it has spiraled to 285 in fact won academy, 70% have to take out loans why does the prime minister failed to act so they are now leading to the loans for the profit of companies >> like many people and parents i think it is absolutely right for schools if they want to choose to have a tough and robust uniform policy. i was at the opening of a new preschool in birmingham
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yesterday where all of the parents in that room were very grateful of the fact for the policies they had. i happen to see the honorable lady is just trying to find a way to oppose the free schools. we have 194 preschools in the country but they don't like it because parents think it is a good education. two-thirds of the schools are either good or outstanding and that some states just as they got it wrong over the economy, the labor party is going to have to admit they got it wrong about free schools -- preschools as well. >> it costs the ministry of the defense 1.4 billion pounds to extend the life of the submarines in order for the democrats to have the study of alternatives. now that study has shown that there is no alternative for the
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submarines so that we can never again be blackmailed by the liberal democrats. >> i have to credit the honorable gentleman for the efficiency on this issue on which basically i agree with him. it is the right approach and we need to renew that. it saved money rather than cost money. the point about the review is absolutely right. it shows that if you want to have a proper functioning deterrent, then you need to have the best and that means permanently for on the based alternative and that is what the conservative only government will deliver.
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>> it's more of the creature from the house and that affects the interest on the government but what the honorable gentleman has to say and must be heard. is it not the case that the real wages have fallen by nearly 1500 pounds per year since he became prime minister? >> of course we live in tough times. we have had to clear up from the party opposite but i have to say the party opposite complaining about the economy, complaining about the living standard is like complaining to the brigade because this is the government turning the economy around and that is the way that we are going to turn this up. >> only recently awarded by the department skills and the most prestigious award for the u.k.. but my right honorable friend wish to -- [inaudible]
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>> i certainly congratulate the businesses. the fact of the recovery is that it is a private sector recovery. that is what we need it after the mass of extensive government spending and it's very good business up and down the country and turning to keep people down and getting the economy moving. >> as you can see we are still waiting for the senate foreign relations committee markup session to begin debate centers this morning have been participating in a closed door intelligence briefing on capitol hill. we expect the market to begin shortly after that meeting concludes. the draft resolution put together following yesterday's hearing would prohibit any american boots on the ground that limit military action to 90 days and require a report from the administration the killing any support for opposition groups in syria.
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according to the associated press this morning republican senator john barrasso of wyoming is a member of the foreign relations committee and said that it isn't clear whether the committee would vote on the resolution today. also, news today arizona senator john mccain is a leading voice on the foreign relations within the republican party. he said that he will not vote in favor of the resolution in its current form. now overruns' he's in right now house counterpart, foreign affairs committee are about to gavel and in a hearing with the secretary of state john kerry, defense secretary chuck hagel and martin dempsey. they are going to consider the use of military force and syria. that is live right now on c-span. while we continue to wait on c-span2 for the senate markup session to begin, we are going to show you a discussion from this morning's washington journal on u.s. intervention in syria.
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>> host: american enterprise institute today she is the vice president for the foreign and defense studies. good morning. what do you think about the president's proposal made so far for syria? >> it's not one that confuses anyone with a great deal of confidence of the presidents in the game is and what his team is and what strategy is a part of it. i think that is part of the reason why the president's policies haven't been popular. the polls this morning show there is limited support in the public for a strike on syria and part of the reasons for that is i think people understand instinctively that there is not enough of a narrative there from the president of >> host: do you support it personally? >> guest: it is hard for me i will be honest with you. i've been urging the president to do more on syria for two years. there was an article in the journal detailing how i felt the united states could be helpful to the rebels in conducting a series of strikes on airfields and things like that.
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this is one of the missiles into an empty tank that does nothing to help the rebels get stopped the chemical weapons to be there's nothing to shift of the war. this just makes people mad. >> if there is a scope that needs to be a bigger picture what will that look like? >> the bigger picture has to be a very comprehensive plan pity they cannot just be made up of military action certainly not by the united states it needs to come sure if you want to take out the ec w keep a devotees also take up the ability to supply and take up the ability to receive the weapons transfers from russia and iran and others. so going after the airfields and aircraft and even the rotary wing the president said three months ago this is something that his administration was going to do but nothing has happened. it's quite striking. nothing has happened. now the president didn't make a lot of sense out of the
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announcement either. again. if you want to do things like this, you have to explain to the american public. >> what do you make about the strategy to go to congress that meets all starting in the weekend and now the the date on capitol hill? >> guest: i spent ten years on the senate foreign relations. i'm not going to criticize the president for going to the representative of the american people and asking their counsel seeking their authorization. on the other hand, the hypocrisy of the president moves and strikes me just a little bit. when it was a question devotee of the president did not see the need for the more things of strikes or operations to go. now he does. i can only assume this is really just a deled tactic for him because he's not actually got the coverage of the convictions that he expressed last week. >> now the senate foreign relations committee a draft on the legislation what he needed the authorization as far as language is concerned and what is the possibility to change as the senators to date this?
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>> the compromise the was laid out last night the screen to be voted on again this morning in the foreign relations committee is a very narrow authorization. so it is an additional 30 days if the president asks for it. it's very limited scope of strikes on chemical weapons related facilities. it specifically prohibits actions and some reasonable boots on the ground and some perhaps less reasonable to take out additional marginal threats for example to our own facilities. this is going to let him in that way. i think that if the president wants this authorization from congress and the secretary of state and the joint chiefs and again today he at least once the appearance of its i think it will pass and i think the president will have to accept what congress does. >> host: from your home you don't think it is enough. >> guest: i don't think it is
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enough. whenever you are engaged in using american military power and those that are really unclear you're making a mistake. you are abusing the military and abusing your power, and you are not advancing any particular strategy. that is the problem here. no one has been able to answer the very simple question. why are you doing this? will they be able to use chemical weapons again? probably. we aren't going to hit all of the stockpile. if he loses the war because of what we are going to do, know. do we have a strategy of empowering the rebels? not that i can think of to the that is the biggest concern of the people let oppose it. on the other side, and you don't want any president of the united states once he decides to take military action as commander in chief to be hamstrung by
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congress or by the kind of let haitians the congress is now discussing. this is the detention at b.c.. i want a robust policy on syria. that is the president of the united states said. i just don't understand why he hasn't been more decisive putting together a strategy. >> the limitation you talk about was in the language yesterday specifically the boots on the ground. >> i think the boots on the ground or an absolute no go. we don't add the value here for the boots on the ground but there is a more important thing for people to understand. i am a big believer in democracy. i always have been and i think it is something the united states should fight for an stand for people fighting for it. it was a brutal and terrible dictator and somebody that oppress the people for decades now. these are cool people and the main supporters for the ai iranian supported terrorism.
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so it isn't just a humanitarian question. you know, what should we be doing in these instances? if people want to overthrow a leader like that, we should be doing our best to end our best among them to do so if we agree and i think we do agree with their teams we just haven't done anything. that is allowed al qaeda to the game and the muslim brotherhood and it has really helped make a mess of what is going on in syria. >> host: with a subtle 8:30 if you want to ask questions but was revealed when it comes to the strategy you can give a talk called on three lines democrats (302)585-3880. republicans (202)585-3881 and independent 285-3882. you can also join on a tractor and can send an e-mail to journal@c-span.org. as far as arming rebels the question has always been which wants to arm and with the end
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result and if there is a result to doing that. >> guest: there's always going to be a slippery slope. it's dangerous. i think the argument that is important to understand is there are people arming some of the rebels. the saudi government for arming of the rebel for quite some time. i but say it is more so arming the most extremist among the rebels. they were getting all of the help and meanwhile those that were more aligned with our values and those that want a space future for syria and those that support the secular does some and the minorities and syria which there are a significant number that want to protect them the tiffin getting the short end of the stick because it is only the western power that would support them. but contract in the foreign policy is never a good idea to
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beat >> host: he has the accountability issues when it comes to the planned newly -- the only plan now there was a limited strike. >> are we going to be giving them credibility if we go with a limited strike? the day after with a week after or the month after he climbs out of his rathole and says i've stood up to the strongest power on the face of this earth. now it is business as usual in and he may say by the way i'm not going to use chemical weapons anymore because i don't like it just happened. but i'm going to continue to use the conventional weapons and go on with business as usual and the thousands are going to be killed and our allies are going to say what is the matter with the united states? you said you would do something about this. you did a limited strike but you didn't finish it spot off and the question is just as bad as it was to be and what does that
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do to the credibility? and that concerns me. >> let me speak to that. that is a good question. first of all, i think the general will tell you that he may be able to crawl out of the whole and say look i survived. but there is no way that with reality and other assessments he is going to be able to see that he is better off. there is no question that whatever traces are made by the president that he and his military effort will not be better off. >> host: >> guest: i think he asked the right question to the i watched about two and a half hours of that hearing yesterday, and again, think of me as someone who was pretty sympathetic to the idea that we need to do something about al-assad and that we need to help the rebels and i have to tell you i thought they were incoherent and i thought they made a bad case for themselves. i thought that frankly secretary
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john kerry and secretary hagel embarrassed themselves, contradicted themselves and -- first of all i just wrote down a quote from his answer. based on, quote, reality and assessments. i'm sorry, but lacks reality and other assessments. are there other assessments? they just cannot explain the policy because it is incoherent. you know, if we care about syria, then what is the number? 110,000, 100,000, 90,000? at the end of the data we care about the chemical weapons used but we don't care about how the children die because it is 400 plus children that are in this mirror of gas attack that took place in late august. what do we care about? what are hour of objectives here? secretary john kerry was asked about but it's on the ground and he said well maybe. then someone caught it and went after him and he said well, no.
