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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 24, 2014 10:00pm-12:01am EDT

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two cup just a supply of energy resources to global markets. iraq through 2035 will account for 45% of all of the growth in oil energy exports. if iraq were to collapse in a major civil sectarian war the effects to our own economy at home would be quite serious. every single fault line crossing to the middle east and every persian moderate extremist shia-sunni arab-kurd everything meets in iraq. where isil to get into the mosque city of samarra which wanted to do and to unleash a cauldron of sectarian violence it was spread with devastating effects for economy here at home. biologist at stake from al qaeda to energy resources in our own economy are at stake. >> did you want to add something? >> i would just put stomp the isil thread rate they are so funded.
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they have control of significant territory. they are tested in battle. they are a serious threat and while we don't assess right now that they are doing distinct homeland plotting certainly they are open about it that they're coming for the united states. mike strank is a defense official and a want that to faster. i want to do something about that. >> i thank you for that and i think you have done a good job of outlining the reason why this matters. it's not simply about iraq but about the united states. could you briefly if i brought people in from florida or there watching. what are we doing? what are the two or three things we are doing to address this threat which he described as a significant one to our country? what is the plan? steamy. >> we need to strangle their entire network. that means their foreign fighter in particular. we had a meeting yesterday with the turks to focus on that. we have to strangle their flow into syria number two we have to deny safe haven in syria which
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gets into training to moderate authorization and we have to hope the iraqis take control of sovereign space. to do that as i explained in my testimony as system where we recruit locally with local tribal structures but the resources of the central government. .. going to defeat this organization. >> what are we specifically doing and going to be doing to crush their networks and prevent them from having safe havens? operationally, what are we going to do to accomplish those goals you outlined as part of our plan? >> i can speak to the iraq portion of this. since this crisis began in early june, we immediately surged in a significant surge of intelligence assets into iraq to get a better picture of the situation. we put special forces on the ground to get eyes on. we are now at the point where we
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have collected all that information. we have a fairly concrete precise picture, and we are coming up with option 0s for doing just that. this will be an ongoing conversation with this committee and the congress over the days and weeks ahead. >> senator sheen. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you all for being here. i want to follow up on the line of questioning that senator rubio was following and your response because you mention in your testimony, mr. mcgurk, that we need to work with our partners in the reach none. especially turkey to seal the border to syria from foreign fighters and isil recruits. can you talk a little bit more, you are limited to some extent, about how this is proceeding and what other partners we might engage to address this concern? >> thank you, senator. we have some experience in doing this in the late 2006/2007 time frame where it was the same foreign fighter network.
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at the time they were all flying into damascus going into aleppo. we squeezed the entire network from the source capitals where they are getting on airplanes to get them off the airplanes. we are doing a similar effort and ambassador bradky, senior advisor of the state department focused on the foreign fighter network. it's two parts. turkey has a very long border. it's very hard to control. turkey is doing some things to strengthen their own border and focus on this problem. also the source capitals in which young military age male are getting on airplanes and going to certain airports in turkey. we are working carefully through our entire interagency and folks that are expert in this with the source capitals which people are getting on airplanes and coming into syria, and with the turks. it's europe, north africa and the gulf region. >> and can you talk about how long we've been doing that and whether we are seeing any
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results as a result of that effort? >> we've been doing it for some time now. i can follow up after speaking with the experts dealing with this and have a written response. >> i would appreciate that and probably sharing it with the committee would be very helpful, as well. >> you also talk about the tremendous effort on the part of the kurdistan government to accommodate the internally displaced people fleeing from other parts of iraq. i wonder if you could talk about the extent to which the government in baghdad recognizes the strain this is causing and has been willing to work with the kurds at all to help address this? >> one promising sign, senator, in what is a very dark landscape, i want to be clear. this humanitarian situation is extremely serious and
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heartbreaking, particularly when it comes to the christian minorities and other vulnerable groups. i met with the christian leadership in baghdad throughout my last trip about how we can do a better job helping these people who are under a very serious threat. the iraqi government could do more to help the kurdish regional government, particularly with state resources and state funding. the iraqi parliament which is just meeting because it just convened the first time. it's a brand-new parliament with a brand-new speaker. the first session really was yesterday. one of the first things they did was united in condemnation of what's happening to christians in the northern province and formed a broad committee to figure out how to direct state resources. there are significant resources. is there a budget in the parliament for $140 billion, something the government has to tap into to help these people. they just formed a committee to figure out things to do. we are obviously actively engaged with them to try to influence that process. >> so does this selection of a
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kurdish president help with this effort? >> certainly. we look forward to working with the new president soon on these issues. again, he won an overwhelming victory on the vote today on the floor of the iraqi parliament. so it's a good step forward. we work with all the kurdish leadership and also in baghdad on this. >> i would assume begin his election that he might have some influence in the parliament that could be very helpful. has he made statements about the need to help address what's happened to christians? >> he was just elected as i was coming here in the car. we will be immediately working with him. and again, all the leaders to get the resources up to the north that the kurds need to deal with the humanitarian crisis. >> finally, again i think this is for you, mr. mcgurk, but ms.
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slotkin, if you would like to weigh in, please do. one thing that has not gotten a whole lot of attention, but you mention it in your testimony and we've seen it in other places where extremist islam has been in charge. that the plight of iraqi women and girls has borne the brunt of a lot of violence as they advance through iraq. can you talk about what we can do and what is being done to help address this? >> first, senator, the fact you are asking this question is number one. we have to put international focus and attention on this very serious problem. in mosul, the situation goes from bad to worse. they have gone after the christians, then kurds and now going after women, and particularly young women. this is a serious international problem. the government of iraq, the foreign minister of iraq wrote a letter to the secretary-general of the you nate e united nation
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for assistance from the international people. we need the entire world to focus on. the iraqis can't deal with it on their own. we have to give it international attention and find a way to really address it. in my testimony, particularly in mosul where isil is setting up its capital. that is what it's trying to do. we have to find a way to work effectively with local tribal forces to make sure they can stand effectively against isil which right now, frankly, they can't. the kurdish forces because mosul is in a pocket in the kurdish region and federal forces to slowly squeeze and take back these areas. this is going to be a long-term effort. especially for the sake of the people living in these areas we have to give it everything we have. >> finally, i'm almost out of time. this may have been asked and i apologized if you answer it. there was a report in "the new york times" july 13th that suggested that only about half of iraq's operational units are capable enough for us to advise
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them. can either of you speak to whether, without revealing classified information, whether we're concerned about this, what's the substance of this report being accurate? >> sure. it was mentioned briefly and i just caution against relying solely on a leak in "the new york times." that was a critical thing we were looking at in these assessments. they are still in draft. i think what's accurate is the picture is mixed. i don't know if it's exactly half, but i think we are finding units where that's a real problem and units where it's not a problem. we are trying to understand how to process that. what does it mean if certain units we can work with and they're ambitious and want to do things to take back their territory and others aren't the right units to work with. what should our policy be in that case? that is complicated and why we are taking our time to think about it. >> thank you. >> senator mccain.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. miss slotkin, we learn more from "the new york times" and the "wall street journal" than we do from any briefing we ever had with you. i don't agree with you very often, but i do agree with your statement you can't fight something with nothing. that's what we've been doing, nothing. this situation in iraq was predicted by us and predictable. now we find ourselves in a situation where mr. mcgurk, the director of intelligence, director of the fbi, secretary of homeland security and the attorney general have allstated publically that the islamic state of iraq in syria, isis or isil pose a direct threat to the united states. do you agree? >> yes. >> you do agree. >> would you agree that iraq and syria are now effectively one conflict that we can't address isis and iraq without addressing
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it in syria and vice versa, particularly with reports that we see published reports of equipment that was captured in iraq now showing up in syria? >> i think it is one theater. you have to think of it as a tigris and eufrades valley theater. >> this riches and largest base of terrorism that i know of is both iraq and syria, this enclave. >> that is exactly what it's trying to do, trying to establish it. >> have they achieved it pretty well so far? >> since june the iraq/syria border has more or less collapsed. >> that means if we are going to take action in iraq we should also take action in syria, would you agree? >> again, these are all options that are being looked at, senator. >> i am wondering if you would agree with that.
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i'm not asking whether you are examining options or not. >> as i mentioned, in order to get at this network and learning from the past with al qaeda and iraq we have to squeeze the entire network. that's the foreign fighter floeshgs the nonsafe have en sya and helping iraqis control their territory. >> so if we did initiate an air-to-ground campaign without including syria, they would have a sanctuary in syria. would you agree with that? >> one of the reasons, and i defer to my colleague elissa we are focused on training the opposition to deny space to the isil networks in syria. >> probably so, but secretary of defense and chairman of the joint chief of staff both stated publically the iraqi security forces are not capable of regaining the territory they lost to isis on their own without external assistance.
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do you agree with the secretary of defense and chairman of the joint chiefs? >> iraqi security forces moved a little bit out of, we had this snowballing effect -- >> again, asking if you agree or disagree with the secretary of defense and chairman of the joint chiefs who both stated publically the iraq security forces are not capable of regaining the territory they lost to isis on their own without external assistance. >> they did not conduct combined arms operation which you could not take without some enabling support. >> since we all rule out boots on the ground that, might mean use of air power as a way of assisting them. would you agree with that? >> senator, all these options, potential options for the president are being looked at. as elissa said -- >> how long have we been, quote, looking at them now, mr. mcgurk? >> well -- >> sir, the assessments came in
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last week. >> the assessments came in last week. how long have we been assessing? >> i think we assessed for two solid weeks. >> oh, i think it's been longer than that since the collapse of the iraqi military, ms. slotkin. >> i think the president made his announcement june 19th and instructed assessors go to baghdad. they flew there and began their assessments immediately. >> i see. so far we have launched no air strikes in any part of iraq, right? >> that's correct. >> you stated before that we didn't have sufficient information to know which targets to hit, is that correct? >> i think we have radically improved our intelligence picture. >> in your view we didn't have sufficient information capability in order to launch air strikes? >> i think that we, given our
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extremely deliberate process about launching any air strike -- >> it's interesting. i asked if you think at that time we did not have sufficient information to launch air strikes against isis. >> i think given the standards the united states has for dropping ordinance, no, we did not have the intelligence we would ever want at that time. >> i find that interesting because none of the military that i have talked to that served there, and even those who flew there are absolutely convinced as i am when you have convoys moving across the desert in open train, you can identify them and strike them. we know they were operating out of bases in syria out in the open in the desert. with those of us who have some military experience and the efficacy of air power, we
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heartheart heartily disagree. published media reports indicate islamic state has an estimated 10,000 foreign fighters, 7,000 in syria, 3,000 in iraq. does that sound right? >> these ses mates are difficult to discern that. is an estimate we routinely see, yes. >> and of those foreign fight e ers, many of them are from european countries, right? >> yes.fighters, many of them a european countries, right? >> yes. >> who when returning to their countries don't require a visa to come to this country. which is why the director of national intelligence, director of fbi, director of homeland security and attorney general allsta a a all stated this poses a direct threat to the united states. >> if that is a direct quote
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from them, i defer to them on the quote. one thing we have done, in your questioning of miss slotkin, when this crisis started, iraqis had zero hell fire missiles, we delivered since this crisis began in june, hundreds of hell fire missiles and with our new intelligence with the joint operations, the iraqis deployed those missiles with precision and accuracy. it has made a difference. >> excuse me, what difference has it made? certainly not in areas isis has been able to gain control over. >> it began to blunt some of the momentum. >> you didn't really believe they could take baghdad, did you? no one in their right mind would. >> in the initial days of this crisis, there was a very deep concern that iraqi security forces could, in the approaches of baghdad substantially weaken. that was a concern of ours. >> might have been on your part. certainly wasn't on those of us who understand iraq and population and shiia and sunni. well, mr. chairman, i overstayed
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my time. i thank you. i really agree with you, miss slotkin, when you said you can't fight something with nothing. you are exactly right. >> senator mccabe. >> thank you. odds and ends. most of my questions have been asked already by my colleagues. give me the status on the safety of the american embassy in baghdad and our consuls in iraq. >> thank you. it's our foremost priority, it's something we watch every day very closely. that is why we have rebalanced our security apparatus at the embassy, brought in substantial department of defense capabilities into the embassy and into the airport. our assistant secretary for diplomatic security was there last week. we feel very confident about the protection of our people. it is something we watch literally every second of every day. our knowledge and understanding of the defense of baghdad is night and day different from six weeks ago. >> because of the appointment of
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advisors you were discussing? >> yes. >> the iranian influence in iraq, beyond political influence, how about iranian expenditures in iraq, whether it's to back up the military or provide training and assistance? what is iran doing in iraq right now that is costing them money? >> i don't have a figure on the expenditures. all cane say is that the iraqis again want the u.s. to be the back bone of their military force. that is why they looked to the fms program to be that back bone where. we developed relationships with military officers in times of extreme crisis has proven essential. in my testimony is when we had to get 500 contractors out it was the iraqi air force, in spite the extreme crisis they are dealing with that flew their own c-130s to get our people out. that is the kind of relationship we need to continue. >> i many going a particular direction with this.
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you don't have an expenditure figure what iran is spending in iraq. are they likely spending significant resources or is the influence more on the political and relationship side? >> they are expending resources. they were particularly concerned about the defense of samarra where the golden dom mosque is. in the early week of the crisis they did invest resources to try to protect that area of samarra. >> the reason i'm asking this question, separately we are having this intense discussion about the iranian nuclear negotiation and what is the effect of the sanctions on iran and to what extent any sanctions relief is giving them breathing room. we are being told from many quarters the iranian economy is still suffering greatly. they seem to be pretty deeply in in terms of expenditures in syria and seem to be deeply in in terms of expenditures in iraq. that makes me think either they are incredibly stretched or maybe their economy and resources are stronger than some of the reports to us suggest.
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and that is relevant in terms of the negotiation we are under way with respect to the nuclear program. i'll follow that up with others. this is a question you might not be able to answer on the record. i'll submit it for the record. what are the efforts under way by the united states to disrupt isil financing? >> yeah. sir, i think we should take it off the record, if you don't mind in a classified session. i would be happy to provide that to you. judge, we've had testimony before about some kind of financing that can be talked about publically. they do extortion, they do kidnapping and go to merchants and say pay us x. that has been discussed publically. there's been reports about others who are funding isil operations. maybe not the government, but people connected with governments that are allies of ours, and i would like to know in a classified setting and will submit a written question what are we doing to disrupt isil
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financing. the persecution of the christian minority in iraq, like the persecution of any religious minority is of significance. could you talk about your recent discussions on the persecution of christians when you were in baghdad? >> thank you, senator. i went to the home of archbishop sacco in baghdad and also with bishop warda. it is an extremely serious situation. what is so inspiring when you visit them is archbishop sacco, shortly before i saw him, just had a service with about 500 worshippers from across the city of baghdad in his church. this past sunday he has a service which muslims and christians came together in his church to say we are all christians. we all stand for the christians, we are all iraqis, these are all
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our people to stand against isil. bishop warda is focused on the refugees that left mosul and he has asked us for some specific help with the kurdish regional government to ensure they have the protection they need. that is something we followed up with president barzhani to make sure they do have that protection. it is a very serious situation. it reveals what is happening to christians in mosul, reveals what isil is all about, and why it is such a threat to the region and to us. >> again, we should feel deeply since the united states stands so strongly for religious liberty, we should feel deeply about the persecution of any religious minority. mass has been said in mosul more than 1800 years. that's been broken. weekly mass has not been celebrated there. that is a pretty significant thing. i have been critical of us, the senate, for slowness in ambassadorial approvals. i'll put one on the
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administration. you've got to get us names. i'll say this for the record. ambassador at-large has been vacant since october 2013. the white house has not sent us a name, at a time in the world whether it might be whether it may be christians or jews in some nations that are suffering because of the persecution of religious minors. while the u.s. is an example of religious diversity, we see the persecution of minorities probably on the increase in the world, it's a core value of ours. we have such a good story to tell. that should not be a position that is vacant. >> i'd like to focus on the role of energy resources in the conflict with isis and in the iraqi leadership's struggle to maintain a workable, political
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situation. isis conditions to have its eyes set on beijing. smuggling this oil into the black market has reportedly brought isis perhaps a million dollar as day. with the group taking on an actual state, how does capturing energy resources fit into their broader strategy? >> they need the resources to survive. one reason they are coming with everything they have at the beijing refinery is they need the energy resources stored in those tanks in order to keep mosul going. this has been going on for a month. there's a unit of iraq's counterterrorism forces there, people that we know and who have been trained and are fighting
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incredibly heroically. isil has sent a wave of suicide bombers at the refinery. so far, the iraqis have been able to hold it although it is a struggle. isil needs these resources, as you said, to be able to build -- >> what further steps need to be taken in order to protect against isis taking over the bajee refinery? that's the largest single refinery in the court. what can be done, what needs to be done in order to prevent that from happening? >> well, in fact, as i mentioned briefly and i answered some of senator mccain's questions, one of the first places they were deployed was around the refinery. they began to clear out some of the attacking isil fighters. that is one example. and as we continue to assess the situation in iraq, we have identified particular strategic sites that we're concerned about and we want to make sure that
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the iraqis are able to defend them. >> let me move on to the kurdish regional development that. the kurds are sitting on an estimated 45 billion barrels of oil and have captured the oil fields around kirkuk and appear to be intent on selling their own oil abroad without the exports through the central authorities in baghdad. and baghdad seems unwillingly to equitably export the oil resources. how can we help the iraqi government to better manage its energy resources and preserve a federal system that works for all iraqis? right now that seems to be collapsing and the collapse is over and the oil revenue issue, how can we play a bigger role? >> well, this is something where we can play a direct role and it's one reason we had to get through the election and start to get a new government formed so we can get some traction. the numbers tell a story.