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again, i don't think that they inspired confidence. what they gave everybody was kind of a ham sandwich and a democratic loyalists supported them. and republicans to believe the congress needs to stand by the commander in chief and that we need to do more and syria also supported them that they didn't do a very good job. >> host: james on atwitter to we have any solid evidence that she was in it on the first place? >> guest: this is a knorr right seen out there and this is the kind of thing to use the vernacular that bumpbed me out. in the united nations agreed that the germans, the french and many others agreed that chemical weapons were used as physical evidence as a chemical weapon. it's been collected by the u.n. inspectors. seen the physical evidence of individuals who were attacked. and the other ngos have been out there. i don't think that we have a lot of doubt about this happening.
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and the assertions by al-assad, which by the way were used last time on the chemical weapons and people forgot about that because it was a smaller scale. the assertions made by al-assad that this was done by the rebel do not hold water. they have the sort of supply and in many cases on the first attack they do not have the delivery mechanism. in the first attack, these chemicals were delivered by air. i think it's a credible solution. >> host: the call from panama city florida on the independent line. you are not first for danielle pletka. good morning. >> caller: good morning. my main statement would be benghazi. remember we went in there without boots on the ground. you see how that turned out. and again, a second point about babies. if you don't think that he won't have babies wind up on the sidewalk after an attack, you are crazy.
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there is no way to win this thing if we go in and strike. it's just a stay out policy or it's going to be another benghazi. at the worst, it's going to be babies lined up on the streets and, you know, we are or what he kind of supporting this kennel in the first place. so we have to look at who we are really supporting on this. you know, it's a little embarrassing for the president but he is the one that opened his mouth and inserted his foot. that's all i would like to say. thank you. >> guest: i have heard a lot of these and obligee's to benghazi. i guess the president set himself up for that because libya was so important that syria was not important in his world view. the analogies are not really that apt. we had an ambassador on the ground in benghazi and the cia station and some consular officials. that's not what we have on the ground and syria. we don't have anyone on the
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ground and the president is not proposing to put anyone on the ground. in fact the biggest criticism i heard what we didn't do in benghazi but we are proposing to do in this hearing that is hit them with a couple of well-placed missiles, should have done something about the al qaeda that was seeping into benghazi and that would have stopped and as for stevens and others from being killed. so i don't think the analogy is asked but i think the president set himself up. >> host: new york. edward, good morning. a democrat line. >> caller: thanks for taking my call. what i wanted to know is do they really believe that, you know, shooting missiles into this place isn't going to spread these chemicals even further? you know what i'm saying? it's not likely destroy the conventional weapons, chemical weapons. wouldn't that spread? why is washington not trying to do anything to stop what's going on over there? they are the biggest supporters of them, right? so that's my question
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>> guest: well done. i think that's a very good question. in the first case on the technical aspect of what a strike would look like, what we hear through the news media and the leaks from the white house is the president isn't proposing to strike an actual chemical stockpile, which i think is risky although again chemicals are very unstable. they do risk if you hit them with a missile they will likely burn up and spread. that being said, i think the proposition is to go after the means of delivery of the chemical weapons and perhaps some of the units that are involved in the dispersal of chemical weapons. that's just some of the things i've seen in public reporting. for the russians, they are playing a complicated game here. and while i think that it may prove putin ego i don't think that they have the strategic interest. put him likes to play this communist nostalgic game we are a great power on the united
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states and you choose yours in the middle east and we will choose hours and that will kind of be a nice balance of power. and i don't think that is the case. i also think at the end of the day that al-assad is not going to remain in power. let's hope who is thereafter is better. but even if there were, let me tell russia something. are you listening? >> host: so the president going to st. petersburg even for the g20? >> guest: i think the message from the president is going to try to shore up our side versus putin. the problem for putin is russia -- excuse me, syria is the only port in the middle east. it is one of the few allies and that is not going to be there for them now that he has taken the wrong side against the syrian people. he gave an interview and he was a little more critical. he said he would be open to the security council resolution if it would prove chemical weapons were used. maybe that is a trap, let's hope it is the latter.
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.. >> host: the military action is part of a broader strategy. >> guest: it's part of a broader strategy, but not as the caller suggested, to go after hezbollah or iran. you know, i think that there are people who suspect wrongly that this is just a pretext for the president to go in and start
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bombing everybody we don't like. and -- [laughter] that might be nice in some cases because, goodness knows, we're going to need a strategy to deal with both hezbollah and iran, and the president doesn't have one. that being said, i don't think the construction of the resolution as it came out of the senate foreign relations committee last night is going to allow the president any such latitude. it's very specific about targets in syria. >> host: mary up next from longwood, florida, independent line. hello. >> caller: hello, how are you? good morning. i just want to point out this nice lady is a representative of aei. a lot of the aei scholars were pretty much the leading ash texts of the second -- architects of the second bush administration policy like john bolton. and i know that syria's oil is nationalized and the e.u. puts sanctions on that, so shell -- one of the few companies who are allowed to do business within syria -- have been squashed for
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this, during this civil war. and i'm wondering if we went in, the e.u. lifted these sanctions, if they went down to the nitty-gritty, i think this is all about the oil. because like the aei, they're an independent nonprofit, and they're supported by corporations, corporates we don't even know, and that's my only comment. going to receiver ya, we need to -- syria, we need to take business here at home and -- [inaudible] >> caller: no. to the congress who vote yes to this, you marked your little hineys, you take your sons and your grandsons and you go on over there. that's all i have to say. >> host: thanks, caller. >> guest: i'm always disappointed when i hear that. i think john mccain and lindsey graham who are two big proponents of a robust strategy in syria gave am my in -- amply in service to their country, and i'm sorry to hear anybody criticize them or any other
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person who's serving their country whether in congress or anywhere else. let's talk about syria. syria has almost no oil. it's one of the biggest disappointments for the assad dictatorships over the years. last time i looked, which was a little while ago, they had a ten-year supply of oil sufficient for domestic use. they are an incredibly poor country; resource poor, syria's greatest wealth has always been its people people, its entrepreneurs. and i hope that'll remain the case. i don't think oil companies have a great interest in the outcome here except insofar as turmoil in the middle east is bad for business. >> host: the past couple of days, ever since saturday, you've heard the term war weary. what happened, what's in your mind especially since your experience during the iraq war, you know, as far as going forward if there are comparisons when people bring up iraq and
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afghanistan? >> guest: you know, my colleague, tom donnelly, has really developed what i would only call a mania on this expression, war weary, and i'm very sympathetic to him. how many people who are among the war weary of america are actually serving in our voluntary armed forces? less than 1%. who is fighting the 300 million americans or those guys who volunteered for our all-volunteer army? what exactly are the american people weary of when we use this expression? are they weary of talking about it? are they weary of spending on it? because if they're weary of spending on it, are they also weary of social security, and are they weary of medicaid? because let me tell you, we're spending those at a much faster clip than we are on any conflict on any pentagon account. so i'm not quite sure what anyone means when they say war weary. we are a great power, and we want to remain a great power, and we want to continue to enjoy
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the privileges of great power. and one of those is understanding just what we need to do overseas. sometimes that involves our military, more often it doesn't. but people should make no mistake, our strength and our nation and the way it is constructed right now and the privileges and the economy that people have come to enjoy was built on american power, not on american war weariness. >> host: and yet you've heard that term from the president, you'vehead it -- >> guest: i do, and it's become a cliche, you know? it's the kind of cliche that led the former president, jimmy carter, to talk about malaise in the country much to his own detriment, you know? yes, i understand that people are sick of the problems of the middle east, because the problems of the middle east are big, and they're intractable, and they're hard to solve, and they affect us in ways we don't want them to affect us. that being said, you know, those who are fighting for us aren't
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complaining, and they represent a very small part of this country. they and their families and the people who support them. i give them full credit, and i, i'm amazed by the things that they do. i only wish that we were supporting them more. >> host: our guest, danielle pletka of the american enterprise institute. you're on, sir, go ahead. >> caller: hey, how you doing? >> host: go ahead. >> caller: i had a question. israel launched missiles into syria a few months ago, i wonder if that was illegal, and do we still have to back israel up for those missiles launched if syria were to respond back to israel? thank you. that's about it. >> guest: that's actually a really good question from the caller. so israel has gone in actually more than once from the air and taken out shipments either from iran or from russia to hezbollah.