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the kurds need about $14 billion in order to sustain themselves. their own exports right now, they approach a little less than half of that probably. that will change over the future. the budget that is pending in baghdad before the parliament is a $144 billion budget. the kurdish shared that would be a little more than $17 billion. the numbers tell the story for how we can work out a deal. again, there are new realities on the ground that we have to deal with. but it is in the interest of all iraqis to export as much oil as possible under a revenue sharing framework, particularly for the sunni areas of iraq that don't have any of these resources and that's the type of government that particularly the new parliament which has proven to be very effective and they have set up a committee to resolve this can get some traction on. but we have to be actively engaged. without us, they won't get there. >> again, oil is always at the
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core of this, you know, you just keep sharing the oil? that's what it is about? that's why the british wanted the country constructed the way it was, they nt wawanted the oi resources even though it was going to cause longer term stability. that's what they were fighting for. that's what they were demanding for in those negotiations 80 years ago, 90 years ago, and we're still living with the consequences of those decisions. so let me move on and ask, what is the current relationship between al qaeda and isis? what has happened in the course of the last three or four months? >> well, it's my understanding that al qaeda and iraq wa zaharie's group. when it moved into syria, it split into two groups. the al nusra front.
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there were ambitions between iraq and syria and that's something that senior al qaeda leaders, such as al za here ree said isis should work in iraq and that's what led to the split. but isil was proving to be more effective in terms of developing a state structure than even core al qaeda. that's why it's more than just a terrorist organization. it certainly does not have a the global reach for al qaeda but it has the sophistication to develop what is really becoming a state-like sanctuary for a global jihadi movement. and they are trying to recruit those who share the ideology from all over the world. >> so what does that competitive dynamic between the leaders of
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both groups lead to? >> the risk, in terms of the competition, they will look to in order to do spectacular type attacks. >> and i think you've already answered the questions about recruiting. let me ask a final question. that's about the iraqi forces capacity to defend its own civilians. can you just give us a brief summary of where you believe they are right now in accomplishing that goal? >> well, one reason i said in my testimony, we have a counterterrorism challenge. iraq has a counter insurgency challenge meaning that they have to control their own population and that is why they have to recruit locally and work with tribes to control local areas. right now that has really broken apart. it's broken apart for a number of reasons but primarily for the fours that iforce that isil was able to bring to bear. they go after anybody who
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disagrees with them. so this is why we have to work with the iraqis to be able to protect their population against the most violent groups. and then work on the political compact to make sure that all areas of iraq have the resources to sustain themselves. >> again, i want to commend you for your focus upon diplomacy. i agree that it's not too late for diplomacy but we just have to be in intervening in a very, very aggressive way to make sure that diplomacy is truly given a chance to be successful. thank you so much, thank you mr. about five minutes to have you speak beginning with ambassador jeffrey. ambassador jeffrey, welcome. >> thank you very much. to follow up on what we heard this morning, the establishment of the islamic state by the isil in iraq and in syria is changing
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the geo strategy of the entire middle east and represents a dramatic setback to u.s. policy and interest and requires an immediate response from washington. the situation is complicated by the fact that in the fix we are presently in in the middle eefs, we have not one but two higomonic voices in the region, from gaza to iran, that are trying to upset the middle east. and we have to deal with all of them in a comprehensive way. the president's plan to support a unified iraq in this crisis is laid out on june 19th is reasonable. but over a month as gone by, as we discussed earlier today, and little has happened. we've had two important but secondary ste secondary steps, the selection of a speaker and those are
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important but those are preliminary. the key issue is the election of a prime minister and a new government. meanwhile, on the ground, while the initial drive of isil has been slow, we're seeing more capabilities for that institution. the study of law came out with a survey of attacks, both suicide and what we call vbids, vehicle bombs inside baghdad in efforts to try to cut off the city. senator mccain was right, that you can't take baghdad but as almost happened to us with over 100,000 troops in 2004, you can't isolate the city and they seem to be trying to do that. meanwhile, they are pushing along the kurds along the 400 mile front to the eye rare general border and north of mosul and they are trying to seek strain fruk tur: we talked
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about the dam west of ra maddie and to the northeast of mosul. these are extraordinarily important infrastructure targets for them. the president's plan is based upon, above all, a new inclusive government. and as i said, while we've done the preliminaries with the speaker and with the president, we haven't gotten to the key issue of who is going to governor the country because the prime minister essentially governors the country. in my view, the inclusive government that the president has correctly said is a prerequisite to any real action cannot be a government headed by prime minister maliki. he has not shown the ability to bring in the kurdish and the sunni communities. and that is needed right now because there's a huge division of both trust and geographic division in the country today.
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we need to reinforce the kurds to remain within the public and try to regain trust among the sunnis. again, i see this as only possible if we have a new prime minister in a new government. simultaneously, i think that while the president is right, that we cannot do a major campaign until we get an inclusive government and provide essentially people on the ground, local forces, we need to do limited strikes. as general dempsey talked about some of the possibilities going after key leaders and strategic infrastructure, we need to do that now to encourage everybody to come together. mr. mcgurk talked about the sunni tribes trying to fight isis but they are outgunned. helping them would not be undercutting a new government. the kurds are fighting along the front and they need help. we heard about these highly trained effective iraqi units
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north of baghdad. they could benefit from help, too. we're striking al qaeda right now in pakistan, yemen, and with direct actions at times in somalia and libya. i see no reason why we couldn't, if we're getting the data now, start doing some strikes both in iraq and in syria. meanwhile, we have to be ready, though, if this doesn't work out, if the eiranians remain influential, if maliki remains in power, we have to figure out how we're going to deal with three separate entities, effectively a taliban-like islamic state in the middle of lchl evant and iraq is under the influence of iran. that's a huge new problem for us if we don't act very, very quickly. my bottom line here today, sir,
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is we need to act as quickly as we can. >> thank you, ambassador jeffrey. general barbaro? >> thank you for the opportunity to discuss this situation in iraq and moving forward. first, i'd like to start with several observations on the current situation. while we assess, they maintain the momentum, they grow stronger and their hold on the population intensifies. i isis has established an area in both syria and iraq. it must be considered as an iraq/syria front. isis poses a formal regional front. what is most frightening as they swept into iraq, they continued their expansion into syria. they did not have to thin the lines to do that. the iraqi security forces have
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regrouped. however, these forces have serious fundamental flaws and will require significant assistance to be able to undertake counteroffensive to dislodge and roll back isis' control and finally, it's a threat to both baghdad and the kurds. the kurds have a border or front with isis and they are largely on their own. chairman menendez asked at the outset, what is require to turn back the tide of isis and while it's clear it's the iraqi security forces but my estimation is in the present state they cannot meet this threat, let alone a major and counter effective threat without assistance. the capabilities necessary did not exist today in iraq and will likely not materialize on their own. and i'm not talking in the future about ground combat forces from the united states. i'm talking about advising and assisting in certain key areas. and let me cover those. the first is intelligence.
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we started that. developing tactical intelligence on the ground. we started that and now we need to turn that into action. but the second intelligence component is the isis network in iraq, syria, and their regional supporters must be a national collection and analysis priority for our entire intelligence community. second, we should establish a training program for the isf to provide sufficient arms capability in order to effectively conduct offensive operations to dislodge isis from the areas that they now control. the isf has largely been a checkpoint army. since 2011, their operations have been defensive in nature, static in disposition, and disjointed in execution. they need training. third, they need assistance in establishing an effective war time process. their existing one is a peace time system and they've experienced equipment decline and readiness over the years and
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this will be a daunting process but it can be done. fourth, the required changes to the demand and control network. as we know, the system put in place has been put in place by al maliki, systems directly reporting to him. there needs to be changes in commanders and changes to develop an effective combat command and control capability. fifth, the isf continues to need weapons and equipment. we have done some good work to rush some equipment there but we need to do more. just this week, iraq's ambassador to the united states lamented the slow space from iraq and russia. we should improve material to iraq. sixth, we should support the isf with air strikes in order to degrade isis' capability. you cannot drone strike or air strike your way out of this.
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it must be a counter offensive in order to attack isis. seventh, we should support the kurds and enable them to defend themselves against isis. they are slightly armed and underequipped. they are stretched very thin and when isis turns on them, they will be outgunned and over matched. there's a complex relationship between baghdad and irbil. i understand that. why wouldn't we prevent the oil rich north from falling into isis' hands. finally, this falls on a willing partner in baghdad that is willing to accept these changes and to help develop an effective i schl f. second, as we all discussed, there must be a political
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climate where the sunnis and kurds feel that accommodation for them and they can join in a unified military action. in conclusion, it the stronger y become and if the controlled iraq is in national interests of iraq, we should enable iraq and the kurds to defeat them as soon as possible. >> thank you. >> thank you, chairman. mr. chairman, senator, it's a great hon for to appear before this committee. i want to start by talking about some of the realities that we face in iraq because i think they are critical in understanding where we are and what the possibilities are going forward. first, we need to recognize that american influence in iraq has aten waited very significantly to the point where i would argue at this point that the united states' interests exceed our influence. and second, we need to come to
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grips with the fact that what we face in iraq today is a civil war. iraq is not on the brink. it is not sliding into it, it is a civil war and the dynamics of civil wars now apply and those make intervention by third powers very difficult. with that in mind, i think that the current approach of the administration with a few tweaks is probably the best one plausible. it is the only one. and that is the idea of forging a new political leadership and it's the only option that we have that does offer the prospect of ending iraq's civil war in a matter of months rather than years. and preserving american interests in a whole variety of ways. nevertheless, we need to recognize that it will be very difficult and it goes well beyond merely replacing the current iraqi political leadership. it is going to mean restructuring iraq's politics in a way that will encompass the desires, aspirations, and fears
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of all of iraq's communities and that is not going to be easy. if it fails, iraq's civil war is going to roll on and, as i've already suggested, the dynamics of a civil war is going to take hold and those are very hard to break. but we will have some options. unfortunately, those options are all awful. i think the first one is to recognize as any number of us, some of the senators have made the point earlier that iraq and syria are now a single civil war. and the problem that we'll face in iraq is that we will have a very complex situation, we will be looking to support both moderate sunnis and shia against their extremists and hoping to fchl orge a new peace between them. that's very hard. syria offers clarity in that we hate the regime and are not willing to support them at all and that opens up a syria first policy by which we build a new syrian opposition party which
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can defeat the extremists and stabilize a bridge and a model to sunni moderates inside of iraq. i see that option as entirely feasible but it is not guaranteed to work and it is several steps beyond what the united states has been willing to consider so far. in fact, it will take years, if it works at all, and it will require a commitment of resources, probably including air power that the u.s. has so far been unwilling to make. if we're not willing to commit those -- that level of resources to actually bring the civil war to a close, another option is partition, something that has been talked about very frequently. i will say that i think that if we don't bring this to a rapid close, we will find that partition is the de-facto outcome in iraq. it will be divided into a sunni stand and shia stand and the kurds will undoubtedly go their own way. the question for us would be, can we find ways to turn
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de-facto partition and somehow use it to bring about peace. again, i think that's problem but nevertheless, it will be extremely difficult. far more difficult than the pundits around town are making it out to be. i would say that if there's a dangerous mythology suggesting that the partition of iraq could be easy and relatively bluntless. in fact, the communities remain intermingled and the different militias have made claims on territory held by the others. the fear that overwhelms iraqis remain and dividing up the oil and water and other resources is going to be extremely difficult. it will take years and hundreds of thousands of lives lost. and the last alternative that we will have will be to follow a policy of containment, of trying to prevent the spillover from the iraqi/syrian civil war to
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other neighbors and from harming american interests in the region in that way. again, it's certainly a possible alternative for the united states but we need to remember that containment is exceptionally difficult. it has rarely succeeded in the past and i think the fall of mosul is probably the most graphic illustration of just how hard it is to contain the civil war -- the spillover from one civil war from affecting another. the last point i'd make is simply to do nothing would be the worst choice of all. thank you very much. >> well, thank you all for your testimony and, i'm sorry, i had to step out but we had the benefit of having your testimony in advance. so let me ask you, ambassador jeffrey, if maliki is the problem and maliki somehow rises to be the prime minister again,
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what's the course of events for us? >> first of all, it's not going to be easy for them to hang on as prime minister. it will be easy of at least part of the sunni community and part of the kurdish community to get above the 165 that is needed. what i fear is that there will be a long delay and that's what we had in 2010 where he'll be the acting prime minister for many months and people will get more discouraged. i think the first thing is for us to press for this process to go forward. because i think that most iraqis, including many of the shia parties believe they need a new leader. if he does stay in power, then our options are far more along the lines that dr. pollack has mentioned at the end of the problem in dealing with iraq and
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syria, from jordan, from kurdistan and turkey to the extent that's possible, to both try to contain the anger and go after some of these isil elements that are threatening us or threatening the stability of the region. it will be very hard to work with a government in baghdad that does not have the buy-in of the sunnis and the kurds and will not be possible to assist in any retakeover of the sunni areas by an army that does not represent of the people of the region. >> and if the flipside of that happens, that, in fact, he does not continue as prime minister, what are the immediate things that the next government will have to do in order to create the type of national unity that can fight isis and not have the ability to disintegrate. >> i have my own list, we have
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our own list and iraqis have their own list as well. there has to be a deal on oil. brett mcgurk has talked about some of the options. they are ready, they are on the shelf and it will give them an overall slice of resources while bringing them back into the system. that's real important. there needs to be real revenue sharing. they've already tried this. up until recently, the kurds were getting 17%. some of the either oil-producing provinces, kirkuk, are those with a lot of pilgrims and they are getting slices of the iraqi government budget to execute their own programs and they were very, very successful. there's a model also on the shelf to have more economic federalism. so it's not just a list of things. if you want inclusiveness, you get a guy that lacks inclusiveness. that will do any more economic
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plan. if you want a more economic i can federalism, you introduce financial and energy policies that will see to that. if you want to have a security force that is capable of doing what general barbero said, let's have commanding control which is the no the case now. >> dr. pollack, do you have anything to add? >> i think the united states needs to do a molot more to mak clear what we would do to help them if they actually took the steps that we are looking for. right now, my sense from iraqis is we're demanding a great deal from them but we're not actually letting them know what we would do for them if we took what are actually very difficult steps. that gets to ambassador jeffrey's point about how we need to be pressuring them and pushing this process forward. getting rid of prime minister
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maliki is going to be very difficult and i think the iraqis need to understand in much more concrete terms, rather than the more vague promises that they seem to be hearing from the administration about what they would get if they did it. >> chairman bchl arbero, i am really hesitant to continue to authorize sales or to approve sales -- it's the administration to authorize them -- but to approve sales when i see what has happened so far with very critical arm ma meant that has fallen into the hands of isis as a result of it being abandoned on the battlefield. so how -- in light of your comments that we need to respond to iraqi's request for help, which i assume in part is possibly air strikes but also they are looking for equipment, how do we create the safeguards so that if we're going to help we don't end up having our weaponry fall in the hands of
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isis and use the forces that we want to defeat them? >> it's it will just happen. >> but not to the tune -- >> no, i agree. i think from this assessment we look at which are the good units of the iraqi security forces and we invest heavily in them with advice, training, whatever they need. and then take a hard look at what they are asked for and what we are willing to share with them and make some decisions. but a senior iraqi leader last week said to me, where is america? russians are supporting us. we want americans, you're our friends.