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these are what israel has described as game-changing weapons, weapons with very substantial range, weapons that can take on much more substantial targets, and israel has gone in -- i hope i'm getting this right, i think three times -- and taken out such targets. the syrians have not retaliated against them in any meaningful way. what we're proposing to do is not a whole lot more dramatic than that, what the president is proposing to do. maybe unfortunately, and we've talked a little bit about that, but i think that syria's threats of retaliation are pretty empty if israel is any measure of that. >> host: headline of the washington post today about the u.s., with u.s. aid israel test firing missiles, long-planned exercise, had nothing to do with syria, according to the pentagon. michael in virginia, you're up next, republican line. >> caller: yes, hi, good morning. i just want to say that the decision by this administration to get involved in syria would absolutely be a wrong decision.
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again, we're making the wrong decision when it comes to foreign policy and the middle east. after what happened in libya and after what's happening in egypt now, i see the decision, the decisions made do absolutely very little but to harm our reputation in the middle east. now, i think that because, number one, getting in a war with syria would not in any way defend our national interests in syria. we are losing ground in egypt among young, moderate people. there were many egyptians here protesting this decision to get involved over the weekend. and number two, getting involved in syria would not protect the assets or enter the interests of our allies. israel knew all along that bashar's regime has chemical weapons. they didn't do anything about it, because their fear is not these chemical weapons are in his hands, the real fear is that if these weapons are possessed in the any way by the extremist groups. number three, we are -- the
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french opposition to the war, just cited a couple of days ago, that 80%, and i quote them, 80 percent of the attacks on the regime are done by al-qaeda, al-qaeda and the muslim brotherhood lead the majority of the rebels that we would be helping if we get involved in syria. >> host: caller, thank you. >> guest: we talked about this up front. when the president wants to do something in the middle east that involves military power after having spent the last more than five years in office because also his senate career saying that we don't belong in the middle east, that we have no stake in the middle east, that our military shouldn't be involved in the middle east, that we have no dog in the syrian fight, i understand exactly where this caller's coming from. if the president wants to do something like this, he needs to articulate to the american people what our interests are. i, i disagree with the caller. i believe we do have interests. but insofar as the president is the leader of our country and
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that bully pulpit has so much value, he has done nothing to build consensus around this. he has done nothing to explain to the american people what's at stake. it's not just syria. it is the spillover that's happening from syria into lebanon. we're seeing bombings now in lebanon, sectarian fighting in lebanon, we're seeing, you know, again, there are two million refugees as a result of what's going on. well over half a million straining the country of jordan, an important ally. we saw bombing yesterday on the turkish/syrian border. we're seeing the return of al-qaeda in iraq, all spillover from the syrian border. and we're seeing new powers position themselves on the golan heights to threaten israel. so the notion that we have nothing at stake, that we can somehow wash our hands of this, let them just kill each other, someone said that to me yesterday. i think it's false. but again, i'm just a lady sitting here on c-span. i'm not the president of the
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united states. it struck me so forcibly that when the president made a decision to arm the syrian rebels, he did so with a -- you mentioned ben rhodes -- deputy national security adviser doing a conference call on a friday afternoon and then waited the weekend, and then on monday night at 11:30 the president went on charlie rose on pbs, okay? not exactly a chat in prime time to the oval office, to talk more about the rebels. that's not what i call selling a policy. and so if people have doubts out there, no surprise. >> host: to the topic of what's at stake, what about other countries and how they watch us? >> guest: absolutely. you know, i think, again, it's not just the american people who are looking at the united states and scratching their heads. the gentleman who called said about egypt, he's absolutely right. everybody in egypt thinks we've let them down. the democratically-elected government that we didn't like, the muslim brotherhood, they think they were betrayed by the united states because we talk about democracy. those who believe in genuine democracy and secular freedom,
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the women, the young liberals in egypt, they think we've let them down because we let mohamed morsi, the muslim brotherhood good, run amok and, of course, the military thinks we've let them down as well. we're playing a lose/lose game, and make no mistake, that is by choice. and that's part of the problem this president has. >> host: ralph from ridgeway, pennsylvania, go ahead, please. >> caller: the president ran his mouth with this red line crap. the republicans are falling for it. they can't win either way. if it turns out good, then the president's going to take credit nor it. if it turns out bad, it's going to be it's all ant the elections in 2014. this doesn't have anything to do with anything. >> guest: well, i assume the caller's finished. i think that the axis that ralph made -- accusation that ralph made about the red line is absolutely true. part of the problem the president has is that, let me say it a little bit more
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graciously, that he was, let's say, rhetorically aggressive in talking about his red line last year in the context of a national election in which he was charged with being weak on national security. no, no, he said, i'm tough. i'm tough, and i'm especially tough on syria, and here's my red line. well, now unfortunately, the president has to lie in the bed that he made for himself, and i think he doesn't like it. that's part of what this game with congress is all about. i think he's trying to distance himself. i alsoty he's trying to wash his hands of the challenge. >> host: the deputy foreign myster of syria quoted this morning in the papers saying once a war starts, nobody can control what will happen. we believe that any attack on syria will result in chaos on the entire region. he also said it would strengthen extremist rebel factions, not the moderate fighters the u.s. has sought to bolster. what is the united states going to benefit from fighting the only secular political system in the region?
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>> guest: well, the baath party of syria has put together since 1970, they are -- we've forgotten just how bad the assads are. we've forgotten about how many were murdered under both the father and the son. this was a terrible regime. our interest is insuring that what comes next isn't worse as far as the deputy foreign minister is concerned with all respect due -- which isn't much -- i don't think we need to be taking advice from him about what, about what our aims are. but, again, mutual course of action. part of the reason he gets out there and starts to sound like he might be making a little sense is because the president isn't out there filling that vacuum. >> host: faye, democrats' line. >> caller: good morning, ms. pletka. >> guest: good morning. >> caller: yes. all summer the republican congress has said that they're coming back to washington to shut down the government and impeach the president.
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and this morning c-span has trotted you out to talk to us about intervention in syria. i think we have more serious problems in this country. thank you. >> guest: okay. >> host: roger is up next from salem, oregon. republican line. >> caller: yes. i'd like to encourage syria's assad to act rationally. i suggest that he has his military place the rumored 200 tons of chemicals and canisters on one of their large western beaches and then invite french and u.s.a. military navy forces to remove them. >> guest: a very interesting idea. now, if assad were serious about coming to some sort of negotiated agreement, of course, he would do something like that. he'd say, no, no, no, i didn't use them. in fact, here. i'm going to give you some of
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the chemicals that might be used for chemical weapons. of course, i don't have chemical weapons, i'm going to give them to you. inspectors, come in, take them from me. but, of course, assad is in this game to win it. he wants to defeat the rebels, he wants to retake power and reestablish his iranian proxy dictatorship all over syria, so he's not going to do something rational like that. i think there was a time a couple of years ago when he still was a person with whom one could potentially have a conversation. that day has long passed. >> host: frank from west virginia, and he's on our independent line. >> caller: good morning. i think you have got a really great job of ais accessing the situation over there -- assessing the situation over there, appreciate all the talking you've done this morning on it. two things i haven't heard much of, has anybody considered the wag the dog that we heard so much about when bill clinton was in there? nobody's talking about benghazi, the irs, the nsa. that's all a thing of the past now.