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they have three fixed wing aircraft to shoot hell fires. you can't, as i said, air strike your way out of this. i would pick the right units from this assessment and i would invest in them with the weapons and equipment that we feel -- that would help. >> well, i would say to the iraqis, billions of dollars, hundreds of lives, that's where america has been. and and i would also remind you that they were unwilling to pursue a status of forces agreement which might have created the wherewithal to continue to solidify the iraqi security forces. and so i think they have to think about the decisions that they have made not to relive them but to instruct them moving
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forward. senator corker? >> thank you, mr. chairman. and again, thank you for being here. i think a lot of times our second panels are actually better than the first. but by that time people have other business. thank you so much for your help. dr. pollack, you responded when senator menendez just mentioned that they were unwilling to pursue a status of forces agreement. i'm just wondering what you were hoping to say but did it instead with an expression. >> yeah. i think that what was going through my head, both the united states and iraq failed each other and themselves. it was a moment when i think that prime minister maliki was, at best, ambivalent and history has proven would have been beneficial to him. and the united states was
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ambivalent itself about whether it wanted to stay. >> and our focus needs to be on the future but i know ambassador jeffrey has had a give and take publicly in writing about this. is that your impression of what happened during that time? just very brefly. i want to move on to other things. >> very briefly, the administration following the recommendation of its military leaders and my recommendation in 2010 offered to keep troops on. in essence, the maliki government and most of the political parties agreed to have troops that got hung up on the question of a status of forces agreement. al maliki was reluctant to do this. controlling the sunnis in government said he would not move any further than maliki would move that undercut how we had done the deal back in 2008 when we had gotten the earlier agreement and, frankly, time ran
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out. in terms of how enthusiastic the administration was about it, i had my instructions which were to try to get an agreement. >> so i noticed -- thank you both for that clarification. there's been a discussion of the order of steps that need to take place and there's been a heavy emphasis on getting the right political situation. i think all of you agree with that. some of you would like to see us go ahead and take some steps now. let me ask you, general, what do you think -- what are some of the elements of debate that are taking place now relative to -- if you were guessing and my guess is that you actually talked with some of these people from time to time. but prior to us knowing if they are going to have an inclusive government, someone other than maliki, what do you think are some of the elements of the debate that are taking place inside the administration relative to taking some small steps, not something sustained but some of the small steps that
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i think y'all mentioned might build morale at a minimum and will stave some of the steps that isil are taking. >> i think there's been a reliance on this as miss slotkin said in a process. this process has, in my view, become a way to not take action. and we're in a situation where isis, as i said, is threat and they are gaining strength. i think there's been discussion of air strikes. and you can't take air strikes on targets without having precision if you see the entities out in the desert. that will only be for fleeting effect. just doing air strikes or drone strikes can have some effect and
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it won't be lasting or decisive. i think there is great reluctance to put -- reintroduce american forces. i get that. i understand. but if this is an exestential threat and if the iraqis security forces are the way to deal with this and these iraqi security forces are not prepared or capable of dealing with it, you can't close that circle without external help to these forces. i hope it's not a question of if we should support the iraqi security forces and introduce the steps that i said is a question of when and now and we've had this assessment, how quickly. >> so the fear would be paralysis through purposeful, long-term analysis, that would
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be the fear, just analyzing this forever and not taking action and i also agree with you, there there are some reticence to get back involved militarily. let me ask you this. malachi obviously he may not have been a good prime minister but he understands the debate that's taking place in our country and knows that him being gone while we might not have laid out clearly is a great comment from you to share with them specifically what we would do if they had this inclusive government. i think it's a great point. but can you tell if there's any leveraging taking place by malachi right now knowing that we are not going to get involved if he is still there? is there any activity that's occurring relative to him trying to leverage as in other ways?
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>> i think first of all he points out directly that he did very well in the last elections. winning personally 700,000 vot votes. under the constitution he should be given by the new president selected today within 15 days an opportunity to form a government and under the constitutional process i think it will be hard for him to farm it, after 30 days the mandate has to pass to another party. now that's a lot of time to consume doing this. i think as a minimum he's going to want to play this out. he also says in the anti-americans having sent 775
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additional forces to iraq are ready to help them out regardless of what happens. again i think i and many others have said under certain circumstances right now striking isil would impose the danger is important but we cannot provide the full gambit, the full breadth of support that they need absolutely a must we have an inclusive government that can bring in the sunnis in bringing the and it won't happen with out him. >> one more question in my time is up. there is discussion and you all said this about this being a regional approach. serious and iraq obviously having no border between them anymore, what are some of the dynamics on the syrian side that as we look at this regionally and i know you are focused on iraq now, that complicate with
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assad being in power would it come to get her ability look at it regionally? >> i'm glad to start senator and i think one of the most obvious problems as the ones i have our dimension which is when you look only at syria we look at it and we say we do not like the assad regime and we wanted on and therefore the question is simply helpless to help the opposition. if we look at iraq we have a situation where you have a shia group in charge of the government. they are likely to remain in charge of the government and we are going to want to maintain good ties with them. simultaneously we have a sunni opposition that includes people we really dislike isis in militants and others are we very much like suthers a complexity that's involved. therefore in a support to one of these groups becomes complicated by the opposite effect it has with the other so providing enormous support to sunni opposition in syria inevitably some of that support is going to flow to opposition to sunni
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groups in iraq. some of whom i may not like. helping the malik government the border is going to be seen by some in the region as supporting the wider shia cause which also encompasses the assad government. obviously that's only the tip of the iceberg. there's a lot more to talk about but we do need to recognize the complexity that's been introduced into the situation by having simultaneously civil wars in iraq and syria that are by and large merged which the region sees in a very simple way is a sunni-shia fight but which we see in a much more complex way. >> would you like to add to that? >> at the good senator the good senator senator is for his original approach we know that isis they are launching money but the way to choke these organizations is to go after their financing. now for the near-term they have plenty of that. however we know their regional actors supporting them in supporting isis and we should employ as i said in my statement
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our intelligence community to identify those are -- actors and use every tool we have the department of commerce the department treasury to go after those actors and the sources of funding. we have a good idea where it's coming from. let's identify them and target them as part of a regional approach to this growing problem. >> mr. chairman thank you. thank you all for being here. >> one last set of questions general. you served in iraq to train and equip iraqi forces and when u.s. forces left iraq it seems iraqi forces were on their way to becoming a capable force. so the question, it begs the question what happens? why did the isf capability and capacity he wrote so quickly? >> senator a tough question and
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it's tough to see what has happened and it's tough to see what has been happening over the last few years. i've been back to iraq many times over the last couple of years since i left active duty. the isf was built to handle a low-level insurgency and our goal was to get back to a state where they were good enough. frankly when i was there in 2009 and 10 and 2011 the assumption we had as we did our development plan there would be a residual force of advisers and trainers to continue this development. i did an assessment in the summer of 2010 from ben general odierno which we briefed to everyone in iraq and every iraqi leader saying here is where your forces are going to be in december 2011. we want to convince them and show them the capabilities and the shortfalls of their forces.
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the shortfalls we identified some are very obvious. they couldn't control their own airspace that we said you have a systemic problem. your military readiness of your equipment is in a death spiral unless you do something seriously. he won't be able to field an army. your command-and-control structure is not workable. it's peacetime for command-and-control of the population directly to the prime minister has to change. you do not have an nco corps and what i think most fundamentally is and we told the iraqi scene must invest in training. good armies train continuously and we didn't see that before we left and we haven't seen any evidence of absence them. so the short answer is that development that needed to take place with the iraqi security forces from december 2011 to july 2014 has not taken place.