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but my main question is, there's a term that i haven't heard used much in this case, and i'm worried about it, it's mission creep. when john kerry talked about yesterday maybe boots on the ground in case we had to guard stockpiles of weapons, and then he backtracked on it, i'm afraid the people that are thinking we can really limit this and go in and just get that done and be out are not recognizing the danger of making more moves and more moves and finally we're in a big mess over there. i'd like to listen to your comments. >> guest: well, thank you for your comment up front, and two very good questions. there have been some accusations that there's a wag the dog exercise going on, that the president has suddenly become seized of the challenge of syria because, in fact, he wants to distract from whether it's benghazi or the irs. we have some polling experts at the american enterprise
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institute, i would say that perhaps the caller could be right, although i don't think he is, but i think it would be a possibility if, in fact, the american people actually cared about these scandals. shocking as it is to me living in washington, i'm utterly horrified about how the benghazi investigation has prosecuted, utterly horrified about the irs spying on stopping and hurting nongovernmental organizations. the american public is not excited about these issues. i think your listeners are. i think probably we're very interested in these questions, but the american public isn't as excited about all of this as i would have thought, and a lot of polling shows that to be fairly consistent. so i don't actually think the president needs to distract people from these things. the problem really is that the president isn't doing anything about any of these problems. he's not doing anything about the irs, he's not doing anything about benghazi.
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he's doing something half-assed about syria, and the republicans in the congress aren't, frankly, doing a terribly good job of holding the president's feet to the fire on any of these issues, and that's another challenge. i think all of the political parties are really letting people down. on the question of mission creep, we talked a little bit about that, and i actually mentioned that specific quote from senator kerry -- secretary kerry. i'm used to him as chairman of the foreign relations committee. and i think that there's every reason to suspect that there could be mission creep because we haven't gotten any context. so the administration keeps saying, no, no, no, there's not going to be mission creep, it's not going to happen, it's not going to change, nothing's going to happen. trust us. but, again, without all that context, without that narrative from the president, people are going to suspect. get out there, mr. obama. tell the american people what you're thinking. >> host: a couple of yale professors taking a rook at the united nations question when it
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comes to syria. they argue this question ignores the obvious. if the united states begins an attack without security council authorization, it would flout the most fundamental international rule of all, the prohibition on the use of military force for anything but self-defense in the absence of security council approval. others say it is legalistic, even naive to rely on the u.n. charter which has been breached countless times, but what is one more, especially when the alternative is the slaughter of innocence? each one makes it harder to hold others to the rules. if we follow kosovo and iraq with syria, it will be difficult if knot impossible to stop others from similar use of force down the line. >> guest: well, my late boss used to say i think we're going to have to degree to disagree. i'm a big believer in the constitution of the united states and not the united nations charter. i think it's the constitution that governs what the president does in this country, not the united nations charter. and i don't think that the american people believe when they vote that the united nations should be, should be an
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arbiter of what is in our national interest and what isn't. as to the question of too many precedents, well, first of all, the iraq war's legal because we had an authorization from the security council to enforce what the weapons inspectors were doing. so, again, i would assert an unnecessary technicality. i think what the president needs to do is to persuade the american congress and the american people. he can forget about the united nations, because, in effect, every time you go to the u.n., you're just giving a veto to the russians and the chinese. >> host: carl from vermont on our independent line. >> caller: hi. i just want to touch on the americans being war weary. when we chased iraq down, we saw a lot of our family members come back, friends and family members come back in coffins with american flags draped over them. americans became very weary when we were chasing around weapons of mass destruction, and we found out they didn't particularly exist. it's hard to go into another country and solve their problems
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when we see our families coming back for seemly unjust causes. thanks for the discussion. >> guest: a question of unjust causes is, i think, a matter of opinion. i spend a lot of time talking to our forces, and i don't think that there's any battle in america to see who's more sorry about our military that give the ultimate sacrifice in war. and the costs that that exacts on families. that being said, it is those soldiers and their families, the notion that americans are war weary because we're really tired of seeing those coffins with flags on them is a little bit callous, and i think it's important to look to what the military say about their efforts. the soldiers i talk to are enormously proud of the work that they've done in fighting terrorism and helping our country be safer.
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>> host: one more call from scott, west virginia, republican line. >> caller: hello? >> host: you're on, go ahead. >> caller: i was wondering, you know, if we created a war crime by using chemical weapons, why can we not arrest him, give him his day in court and whether he's guilty or innocent, give him his trial? can we do that? is that a possibility? >> guest: well, there are conventions against the use of chemical weapons, and in addition there are charges of crimes against humanity. a case can be brought in crimin. there are two sides to that question for the caller, and it's another 45 minutes of conversation. but part of the problem is when you indict somebody, it makes it much less likely that they're going to come to a negotiated settlement. that being said, i don't think assad is coming to a negotiated settlement. my view is indict him, try him. on the other hand, who's going to pick him up, who's going to deliver him? that question hasn't yet been answered. and what we see in other cases where there have been crimes against humanity and we've gone
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to the international criminal court or to other courts that have been set up is it's actually a mighty tall order to get squeeze folk into the dock. it was really only once we were able to win in the balkans that we were able to do that, and even that is a very, very complex and difficult process. >> host: danielle pletka, vice president for american enterprise institute, thanks for joining us. >> as you can see, we're still waiting for this markup session to begin. we're just getting word from the chairman, robert menendez, that the meeting's been postponed until about 2 p.m. eastern, just a little over an hour from now. senators today have been meeting behind closed doors about how to proceed with the syria resolution, and several of those members have come out of that closed door meeting to speak with our cameras. they include senators rand paul, john mccain and the ranking member of the committee, bob corker. here's a look.
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>> senator paul? could you come over and -- >> very briefly, because i'm hungry. >> okay. we don't want to keep you. are you all going to vote today? >> yes. i think there will be a vote today, and we will vote on a resolution for use of authorization of force to involve ourselves in the syrian civil war. >> you going to -- has it been changed? >> it's not the same as the administration. it'll be created by the committee, and it will be slightly different and will have some limitations on it. it's not finally crafted. it'll be amended or votes on amendments will occur in the next hour or two. >> no way you're going to vote for it. >> i don't see a clear cut or compelling american interest. i see a horrible tragedy, but i don't want see that our involvement will lessen the tragedy. i think it may well make the
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tragedy worse. i think more civilian deaths could occur, i think an attack on israel could occur, an attack on turkey could occur, more russian involvement, more iranian involvement. i don't see anything good coming -- >> even with the narrow language, you're not going to be a yes? >> no. because i think our involvement may make the situation worse. >> thank you. >> [inaudible] republican colleagues -- [inaudible] >> you know, i'm not sure exactly what the vote will be. i think they will win the vote in the committee. i think they will win the vote in the senate. the only chance of stopping what i consider to be bad policy will be in the house. thanks. >> thank you. have a good lunch. [inaudible conversations]
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>> we had a very good morning with administration witnesses, and we're going to reconvene in an hour, and my sense is we have a really good chance of consensus developing. so anyway, i'll just leave it at that. i think amendments are going to be filed, as i mentioned, over the next hour. i think there may be some degree of flexibility regarding some verbal additions that may take place, but i began to see the possibility of a consensus developing. >> so you're going to change the language on boots on the ground to meet john mccain's -- >> i don't want to get into what
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may happen. i do think john will offer an amendment that, i think, will be constructive, and i think chris coons may be doing something similar. they may even work together. but we had a really good morning. it started off a little, you know, it's a big issue. and yet i think as time went on, there's a possibility -- i don't want to, i never want to overload and say things that are not going to happen. but i think there is a reasonable chance that maybe by the end of the day we'll be in a place where there's consensus. >> can you just discuss how hard it is to -- [inaudible] something that's narrow enough to, you know appease some and broad enough to appease others? >> yeah. look, on an issue like this and certainly on this one there is. i do think, again, just with the conversations we're able to have
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in a more flexible environment, again, i think we could well get there today, and i hope that we do. >> [inaudible] >> yeah. now, let me say this. we certainly are more than glad to convene again friday, saturday, sunday, monday and, you know, nobody -- everyone understands that there's no, there is some degree of need to get it to the floor within a certain amount of time. i think all of y'all understand all of the procedural hurdle les that can occur in the united states senate. i think most of you reported on that quite extensively, so i think people felt like the this morning, again, was informative. i think it allowed some consensus to develop and, hopefully, we'll see that this afternoon. ..