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we can go back and forth on advisers and trainers but you know. >> if that is the case then what will advisers now be able to do at this stage that will make a difference on the ground with iraqi forces? >> when we were on the ground with them and advising and training it did make a difference. first we stop the bleeding. they are under severe duress with the campaign that started in baghdad. isis led up so we'll if this is in our interest to me to get something in there to help them stop the bleeding and start building these forces that this will not take weeks or months. this is going to take a while to get them to a state that is a set of my comments unless we have an iraqi government is
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willing to accept these changes and willing to place these changes into their structure in a way they do business, i would question whether we should do it. >> the questions. can air stres last question. forces. they can help relieve pressure. they can help degrade my point is we cannot think that
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just their airstrikes in drone strikes we can solve this problem. i would argue even hold it in advance. they would nick a difference. he would not make a decisive difference so you flip, the other side of this then is the training and assist so that -- be iraqi forces can they possibly recover the country? even with the training and assist? >> i think they could. >> we are talking about what period of time? >> months. it's not going to happen overnight. >> senator if i could support general barbero. i've seen it myself. the south vietnamese army and the north vietnamese army invaded for the first time. they started melting force in
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mosul. millions of dollars of u.s. equipment was lost within days. then mommy started airstrikes they changed the psychology of those forces almost overnight and within three months they had recovered almost the entire country. we saw in libya and we saw in kosovo and bosnia where airstrikes can provide lightly equipped sometimes not too well-trained forces. the difference in taking on better equipped forces as brett mcgurk described earlier today dealing with the tribe near mosul and dealing with the government and a sunni governor against isil they are outgunned. he described how they had volunteers to go into volusia but they lost in a battle to isil because the people were better equipped and better trained so a combination of airstrikes on advisers now boots on the ground can make a huge difference. >> one last question for you general.
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are you surprised by the alarming reports of iraqi security forces against the adulteration by shia militias and a lack of accountability and how do we engage with the iraqi forces to deal with those challenges? >> senator i was in erbil baghdad in late may so that developments in mosul and what has happened after that i think was a shock in mosul and baghdad and washington. i was shocked by it but as i drive it down -- drive around baghdad or basra or their other places of last year to checkpoint army. i have said that. indeed you cannot take on an isis if you have been in static positions are on the defense and not trained for offensive operations. what is troubling is the troubling is you right up to these army checkpoints and there she is religious banners across
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baghdad and certainly in basra. so there must be a fundamental change in the nature of these forces and not only the governments but the forces to allow participation by sunni and in this unified effort that we require. >> i appreciate your insight. i am not a military guy but i will say when an american soldier volunteers, he fights for a cause or principle for a set of values, he fights for his nation. he or she fights for their nation. if the job is just a job then it doesn't turn out the same way. and if it's difficult to get an iraqi army, if you don't feel you are fighting for the totality of the country shia,
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sunni and kurd, then that's a real problem and that's a real problem. anyhow i appreciate all of your insights as we grappled with the choices we have to make. this record will remain open until the close of business tomorrow. thanks to the committee and this hearing is adjourned.
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>> if you are in government you are dealing with the daily tyranny of the inbox. you are focused on the crisis of the day. part of my or sponsor buddy as undersecretary defense was representing the secretary depends on the so-called deputies committee which is sort of the theater level group that
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is working through the issues developing options for principles and the president. a lot of crisis management focus. when you are in a think tank you are a real utility is not trying to second-guess the policymaker on issues of the day but help to do some work to raise their gaze to look over the horizon to see what are the issues i'm going to confront a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now and how do i think more strategically about america's role in the world? now "fox news" national security analyst kt mcfarland is critical of president obama's foreign policy decisions in the middle east and ukraine.
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she spoke at the centennial institute's annual western conservative summit. ♪ >> ellis i have to tell you when i worked from a column -- krispy kreme donuts broback to say no way. i was first here two years ago and my dear friend ambassador maryland where introduced me. nobody had any idea who i whispered i got up and i said to hear watches "fox news" in everybody's hands went up. i said on the brunette. they all got it. by the way everybody still watch "fox news"? raise your hands. "fox news" in its infinite wisdom has started hiring brunettes and you just saw, we have kimberly gill ford and andrea canteros.
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you just heard from my new colleague mert katharine ham that burnett and even katie pavlicek who is the new hires the blonde but she's a dark blonde. so we are very excited that this is a new trend. i was really very pleased when john andrew wanted me to come back and talk about foreign policy. i started writing my remarks about two weeks ago. i was listening on monday to the president's press secretary who said president obama has ushered in a new era of global tranquility. [laughter] so i wrote the this speech, right? >> guest: what? by thursday there were several wars. so i decided i'm going to rewrite the speech and talk to you about why we are not in an era of global tranquility. in fact i think in the last six years in our foreign policy we have never seen a more dangerous world that bad leaders.
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we have been in bad places before, don't get me wrong. we had a civil war and we had world war ii. there have been very difficult dark times in america's history but this is one of the few times were we have had extremely weak leadership and leadership which wants to step back from the world stage. when president obama started declaring the error of leading from behind which is what i think the obama doctrine is all about he didn't understand when you lead from behind you are leaving a big gap of trenton but we have seen in the last several months as a number of regional countries rushing to fill that gap. i think the president honestly and the people around him their idea of leaving from behind was that everything that happened before in america's leadership in the world george bush was creating a more typical than destabilize world. they thought they could take america down a notch then everybody would be equal and then we would have some, usher in this area of global
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governance and global community and it's been an unmitigated disaster. if i asked you to raise your hands how many of you think we are in an era of greater tranquility in the globe? we are really smart. nobody raised their hands and you are right. i want to go around the world and do a quick summary of why we have got a lot of problems in various regions in the world than what i think maybe a way out of it. if you look at what's happened in the last 72 hours, yesterday or two days ago we had the russian shoot forces in eastern ukraine shoot a civilian airliner out of the air. i don't think they would have done that. i don't think the russians would have been in eastern ukraine without a sense that the united states had withdrawn after his leadership role in the world. we also then in the afternoon on thursday afternoon israel went into gaza to try to restore the tunnels that have been plaguing
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israel security. went into gaza and address the hamas military threat. i don't think we would have had hamas be as bold as they have been and certainly not as well supplied from i ran as they have been without a sense america wasn't going to do anything about it. those are two very stark examples in the last 72 hours of america's withdrawal from leadership in the world. but i think it's bigger than that. as i go around the world on a quick tour of the global crisis look at iraq and syria. isis, to more radical form believe it or not that al-qaeda is the islamic state of iraq and syria which they have renamed themselves the islamic state. it's an part of syria, some part of iraq. is the richest terrorist group in the world probably 2 billion under their belt. they have seized oilfield so they are going to have your punishment of that money in the years to come and their goal is to expand in the middle east.
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so they said jordan next, let lebanon, we are looking at the sinai peninsula so al-qaeda even though the president has said a year ago, two years ago al-qaeda is on the run. we have got bin laden. they are on the ropes again that al-qaeda is in more countries and bigger strength than ever before. so they are now in the middle east. they are in yemen. they are in north africa. they are in somalia with boko haram and to me the most upsetting from our security standpoint is two things. one they have a new leader, very charismatic guy who i think probably will be the man who inherits the mantle of osama bin laden and to top somewhere between two and 4000 fighters in iraq and syria to carry a american and european passports. they have vowed the next stop new york. in fact the guy who was the new charismatic leader his name is
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albedhady, when he was several years or eight years ago in american custody he said when he left cu in new york. their objective is to come to cause terrorist activities not only in the region but in the united states and europe. we now have the means to do that because we have a european passport you can enter easily. because we have a porous southern border people without american passports can enter the united states easily. so as much as we think that this is the global governance air of tranquility and that they think of qaeda which continues to present an anonymous threat to the united states that threat is going to grow. the second part of the world is i ran. what nobody is noticed in the last 24 hours the nuclear negotiations with them having in vienna with i ran have just sort of failed. we have had a six-month extension. we will negotiate with i ran for the next six months to dismantle
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their nuclear program but the iranians have basically said we are not dismantling a darned thing. we want you to believe the sanctions, so our economy can improve but we have no intention of dismantling our nuclear program. there are now spending in i ran more centrifuges than we have starbucks in america. the supreme leader of i ran the guy who makes the decisions said that's not enough. they would like 10 times as many. we now see iraq where al qaeda is assembling an i ran book which is very emboldened. they think they have gotten a terrific deal with united states and i think they are probably right. then let's go to israel and hamas. we have seen israel goes to the gaza strip. we have seen hamas very well supplied by i ran continuing its assault against israel. i don't think i ran and their clients how moss have any
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intention of defeating israel on the battlefield. they know they can't do that. they know if they lob rockets into israel israel has created this missile defense system called the iron dome. they know if they did the tunnels the israelis will find them and collapse the tamil spirit what they do know however is that they can win in the world public opinion and that is why this conflict that just started yesterday between israel and gaza and hamas on the gaza strip continues for a week to 10 days which i think it will be will see world public opinion turned against israel. hamas understands that if they have enough casualties, they can show the world this is terrible israel that's killing all of our civilians the world public opinion turns against israel and israel becomes more isolated and i think their ultimate goal is not the one on the battlefield but to drive a wedge between the united states and israel. not quite this world of global tranquility.