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as i would hope would be the case in a body like the senate, and my sense is that we have a really good chance of having a boat. just the opposite of what you said. >> when
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>> it's a little loose. here in the building in or normal place upstairs. >> [inaudible] >> no, it'll be closed for a little while, and then we'll open it up for the normal business -- >> will you go over to art for the markup? >> if there's a markup. i think there's going to be a markup. >> so you guys aren't necessarily ready to mark up yet? you're still behind the scenes -- >> i think there's a consensus that we're ready to markup, okay? and, again, i don't want to overload or overstate, but i'm pretty sure we will have a markup. matter of fact, i'm 99.9% sure we're going to have a markup in about an hour, okay? and we'll probably do a portion of it in a closed setting just
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to finish talking about some things that are sensitive, and then we'll move to the open debate which all of you will have the luxury and the tremendous privilege of watching, okay? [laughter] >> [inaudible] >> i think i've got a good sense, but i think i'll keep that to myself. and, again, we saw some terrain coming, and hopefully we'll cover -- >> was there any reworking of the -- [inaudible] >> i think we got it good because, again, there is some consensus developing, and i'll let the authors -- look, there's going to be a lot of, you know, there's going to be a lot of input as there should be, and i'd rather let those giving the input speak for themselves. i think we had a very, very constructive morning. >> but it sounds like you have
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more yes votes from republicans than you do -- >> i don't know where you all were guessing yesterday, and my television isn't working at home, and -- [inaudible] [laughter] [inaudible conversations] >> we received an excellent briefing from administration officials and secretary of state. one concern i have is concerning
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the military situation on the battlefield. senator graham and i were assured that three things would happen as a result of the united states' reaction to bashar as assad's use of chemical weapons. one is degrade his capabilities to deliver those weapons. second is increase our support of the free syrian army and the resistance forces. and the third is to change the battlefield momentum which presently is in the favor of bashar assad to reverse that which would then create conditions for a negotiated settlement and the departure of bashar assad of power. i believe it'll be very important that provisions
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concerning that, which is the's stated policy, be included in this legislation in some form. so we are negotiating and discussing how that could happen. we will be marking up the bill later on, but i think it's very important that we have that provision in this legislation, because without the provision for reversing the momentum on the battlefield, then conditions are not created for the departure of bashar assad. there is no policy without that, and there is no strategy without that except for significant attacking of facilities that deliver chemical weapons against the syrian, free syrian army. >> [inaudible] do that and still keep in the idea of having no combat troops
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on the ground? >> i don't, i don't think there's any doubt that there should be and is going to be a provision which prohibits any american combat troops on the ground. >> you still prepared to vote no if -- >> i want to have, i am of the strongest terms that we need to have that provision that calls for a reversal of momentum on the ground battle against bashar assad. bashar assad remains in an advantageous position. he will never leave syria. he has to know that he is losing, and that way you get a negotiated settlement for his departure. the president has said bashar assad must go, so our policy has to be to implement what the president of the united states has said. >> [inaudible] against the resolution? >> i am going to work to get this done. we'll see if we can't work it
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out. we'll let you know. >> do you feel comfortable based on the conversations that you've had that you can work it out? >> we're working hard on it. i don't know about the votes. >> but you would offer an amendment in the markup to try to get some of this language -- >> that's what i am working on. duh. [laughter] hello there. hello. captain video calling earth. of course; that's what we're trying -- i'm a member of the committee, and we're working on an amendment to achieve that goal. >> how does the -- [inaudible] would be incorporated in -- [inaudible] >> the, obviously, the increased support for the free syrian army and the degradation of their capabilities to deliver chemical weapons would have a salutary effect on the ground. >> do you feel confident that the administration will be comfortable with this language? >> i don'tnono president of thed states told me and lindsey
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graham exactly that he favored this change in the momentum on the battle and that secretary kerry has said the same thing. so i don't know why they should be resistant to that being a sense of purpose embodied in the legislation. >> but you heard general dempsey's comment on that yesterday. >> the language is not regime change. the language is reverse the battlefield momentum. okay? >> thank you, senator. >> remarks from senator john mccain and earlier you heard from ranking member of the committee bob corker telling reporters that the committee planned to meet in a closed session this afternoon to work on the resolution with the hope of returning this afternoon in open session. chairman menendez can has set that time for 2 p.m. eastern, but we'll continue to watch out
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for updates from that committee. that draft resolution put together after yesterday's hearing would prohibit any american boots on the ground, limit military action to 90 days and require a report from the administration detailing any support for opposition groups in syria. meanwhile, the house foreign affairs committee is in a hearing discussing syria. you can see that live right now on c-span. and while we wait for this senate foreign relations committee markup to start ott 2 eastern -- at 2 eastern, we're going to show you a portion of this morning's "washington journal." >> host: chris owens joining us from the national employment law project. she serves as executive director. good morning. >> guest: good morningings, pedro. >> host: we're talking about minimum wage. what was the point of the fast food workers' strike and what's the overall lesson for minimum wage? >> guest: i think fast food
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workers have just had far too much of far too little for far too long, and they're tired. and so they've gone out into the street toss say we need a living -- streets to say we need a living wage, and we need the right to organize into unions without retaliation. and they wanted to do something that would get attention, that would illustrate how hard they work and how little they get for their work. and so they took a very courageous act which is to strike, because many workers are fearful of doing that. but they went on strike in 60 cities, a thousand different fast food operations, thousands and thousands of workers, and some other retail workers joined the strikes as well. >> host: where duds minimum -- does minimum wage stand today? >> guest: there is legislation in both the house and the senate that would raise it to $10.10. it has a lot of co-sponsors and a lot of support, and we're anticipating a big fight and a big campaign around raising it. >> host: in 2008 we saw it at $6.55, back in 2007, $5.85.
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going back to the late '90s, $5.15. >> guest: right. we increased in 1996 when bill clinton was president, and it had been four and a quarter until 1996, it went up to 5.15, and then it was frozen at 5.15 until 2007 when an increase was passed, and it eventually became $7.25. unfortunately, this has been the history of the minimum wage over the last 30 some years. in 1968 the minimum wage was enough to lift a family of three from poverty with just one full-time worker. today that same family is 30% below the poverty line because the value of the minimum wage has just declined so much because congress has failed to consistently increase it, it hasn't kept up with inflation, it hasn't kept up with wage growth, and workers who earn the minimum wage or who earn just above the minimum wage have been falling farther and farther
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behind as a result. >> host: what's your take of why congress won't raise it? >> guest: i think that the issue hasn't been joined as dramatically and as effectively as it needs to be joined in this congress. i think we'll see more of that going into 2014. the fast food strikes, the retail strikes you referenced, even the walmart situation here in the district of columbia is really shining a spotlight on the crisis of low-wage work. we've always had bipartisan support for raising the minimum wage, but there's always been a fight to get to that, so i anticipate that's what will happen going into 2014, and as more and more members of both parties hear from their constituents about the damage we're doing to our economy overall by tolerating the expansion of low-wage worth -- work, it's just not something we can sustain. ..
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congress voted to freeze the tipped worker wage at $2.13 an hour. technically an employer so as to make sure that his or her employees earn the minimum wage. so they have to make up the difference. but it often is the case that tipped workers, largely women, it's largely waiters and waitresses, and largely women, often people of color, often find that their wages end up being less than the minimum wage. they get a paycheck, which is
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zero because all the withholding tax has been taking out of the tipped wage, a $2.13 an hour. these workers haven't seen an increase in the minimum wage since 1991. >> host: we associate minimum wage with teenagers or younger's. is that the case treachery ousley not. economic power institute has done an analysis of who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage of $10.10 an hour. 88% of those folks are over 20 and a third are over 40. the median age is 35. if you saw the clips from the fast food strikes over the last week, you didn't see a bunch of teenagers out there striking. use all working parents, 70% of fast food workers are over 20. a third of them have children. 40% have some college education. half of low-wage workers contribute at least half, or low-wage workers can to get at least half of their families fas income. so these are working adults
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whose families depend on the earnings that they get from their jobs. these earnings are just not supporting families. >> host: the lines will be on your screen. they are divided by party. special line for those of you who aren't minimum wage if you want to give their take on the topic. (202)585-3883. the heritage foundation took a look at the bureau of labor statistics figures when it comes to minimum wage. they came up with the myth they say to get your take. number one, huge number's of americans earn minimum wage. 2.9% of all workers in the trendy earn a minimum wage. myth number two, the working core earn minimum wage. more than half of minimum-wage workers between age of 16-24 and they work part-time.