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then i think you murder further afghanistan, maybe that was never ours to win but his shirt sure is ours to lose. i go further look at china. china last several years has built a blue water navy. their military which i think is more aggressive than their political leadership has started doing maps and the new maps have been showing say that the south china sea is really an internal chinese link. they have said anybody flying over the region that needs to get chinese permission and in a ship going to the region should get permission from the chinese as well. they are not going to bore cf but that is down their plan. by the way the south china sea region includes vietnam and thailand cambodia the philippines indonesia malaysia and if you take it further north include south korea and japan. those are countries that are extremely nervous about what they see as american abdication of the region and a leadership role in the pacific. then let's sort of swing forward to europe.
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actually before we go to europe was go to the southern border. we don't have a southern border anymore and is a national security person i am concerned with an immigration problem in an economic problem in a public health problem. we can solve those problems. it will take time and it will take money that we can sell them. what we can't solve is it that porous southern border has people coming through the porous southern border to carry a backpack and they have a backpack bomb or instead of young people children come across you have suicide bombers coming across. the fact that we have seen on this side of the rio grande dictionaries which are english and urdu. urdu is the language that the taliban. >> , translations and we now have indications that they are in the groups coming across the southern border there are populations that come from dangerous places pakistan and afghanistan and somalia.
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that is my concern is in that porous southern border what comes across as much as people who say well i want to take down the world trade center but its numbers of people who can come across the united states rate they are experienced fighters. they know what they are doing. they could marry up with american passport holders and you can see eight years from now you could see sustained and continuous terrorist attacks in united states. not big ones but little ones but those are almost as dangerous as little ones. if you had 10 simultaneous attacks in american shopping centers across the country we don't stay home and hide under the bed. and that they are. not quite think we have a real danger in our southern border. then i want to flip across the atlantic and go to europe. our relations with the europeans are great nato allies. the chairman were supposed to be our great allies won't even talk to the white house and the administrations.
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angola miracle who has been a stalwart success in the european union and economically and politically we spy on her and we never apologized afterwards. our relations on the allies we have grown in the past have relied on those are frayed. ..
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the russians have trips along the border but they have also sent troops and tanks then. they are not wearing russian uniforms. they ripped the insignia off. they are wearing brown shirts and a ' call them brownshirts. they have tanks and aircraft and various high levels of ammunition, ammunition's and artillery and they have wrapped the markings off the side that we have been invaded. the russians will tell you that they have nothing to do with this. this is just at the russians in eastern ukraine who like the people in crimea wanted to hook up with the mother ship. that's not what's happening. what was on the last 48 hours is exactly what happens when that
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invasion takes root. i think there's not much good news about a civilian airliner being shot down but the world now understands that the phony war that i was hearing about five weeks ago is now out in the open. people understand what putin is doing and this wasn't just a plan to do it on the eastern ukrainian border. this was a plan that putin had to go country after country after country exciting the ethnic russians on the western border of russia and getting them to leave their areas to abdicate their citizenship whether it's in poland or ukraine or georgia and rejoin russia. so now the world knows what he's up to. the question is what will the world do about it? so this is all terrific. a resurgent russia and i ran is about to get nuclear weapons and cause a nuclear arms race in the middle east. israel is in a very dangerous position in the middle east.
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al-qaeda has now taken over countries declaring the fact that they want to kill all christians and jewish and the birthplace of christianity and judaism, porous southern border, china is on the move. it all sounds pretty grim, right? but they now ask you how many of you think america's best days are over? that we are a country and decline? at the world has passed us by? the majority of american people think that in they are wrong. because there are two theories in world history. one says that all countries and immutable universal law country start, they rise and they have it in the sun and they inevitably decline. the other school of thought is america somehow exempt from this, that we are different and we keep reinventing ourselves because of who we are. out of many nationalities we come together in a different system of governance.
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3-d mapping and realize we have a lot of energy. we have also developed a technology to drill down deep and horizontally to extract that energy at a reasonable price. that is a strategic dream -- game-changer. it's a strategic game-changer that i think is the equivalent of the united states running world war ii. here's what's going to happen. not now but two years from now or six years from now through her going to have cheap energy. it's going to have -- create a lot of energy jobs not just in colorado but western pennsylvania north dakota. the second thing that's going to happen is because of cheap and inexpensive energy we are going to have a resurgence and repatriation called
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manufacturing jobs. remember when ross perot ran for president he said there's this giant sound that all the jobs are leaving america and going to other countries? >> guest: what? they are coming back. they are coming back because it's a great place to do business that they are coming back for real economic reasons. i met with the two heads of the european energy companies. one is a french energy company and emi is the timeline. they said europe is never going to recover economically because our competitors are america and america all of a sudden whatever the price is going to be to manufacture a widget in germany is going to be cheaper to manufacture the united states because your energy is going to be so much less expensive. if you think of japan, so we are going to have good energy jobs now. the next round is manufacturing returns to the united states. ..
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>> then i think the headed states for our children and grandchildren will be a great and america will be "the shining" city on this bill just to'' ronald
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reagan. [applause] so we go way back. working for president nixon he had a big job because he wrote his speeches. but now we are back again. >> that is the ultimate control. [laughter] >> you were a pretty smart guy. >> thank you so very much the third time at the summit and it just keeps getting better. [applause] >> i have been talking about the conservative summit for the i patter or the iphone for the android get the mobile teeeight app uk get
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that edmund burke badge you could get their break-in badger the lincoln badge you could even get the us andrew bator that of margaret thatcher badge and here i feel the spirit of the iron lady with k.t. the toughness, wisdom, fighting spirit is being channeled and we are grateful for you. [applause] >> let me tell you a great margaret thatcher's tory. we got to know each other during a of a break-in administration and i ran for the senate and she said whenever you go to an interview take to address is. [laughter] she brought down the iron curtain and said you'd never know what kind of background you will have and you want to make okay i had a blue
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dress on earlier and i just change. they q margaret thatcher. thank you very much. [applause] >> so i would start and i'm -- a pilot program called opportunity grant consolidating 11 federal programs into one stream of funding to participating states. it would be classified different ways to provide aid and test results with
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more flexibility in exchange for more accountability. basically get rid of the bureaucratic formula is to put emphasis on results. participation is voluntary space is forced choo-chooing and and tell all the evidence is in. don't just pass the law and hope for the best of you have an idea let's try it or tested. don't make promise after promise. here is how it would work. teefour .. ..
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the federal government would say go to it on poor conditions. first, you have to spend this money on people who need it. he can't take this money and put it on the road of bridges. second, every person who can work should work. third, you have to get people basic choices. the state welfare agency can't be the only game in town. people must have at least one other option whether it's a nonprofit and for-profit or whatever. fourth, you have to test the results. the federal government in the state must enter a neutral third party to keep track of progress. if approved the state could use that money to expand state programs and partner with local providers. in other words families in need
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would have a choice. there would just be a federal agency or state agency. instead they could choose from a list of certified providers. we are talking non-profits and charities. for prophets like america works or even groups that are unique to your neighborhood. these groups would work with people one-on-one and provide a personalized aid for case management. think of it this way. right now you have got to go to a bunch of different offices to enroll in a bunch of different programs each with all their different rules. under the opportunity grant you can go to one office and work with one person for all units. that person would give you financial assistance and would also add a personal resource. maybe you are struggling with addiction and you need counseling. maybe you come from a broken family and you need a network of support. the point is you would work together to get you from where you are to where you want to be.
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>> you can watch all of congressman ryan's remark on our web site. go to >> 40 years ago the watergate scandal led to the only resignation of an american president. american history tv revisits 1974 and the final weeks of the nixon administration. this weekend the house judiciary committee as it considers impeachment of president and the charge of abuse of power. >> what you have your questions about what the framers had in mind, questions about whether the activities that have been found out by the committee and by the senate watergate committee were indeed in teachable and thirdly can we prove richard nixon knew about them and even authorize them?
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>> nagl acting veterans affairs secretary sloan gibson is questioned about his additional funding requests for va services. he testified before the house veterans affairs committee which is chaired by jeff miller. this week in the senate veterans affairs committee unanimously agreed to approve ronald mcdonald -- the senate could vote as soon as this week. >> today's source hearing in restoring trust. i want to ask unanimous consent also that representative fitzpatrick from the state of pennsylvania be allowed to join us at the dais today and participate in this morning's hearing. without objection so ordered. the committee is going to examine his morning what steps we need to take to help the department of veterans affairs to get back on track to meet its core mission, a mission to
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provide quality health care to our veterans. since the beginning of june, this committee has held almost a dozen full committee oversight hearings, some of them as you well know have gone way into the night and summoned to the early morning hours. we want to do a top to bottom review to delve into how we are now situated in a crisis at the department of veterans affairs. while i hope to focus on the major things we have covered and received updates from va this morning on the topics that we have talked about over the last few weeks, i can promise the department and the committee members here that as we move forward to help mend the broken va system the oversight done by this committee is going to continue. mr. secretary in a written statement you state that the status quo in our working
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relationship must change and that the department will continue to work openly with congress and provide information in a timely manner. first i agree that a relationship between the va in this committee must change. we must go back to the way business used to be handled for decades when members and staff could communicate directly with b.a. senior leaders about routine business we conduct with the department. using the phrase continue to work openly is in my opinion not a reflection of the current reality that we find ourselves in. members of this committee, other members of congress and our staff are being stonewalled to this day and you will hear several questions that relate to that information. for example the day after our july 14 vba hearing our colleague mr. jolly personally spoke to the director of the st. petersburg regional office and asked for information regarding the firing of
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mr. javier soto a whistleblower who testified at the hearing. mr. soto raised serious concerns about retaliatory actions and mismanagement and it is incumbent upon the commission to a investigate those allegations. instead of being open on some of the process about mr. soto's removal the va has equivocated stonewalled and changed its story and instructed members of this committee in what appears to be an attempted coverup and i say appears to be an attempted cover-up of bas retaliation about mr. soto. we are prepared to subpoena the documents if that's what it takes. we have got to get compliance with the multiple requests we have paid to the department. i could not agree with you more that the department needs to earn back the trust of veterans, their families, the veteran service organizations, members of congress and the american people to deliver decisive and truthful action. the recent scandals that have tarnished trust in the v-8 on
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her affliction of a broken system that didn't just happen overnight. nor can it be fixed overnight. upon stepping up as the acting secretary, you have stated that there has to be changed and there has to be accountability. i have yet to see where the department has drawn the line and brought those people who have caused this crisis to justice. we have shown to many of our hearings that one country bidding factor to the current crisis is that va has clearly lost sight of its core mission. that extra funding didn't go to improvements but toward ancillary pet projects in an ever-growing bureaucracy. according to an article by former under secretary of health dr. kim kaiser in "the new england journal of medicine" vha central office staff has grown from about 800 in the late
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1990s to nearly 1,102,012. this further illustrates va shift the focus to building a bureaucracy as opposed to fulfilling its duty to providing quality care. as i said before the problems that exist today will not be fixed overnight. it cannot be fixed by simply throwing money at those problems. to date the va has been given every resource requested by the administration. every year during our budget oversight hearings members of this committee dr. row in particular has asked if the secretary had enough to do his job and every time time we have the committee were told unequivocally, yes. this is why the last week acting secretary said that an additional $17.6 billion was
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needed to ensure that va is available to deliver high-quality and timely health care to our veterans and when he did that he raised very obvious questions. where did the number come from? the substance to underlie this request and how were they made? what effort was made to look within existing resources in the department to meet these new sources or resource needs. i know many of my colleagues would agree that after multiple oversight hearings outside investigations, countless accounts being made by whistleblowers bas number simply cannot be trusted. va's determination that 10,000 additional medical staff as needed is also suppressing when the secretary's own written statements states and i quote va doesn't have the defined capacity to accurately quantify the staffing requirements and
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quote. if they don't have the ability to accurately predict staffing needs, then how do we know that 10,000 more bodies are what is needed to solve the problem? i would also remind members that we don't have any type of grasp on how the department is going to spend the new funding they have requested rate the presidents 2015 budget request, 1300 pages. you have all seen it. it's in your office. 1300 pages. the request from the department, they were first request from the department i have been saying was a three-page request and that request actually is a single page. this is all we have got. i hope all of you got a copy of this because this is how they in fact justify it.
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i asked the secretary on the telephone earlier this week if he would delve into and give us a more complete review of what they requested and i was told that we would get a much more detailed request. we got two pages. that's all we have got, two pages. entitled working estimate as of july 22 of 2014 for $17.6 billion. the number has been refined. just about 13.5 billion now but still, two pages for $13.5 billion? our veterans deserve the best and throwing money at the department into a system that has never been denied a time will not automatically fix the perverse culture that has encompassed the department.
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va can no longer consider itself the sacred cow. it's not subject to rules of good government and ethical behavior. veterans are sacred. va is not. ultimately we are talking about a system that has a bomb road ahead of it before he can get back to an organization deserving of the veterans and the sacrifices they have made. i hope that today you receive the needed insight from our veteran service organizations. they and their members were on the ground. they need to be partners if ea tries to rebuild the trust it has lost. i hope that together we can bring about true change to this broken system and a change, and a change that will fix the corrosive culture that has encompassed the department of veterans affairs for far too long. with bad i yield to the ranking member for his opening statement.
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>> thank you very much mr. chairman and good morning. i want to thank you mr. chairman for holding today's hearing and for leaving a rigorous oversight over this past few months. it's been a long road getting here. the hearings we have held over the past few months have revealed difficult and disturbing but ultimately important information. but the cheering we have heard of a different aspect describing veterans affairs that just isn't working. we heard about some challenges like the claims backlog and the technology issues which we have been confronting for quite sometime some time now. we learned of others like how the va treats whistleblowers and the reality of the data va reports, the new ones. the va has a good product. veterans get to see aba doctor they like the care that they get. when veterans get an eligibility
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reading and start receiving va benefits they find those benefits useful and helpful at the business model for producing and delivering and supporting the va product is fundamentally broke in. we have heard this time and again over the course of these hearings. there is a clear cultural problem at the department of veterans affairs race in. there are scheduling failures and technology problems. inconsistent office practices lead to a backlog that appear to be tackled at the expense of other services. the department of veterans affairs traced in is an agency that offers critical services to millions of our veterans. it's clear to me that when you have business minded approach to reform the agency. more of the same isn't going to solve the underlying problems. tweaks and band-aids around the margins aren't going to sustain the system. we need a new model, a new
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approach and a new way of thinking about and looking at the department greatly need immediate short-term fixes but we also need a long-term vision and a new approach to the business of the department of veterans affairs ration and i would like to thank you secretary gibson for joining us today and for your efforts over the last few months. you have stepped up to the plate at the most challenging moments in department of veterans affairs history and you own the problem of the organization that has been experienced over the last several years. i thank you for your increased effort to communicate with us on the hill. your dedication to our nation's veterans and exhibiting the courage to be the face of the department of veterans affairs ration were these very difficult times. ..
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so want to thank them for your continued effort. once again, wanted thank you for having this important hearing. with that i yield back the


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