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>> guest: this is a shell game. what the heritage foundation is doing is looking at a very tiny universe of people who earn exactly the federal minimum wage. what we are talking about and what the legislation in congress would address his people's wages would go up to $10.10 an hour if the men wage legislation passed. that universe is a much larger universe than those folks aren't just the minimum wage wage. that universe, 88%, working adults, and large a share have some college education. a large share support families on of the earnings. 30 million people, 30 million workers, roughly a court of our workforce would benefit from increase in the federal minimum wage. that's a fact. that's not a myth. >> host: stephen moore in "the wall street journal" takes a look at minimum wage issues as well. one of the things he highlights is active this, rarely mention
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the federal income tax credit that supplements full-time minimum-wage salaries by up to $6000 a year. >> guest: that's great. we need both policy. we need a strong minimum wage to help families and help workers who may not benefit from the earned income tax credit. we need a strong income tax credit to reward work and to incentivize work. there is no inconsistency in supporting both of these policies and saying that in a nation in which the top 1% of the population holds 20% of our national income. we should have sound policies that support people who work for a living. people who work fo for a livingn to earn a living from work. >> host: christine owens, national implement law project, joining us to talk about the minimum wage. jim, you're up first. democrat's line. good morning. >> caller: it is tim. >> host: sorry about that. go ahead, tim. >> caller: my point is this.
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if the complaint about the obscenely bloated salaries claimed at the top of the corporate food chain, we might hear conservatives argue that it's not a zero-sum game. if the boss takes a higher cut, it's not like there's a limited supply of good stuff for the little folks, but if we ask for a higher minimum wage, it's a different story. that's treated as a simple subtraction from business profit, but they will never get back. so i want to ask, until somebody figures it out. why was it a zero-sum game for business if we raise the minimum wage in -- can you comment on the hypocrisy of conservatives on this issue? >> guest: certainly. i think that is an excellent
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question. the reality you often hear people say, workers are earning the minimum wage because that's what the market demands. that's what the market drives. well, no one would suggest that the ceo of mcdonald's gets $13.5 billion compensation package because that's what the market price. the fact is, the rules are rigged and rigged in ways that keep wages down for working people. 60% of workers saw no real wage increases between 2000-2012, and between 2000--- 202012, wages for the bottom 5% of occupations, the bottom 20% of occupations dropped 5%. ceo compensation rose 16% last year. this isn't a market. this is policies and rules. its tax policy. it's wage policy. it is a driving consolidation of
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income at the top among those who already have plenty come and it is depressing wages of workers, of the vast majority of working people in this country, and we need to address that through policies that are designed to really be what we are about, which is a nation in which hard work is rewarded with an opportunity for economic security and economic advancement. we have sort of become unmoored from the dream and we are unfortunately drifting farther and farther away from that. we really need to address the. this is one reason why the minimum wage is so important. we have 12 policies that line the bottom of the labor market, that lift wages up, not just for the lowest paid americans but really for all workers. without such policies, all workers over. >> host: here is don from claremont california. republican line. >> caller: good morning. i think you guys are both focusing on the wrong problem.
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the problem is that she wants to make more union workers just like the teachers union, which is completely killing all the education in the world. we have got these people believing in global warming but they don't believe in god and to build and work ethics. we've got to be people a day out all these rules and regulations the key prevent people from working. house of representatives specifically the minimum wage? >> caller: the minimum wage is the wrong argument. your focus is on this is the just news give giunta also downd kids that keep voting for as they are instructed to give him college. into complete determined that they have of liberalism, they're not going to be happy until all cities in america look like detroit. >> guest: you know, i want to say i guess i want is a lot of things in response to that. one is i know plenty of people who believe in climate change in also believe in god and believe in the work ethic. the truth is, it is the decline
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of unionization in this country that is a significant reason why workers wages have declined so substantially. this is a fact. we don't have to call each other names or cast aspersions. it is a fact that workers wages have declined. it is a fact that unionization has declined. unions today and the private sector are less than 7% of the workforce. now, we saw post-world war ii as union density rose, workers' wages across the board roads. and similarly as unions has declined, workers' wages and income security and opportunities have declined. unions, whether they're and the private sector or in the public sector, including teachers unions which are strong advocates of good strong public schools, do a lot for all workers across the board. it is the attack on right of
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workers to organize unions. that is a big part of the reason why workers income and economic security staff on. >> host: minimum-wage jobs are supposed the entry-level apprentice touchups, now sporting a family of three. >> guest: ideally that would be the case but it is not the case. the fact is, as i noted before, people who would benefit from the minimum wage are largely adults. many of them have substantial tenure in the jobs. one of the things that we're seeing with more and more consolidation of income at the top and less income at the bottom is that there's much less economic mobility for anybody. if you'reborn, the train on which you are born, the station at which you into. if you're born in the bottom of the income distribution, unfortunately, that's where you're likely to end up throughout your career, which means you may start in a minimum-wage job and you may continue in minimum wage and slightly higher jobs throughout your career. it would be nice if -- i worked
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minimum-wage jobs as a kid. i'm sure most of us did, or many of us did. i never expected that that would be my career. but there are millions of workers in this country who have no realistic expectation that absent a minimum-wage increase in absent the right to join a union, that they will have the need real wage growth over the course of the career. let me give you one example. today, home care workers, the kind of folks like the women who cared for my mother when she was dying, home care workers are exempt from federal minimum wage and overtime payment. now, that's currently about 2 million workers. some of them enjoyed minimum-wage and overtime under state laws, but they don't under the federal law. home care, personal care is both one of the fastest growing occupations in the country and one of the occupations that will grow the most over the next decade. and so we are talking about a rapidly expanding workforce that will be meeting the needs of an
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aging population that doesn't even currently have minimum-wage and overtime protection. these are dedicated, hard-working women, many of them have been in these jobs for years and years and years. most of them are midlife and older women. are not kids but minimum-wage jobs are not children's jobs any more. >> host: jordan off of twitter -- when increasing the minimum wage be a job killer? >> guest: absolutely not. what is hurting the economy is lack of demand. ask any businessperson, they will say demand is just not strong enough, there's not enough certainty. we know if we raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, that will benefit 30 million people. these are people who spend what they earn but they are not able to shelter their assets in the cayman islands or put into retirement accounts. they spend with it on. that would cost $32 billion in the economy overall and that would be the kind of stimulus
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not at government expense by the way, that would be the kind of stimulus that we need to get the economy going again and. >> host: betty from mississippi, independent line. >> caller: hi. i'm calling because of the minimum wage, and i have an objection to it for this reason. if i'm not mistaken, minimum-wage is an entry-level job, and it pays for the person to come in, learn the job, and know how to do it. in this area where we are, and there are people of 10 to 15 years of experience, and their income is somewhere between 10 and $11 per hour. so how can you say that a new person coming in to earn the same as the person that's been there 10, 15 years?
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the idea should be you come in, learn the job, work hard at it and move up. minimum wage should not be designed to support a family of four which is some people have been saying for years. minimum wage is an entry-level job. >> host: thank you, caller. >> guest: thank you very question but it's important to note that one in four jobs in the u.s. pays less than $10 an hour. so with a work force of roughly 140 million people, we are talking about well over 30 million people who are earning less than $10 an hour. these are not all entry-level workers. in fact, the meeting wage for a fast food worker -- the medium of wage for fast food worker is $8.90 for an hour. no one quibbles with the idea that an entry-level new employee should be paid less than someone who has more tenure and a job at the rally is that in most of these low-wage jobs, the
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entry-level pay is very low, often at the minimum wage are just slightly above it. and then the opportunities for advancing much in a beyond that is also, are also very limited. and so a little minimum wage really sort of locks in what somebody's lifetime earning potential sore because there's just not that much wage growth beyond low minimum-wage. >> host: florida, democrats line. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i've been listening a lot to what the callers are saying. and you know, and tell you walk a mile in somebody's shoes you shouldn't judge people. because some people are out there with three children just nearly divorced, have nowhere to go, has to get a job so they start at a minimum-wage job, have to get on food stamps and welfare because they can't afford to pay their bills. so before people start pointing fingers, they should realize that it's not easy for a lot of these people to live. and i think the minimum wage
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should be very enough so that they can put diapers on the kids and they can feed their kids and they can put a roof over their heads. for people to sit there and say they should get a better job, or they should go to college, or they should do this, well, you know, what? and tell you walk a mile in someone else's shoes, you should just, you know, zip it. >> host: you should know that bob off of twitter add something to what the caller was saying, do you know what would raise minimal wage for workers? and he just put in all caps, education. >> guest: education is certainly important. nobody questions that but i want to emphasize that many low-wage workers, at least a third to 40% of them actually have some college education. so we are not talking about a situation in which people are paid less because they're uneducated. i just want respond to what laura said, which is so right
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on. the fact is well over half of the workers who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage are adult women. and most of them are raising children. they are trying to raise their children on very low wages. so this is, we are talking about wages that will support families. people who work for minimum wage, many of them have education of many of them are trying to support themselves and going back to school, getting more education. but it's awfully hard to juggle supporting a family, earning low wages, going to school, went to work on $7.25 minimum-wage. >> host: some of the lowest paying jobs in america include dishwasher, cashier, host and hostesses and amusement park attenes. jason from baltimore, maryland. republican line. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i believe you -- you're looking at the wrong perspective.
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now, i'm more of a libertarian republican, former democrat. $10 or even $3, it's not -- i think you've got to look a monetary policy because 1965 minimum wage was $1.25. but that's the equivalent of five silver quarters. five silver quarters to raise money is $26 an hour. so in 1972, president nixon created our current monetary policy. he removed the silverback dollars and nixon created a monetary policy which allows the theft of the value of our dollar. if we just went back to look at history and educate ourselves on how this occurred, because 1965, five silver quarters equal $26 an hour. we would have to go to the monetary policy.
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that's my comment and policy. thank you. >> guest: thanks for the comment. you know more about this bit of history than i do but i do want to comment on one point you made about the minimum wage being $1.25 in 1965. in 1963 win at the march on washington, one of the demands was to raise the minimum wage to $2 an hour. it was then and nine. $1.25 today, that minimum wage today would be around $13. raising it to $2 i would've brought it to around $15, which is what the fast food strikes have been all about. so it's another reflection of how far the minimum wage has declined in value and how our neglect of it has had such a profound impact on so many workers across the country. >> host: from twitter, american here says people are not be because their educator or a do. they are paid for what they
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produce. >> guest: that's right. worker productivity has increased 25% since the year 2000. for the bottom 60% of workers, which is more than half of workers in this country, workers, wages have been flat and for the lowest paid workers have actually been falling. there used to be a link between productivity and what workers earned as a productivity rose, earnings rose. that link itself also was decoupled in the late '70s and has since been growing farther and farther apart. >> host: another tweet says, where is the money coming from to raise the minimum wage transfer it will come from increased sales. i want to go back to one of our original dollars to i think was 10, our very first caller said there's this assumption that if we raise wages at the bottom sometime -- so it will harm business. but we can't do anything about the share of income that goes to corporate profits and ceo pay. we can assess how income
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generator over all should be shared within our society. there is no, i find hard to justify a situation in which 20% of national income goes to the top 1% of our population. in which ceo pays -- ceo pay rose 16% while workers' wages continued to fall. >> host: honor independent's line, south carolina. >> caller: good morning. look, you just mentioned worker productivity is up. to know why it is up? because every time the minimum wage goes up, employers cut down on the number of employees that they have. and those employees have to work harder. the whole concept of the minimum wage is a fallacy because all
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you do is you push up the minimum wage, prices go up, number of employees go down. you end up with people who want to complain about the fact that they're not making enough money. when it comes down to is when somebody does something, the lack of education people, people don't take education seriously when they're in elementary and junior and senior high school. they don't learn trade. those people are working at minimal wage jobs with college education for the most part majored in basket weaving of those types of things. along in the short of it is, it's your own fault if you're making minimum wage for the most part. >> guest: at me just respond to a couple of things. one is there's been the issue of whether or not raising the minimum wage causes jobs to be lost. it's probably one of the most researched issue can issues in labor economics there is. the sort of prevailing view is that, and this is based on very
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find him and comprehensive studies that look at minimum-wage increases over many years that compare states that have differing minimum-wage rates. one of the studies, one of the most intriguing studies looks at 250 parity counties across state lines where one state has a higher minimum wage than the other. and look at them over a period of 16 years and finds that there is no significant job loss associated with raising the minimum wage. so that's the economics. but for people who remember the second term of the clinton administration, we increase the minimum wage. the economy created 22 million jobs, wages went up across the board and went unemployment that fell below 4%. some tion that raising the minimum wage is bad for the economy, it's going to cause job loss, 20 increase unemployment, is just, it's a nice little sound bite.
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it just doesn't bear of. >> host: our guest chris owens with a national the law project. >> caller: hello, pedro and christine. i called for two reasons. i wanted to dispel this myth in some heritage foundation universe that the minimum wage is some kind of entry level salary to train people. the minimum wage is the minimum wage. and employers don't have to pay it, they are not going to pay anymore. but censure on the labor issue, i didn't get in on monday, on labor day when you have a lawyer on their that was defending right-to-work laws. and i just want to set a couple of things. one, that law probably belongs to his local bar association. they set minimum fees. therefore, that fellow belongs to the union even though since he's a professional, he gets to
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call it an organization. also, he quoted that he had to family parent members that had union jobs. i was so glad that his parents had good union jobs to give him the underpinning so he could attend college and become an attorney. and lastly, i want to make this point, that nobody has to go to work on a union job. nobody. so this idea that unions forced their way in, go get a union job. >> guest: i want to respond to one point that pat made and i'm glad he got in, had an opportunity to respond to write to work as well. the notion that the minimum wage is a minimum, he's absolute right. it is the wage that lines the bottom of the wage floor. a few minutes ago, pager, utah about the kinds of jobs that are minimum-wage jobs, food service,
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tasha, home care, et cetera. the reality is, six of the 10 jobs that will grow the most through the end of this decade are low-wage jobs. 20 of the 25 that will grow the most are low-wage jobs. 60% of our job growth since the recession, since the recovery began have been low-wage jobs where 60% of the jobs we lost in the downturn were made wage jobs. so it is critical that we have a minimum that is strong enough to boost wages across the bottom of the labor market. because this is where jobs and our economy are growing. and if we allow the floor, the wage floor to be pulled down more and more, that means wages across the board are going to be pulled down. i also want to respond to the comment about employers wouldn't pay the minimum if they didn't have to. my organization along with a couple of others did a survey in 2009 that was the first truly comprehensive survey of low-wage workers in los angeles, new
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york, and chicago, which are the three cities that have the largest low-wage workforce in the country. we surveyed more than 4000 low-wage workers, all kinds of occupations, all kinds of industries, men, women, people of color, immigrants, nativeborn workers. we asked them a range of questions about how many hours they had worked in the preceding week, but they have been taken whether they had gotten breaks, faced things like that and then a team of experts analyze the data to determine what was the incidence of minimum wage violations and overtime violations. and the analysis found that 25% of the workers who were surveyed had not been paid the minimum wage in the week preceding the survey. that's a 25% violation rate. that's huge, but a survey of fast food workers in new york last year found that even higher rate of noncompliance with wage requirement.
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people in our survey, people had worked overtime and were entitled to overtime pay, three quarters did not get paid overtime. so there is a lot of violation of minimum-wage and overtime requirements. so he is right that for me employers, and i would not say all employers by any means, but for many employers, if we didn't have a minimum they would pay as little as they could get by with. >> host: you mentioned wal-mart. there was an issue about minimum wage when it comes especially to wal-mart. a quick explanation. >> guest: the city council passed this act would require that companies that have more than a billion dollars in sales each year and occupy more than 75,000 square feet of space would have to pay their employees $12.50 an hour but that would be total compensation for a combination of wages and benefits would be $12.50 an hour. it would affect wal-mart and
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some other countries that are relocating to the district, are located in the district. the current businesses would be phased in. thetheir compliance. the legislation passed the council by an 8-5 vote. it was transmitted to the mayor at the end of last week, and he has i believe 10 business days in which to decide whether to sign or veto the legislation. if he vetoes it, the council can override the veto with nine votes. so that sort of the status of it right now. >> host: an op-ed in the "washington post." this like any business with a responsibly toward customers, employees and shareholders. we invite what our options. >> guest: for wal-mart to suggest that there's an uneven playing field when it comes to
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wal-mart is kind of laughable. it is the largest importer union in the united states. it is a phenomenally rich company. is expanding globally. the idea that it's going to be disadvantageous to a wal-mart competitively to provide a combination of wages and benefits equal to $12.50 and out is just laughable. the reality is that the research shows that when wal-mart comes into a community, and often has the effect of driving down wages and benefits. it is the leader within the community. it can drive wages upward do. it's important that large employers who occupy the kind of positions that wal-mart occupies in communities around the country set the example by providing stronger wages and benefits to their employees. >> host: if they don't build the store there's a potential loss of jobs. >> guest: they will be driving out small businesses.
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the truth is, small businesses generally pay a higher than minimum wages. but they suffer a lot when wal-mart comes into a community. i think wal-mart is now trying to strong-arm the mayor and threaten to keep, not to build three of the stores in the city. i think it's a question of, do we want the residents of the district of clinic and people who work in these stores, to be working at poverty wages? i think the answer is no. >> host: republican line, joe. >> caller: hi. i have a question, two questions actually. you just made an interesting point about wal-mart and low poverty wages, but if there's no jobs, that's zero wage. so wal-mart doesn't build there, you know, because of the minimum wage, you can come you know, there's no job at all. my second point is, the unions,
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whenever given a choice, basically the unions are not come you know, the states can opt out of the unions, people are opting out of the union. and i wonder why that is? >> guest: let me go back to the wal-mart point and then i will try to respond to the union question. on the wal-mart point, i just think it's a false dichotomy to suggest that we can either have lousy jobs or no jobs. again, when we are a situation in which corporate profits consume the higher share of national income that they have since world war ii, and workers compensation is at its lowest share in 57 years, it is, it's just a false dichotomy to suggest that the only option is low-wage jobs. we have had policies, we that strong economic growth, we've had strong unionization that has
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driven up wages, that has created strong economic growth, that has propelled businesses. this is a question about choices we make as a society and the kind of policies we are going to adopt that really share prosperity broad as opposed to consolidating it in a small share of the population and in corporate profits. on the unions i would suggest that there is a real problem with the notion that individuals who enjoy the benefits of unions don't have to belong to union, don't have to pay at least a share of union dues that the unions used for negotiated wages and benefits for all members. and in right to work state during any state where individuals opt out of belong to the union, the union still has responsibility to represent those workers. and those free riders get a real benefit from the union
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representation. >> host: oak park michigan. independent line. he aren't minimum wage. may i ask what type of work you do? >> caller: i was a food service. >> host: go ahead. >> caller: how are you doing, paper and christian? my question is, my question, and amanda, as well, try to make it quick, but what dick in response, christine, two opposers to the fact she just about economic growth as opposed to the low wages of workers or the stagnant wage workers? what you get from shareholders or employers or opposition for that matter? what you get in response to that? >> guest: let me give you, i think this is particularly telling. the small business alliance conducted a survey of 500 small businesses back in the spring, and they basically asked three or four questions. one was the federal minimum wage
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is $7.25 an hour. do you support or oppose increasing the minimum wage? 55% of those small businesses said they supported raising the minimum wage. then they posed a couple of statements that they asked the respondents to say whether they felt it was -- one of them was raising the minimum wage will actually put more money in the pockets of consumers who will shop at my business and improve my business versus waging -- raising the minimum wage is going to hurt employers and cause job loss. again, 65% of those small businesses said that raising the minimum wage would actually improve their businesses overall because it would give consumers more to spend. you know, back in the early 20th century, henry ford had the idea that he needed to pay employees at ford motor company, i think was $5 a day so they
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could buy the cars that they were building. it's not rocket science. people who have a high propensity to spend, meaning they need to spend what they earn in order to support themselves and their families, are going to spend that money and they're going to spend at their local grocery store, at their local gas stations, at their local restaurants and movie theaters, at the department stores, what ever. they will spend the money and it is going to be good for the local economy. >> host: one more call. arkansas, democrats line. >> caller: hello. >> host: you are on. >> caller: yes, it's very good to listen to you today and to get a lot of good ideas going on. thank you very much. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: i had a couple of points but if you look at the graph showing the wage of the workers on one line and the productivity of the workers on another line, and the wages of
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the corporation, whoever gets to keep all of the money, and back in the '70s they all stayed relatively even. once we get the 80s, the top line kept going up and up. the productivity kept going up, but the wages leveled out and stayed pretty much the same, has done that. ever since then. also, the man who said, well, if they have a minimum wage job, it's their own fault. they need to go to school, or they need education, or whatever. i'd like to respond to that, because it's not necessary whether not yet education. there's so many other factors. when you go in for a job interview you may be up against
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1000 people, even in and not hugely populated area. >> host: thanks, caller. >> guest: i think she again makes the point that productivity has increased, corporate profits have increased, ceo pay in its increased. workers' wages have bottomed out. >> host: as for congress' action is for raising the men wage committees do anything and the remainder of this term traffic i don't expect anything in 2013 but i think we have a good shot at in 2014. >> host: chris owens with the national oil law project, executive director. thank you. >> i just -- john kerry is testifying right now before the house foreign affairs committee. he's talking about why ms. accounts should support a resolution to give president obama others use military force answer. behind the sector you can see protesters including the founder of code pink.
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this is a day to with secretary terry at the cemetery hegel and martin dempsey which you can see it live right now on c-span. the three were on capitol hill yesterday testifying before the senate foreign relations committee. this is where the senate committee was scheduled to meet this morning at 11:30 a.m. eastern but the committee has delayed its public meeting and instead meeting in private. after senator john mccain an advocate of intervention in syria said he did not support the latest version of the senate resolution to authorize force. the arizona republican said he wants more than cruise missile strikes and other limited action. the committee ad yesterday announced a proposal that would allow no ground troops and limited timeframe of any action to 90 days. we are hearing that members of the senate foreign relations committee could convene here
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shortly. you can seek reporter starting to gather at the tables in the center of the hearing room. and tell the committee comes in, here are remarks and committee members as he left the private meeting at about 12:30 eastern. >> senator paul? >> very briefly because i'm hungry. >> okay. could you tell us what the latest things? are you going to vote today? >> i think it will be a vote today and we will vote on a resolution for use of authorization of force to involve ourselves in the syrian civil war. >> has it been changed? >> it's not the same as the administration. it would be created by the committee come and it will be slightly different and will have some limitations on a. it's not finely crafted but it will be admitted probably are close on amendments will occur in the next hour or two. >> [inaudible] >> i don't see a clear-cut for condoning american interest.
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i see horrible tragedy by don't see that our involvement will lessen the tragedy. i think it may will make the tragedy worse. i think more civilian deaths will occur. i think an attack on israel could occur. but i think an attack on turkey could occur. i think you will get more russian involvement, more iranian involvement. i don't see anything good coming of our involvement. >> [inaudible] spent i think it may make the situation worse. >> [inaudible] >> i'm not sure exactly what the vote will be. i think they will win the vote in the committee. i think you'll win the vote in a semitic the only chance of stopping what i considered to be bad policy will be in the house. >> thank you.
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>> [inaudible conversations] >> we had a very good morning with administration witnesses, and we're going to reconvene in our, and my seses that we have a reallythink ther may be e of flexibility regarding a verbal additions that may take place, b i begin to see the possibility of a consensus developing specs are you going to change the language to meet some of john mccain's concerns? >> i don't want to get into what may happen. i do think john will offer an amendment that i think will be
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constructiand i think chris coons may be doing something similar. they may even work together. but we had a really good morning. it started off a little come to an account it's a big issue, and yet i think as time went on there was a possibility. i never want to overload, say things that are not going to happen. but i think there is a reasonable chance that maybe by the end of the day we will be in a place where consensus -- >> can you tell us how hard it is to find the sweet spot, something that is narrow enough? >> so i think on an issue like this, and it is on any issue, isn't? and certainly on this one, there is, i do think again, this was conversation we're able to have been a more flexible environment. again i think we could well get there today and i hope that we
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give. >> [inaudible] >> let me say this but we certainly are more than glad to convene again friday, saturday, sunday, monday. nobody, everyone understands that there is no, there is some degree of need to get it to the floor within a certain amount of time. i think all of y'all understand all of the procedural hurdles that can occur in united states senate. i think most of the report on that quite extensively here so i think people felt like this morning again was informative. i think that allowed the consensus to develop and hopefully we will see that information this afteron. >> what if you guys don't have the votes to move at this point? >> that's what we're taught about trying to get this into the

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