tv Authors Discuss National Security CSPAN February 21, 2017 10:32pm-11:22pm EST
>> are we allowed to start? okay. usually there is adult situation that tells you what to do. it is always a great pleasure to moderate a panel at a writer's festival because you are dealing with men and women of incredible accomplishment, who have done journalism, literature of unusually high-quality and amazingly they are very articulate at speaking about what they have done. i am going to be self-indulgent with your permission. in all these years of doing
these, i have never been in the presence of a medal of honor recipient and jackets a true honor to be here with you. jack is one of those individuals who was willing to saddle up and ride to the sound of gunfire and serve our country. he is one of 75 recipients living and over the years at gatherings of men such as jack, he was with eddie rickenbacker, jimmy doolittle. it's quite, quite remarkable. [applause] i don't know if you have been watching the news this morning.
i envy you if you haven't. [laughter] but there are consequential events taking place in regards to the immigration policies of the administration which are confused and i don't say that critically. it was hard to figure out exactly what they are doing and how various people are responding but there is a process where over the next four weeks, four months whatever it may be, there will be a hault on people entering this country in certain categories from conflict countries and its results inevitably and perhaps predictably with some awkward circumstances but has provoked widespread demonstrations. last night brett gave a really
marvelous talk about immigration. [applause] and brett has agreed in the last 45 seconds to sort of reprise what he said in the context of what seems to be going on this morning and then larry and tim are going to talk about this aspect of national security assets expressed in immigration policy and then douglas is going to speak to the history of this kind of activity in our country. jack and i will not get involved in this one. so let's make it reasonably brief. brett, can we hear from you?
>> can you hear me now? i will speak loudly. as of this morning the order that the president gave yesterday throughout the afternoon has been revised so that green cardholders from some of the seven countries -- thank you. the seven countries affected -- sorry. am i speaking too loudly? you all can hear me. you are good. sorry about that. we now have a revised order which at least permits the green cardholders in the country from entering if they are legal residents of this country.
i would point out that my wife is a green card holder so i hope she will be able to travel in and out of the country. we still have a standing order that puts a moratorium for 120 days on citizens from seven countries from entering the united states and garrison a permanent and as far as i can tell when it comes to citizens from syria. last night a u.s. district judge in brooklyn stayed the order in order to allow those visitors who were already in the united states in the airport from coming into the country. that happened in part not only thanks to the judge's orders but protest at airports throughout the country.
i'm beginning to suspect from a political point of view that's too quote wonderful phrase what the president did was worse than a crime. it was a blunder. that is to say one thing americans will not stand for is additionally long lines and traffic jams. [laughter] [applause] we will take all kinds of other things lying down but not that. the larger question i think and i will sum up here, the larger question isn't really about disorder per se. it's about how we go about believing what security is and how important we feel maintaining baseline american values is to the long-term broader maintenance of american security. it was one item that i thought was interesting when the present
order from the iraqi parliament banned americans from traveling to iraq, i hadn't been planning a vacation in fallujah but you never know. this has consequences. we have to think of security in some broader more sophisticated way than simply placing blanket bans on a fraction of the country which are terror producing. i would finally add when you think of terror incidents in the united states in recent years most of them have come from people born in the united states with american passports or least better than race in the united states. that's a tsarnaev brothers in 2013 who came over here and omar mateen in orlando and farook of
the san bernardino killing and the young man who blew up the detonated a bomb on 23rd street who came over here as a young child so i think we ought to think carefully about this idea that simply putting up further barricades at u.s. entry points in fact makes us more secure. >> larry what is your sense of this kind of security preparation? >> we talk about the panel on how to make as they began the more fundamental question is are we in danger and from muslims the truth is not very much danger. about 120 americans have been killed in muslim terrorists compared to the hundreds of thousands of people who have died by other causes, gangs and domestic violence so it's a small portion and yet the level of fear and anxiety surrounding
this issue is totally outside. the muslim community in america is a very successful one. and on the average that has a higher level of education. it makes the same level of income at every stage. it's far less like late than the average an american to go to prison. compare that to europe and france for instance where about 10% of the population is muslim. 60% of the prisoners are so what's the difference between that country and america and why is europe in my opinion such a peril right now? america has been comparatively safe. i think the difference can be spelled out with a single word which is alienation.
if you are a young muslim on the outskirts of paris or in belgium were the number one words for a child born in belgium today is mohammed if you are one of those kids who the culture looks at you and says you are not one of us, who are you? how do you identify yourself? it's not surprising given that degree of alienation that when someone says who are you they respond i am a muslim and then they go to the mosque and they find other alienated young men who feel the same way and then they begin to radicalize. that's dangerous and so if we begin to alienate our own very successful immigrant community to the degree that we see in europe than we are asking for the same kinds of problems that europe now endures.
[applause] >> thank you. almost exactly one week ago to the hour president trump went to the central intelligence agency, a building that some of us are familiar with and we have stood in the lobby. as you walk in on the right-hand wall there are 117 stars representing 117 men and women of the cia who died in the line of duty. trump stood with his back without wall. on the facing wall looking down on him and great gilt letters this high is john 8:32 and you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free. trump couldn't see that because as he walked into the room
everyone stood and you saw photographs you will notice the first two rows remain standing there out the speech because trump ignorant of protocol never said please be seated. and i'm going to use a crib sheet and quote some of the things he said. the trump campaign is being investigated by the central intelligence agency and the fbi. you know that, right? it is. for its ties to vladimir putin. trump return has compared the cia to the nazis and the gestapo and it's a fine how do you do to get to know one another. trump stands up and says come he doesn't talk about the honor of
serving your country. doesn't talk about patriotism. he doesn't talk about sacrifice. he talks about trump and he says probably everybody in this room voted for me. we are on the same wavelength, folks. if so that's a very broadband. trust me i'm a smart person. i feel like i'm 30, 35, 39. did everybody see the speech trump talking about is not grow. meanwhile there have been many people marching in the streets of washington one of whom i saw in a photo holding a sign that says i was born in 1989. i don't want to die in 1950. i think that gets to the point of where i'm heading. if you are in the audience you are an intelligence officer and
you had been in a world of facts where facts are a matter of life and death. and information is power. the united states has spent trillions of dollars since the cia was created under the national security act of 1947 trying to keep america safe by gathering intelligence which is secret information about what's going on in the world. the president now has the power of life and death using the cia and the military. he has power over drones spy satellites covert operations. he can listen in on anyone in the world. and he is saying to the cia talking about iraq come the cia
has fought many battles in iraq and trump as saying he wants to win. we are going to start winning again. you are going to be leading the charge. if we kept the oil we probably wouldn't have isis because that's where they make their money. maybe we will have another chance. do you think they want to have another chance of occupying iraq quick says that going to make america safe? i'm good. >> you've got got to move on. >> i'm going to sum up. what we are looking at in the past nine days as an attempt to undo everything that is the construct in the last 70 years including nato, the national security establishment, the structures of the post-war world that kept america safe and prevented world war iii. we are heading into uncharted waters where the medieval mapmakers wrote -- [applause]
>> douglas can you talk to the american experience and immigration and the fear or hostility that has accompanied it? >> to me it's very sad since we have been here at the book festival that the symbol of our country is the statue of liberty and seems like in one week donald trump stripped the spotlight off the statue of liberty on this extraordinary anti-immigration posture that i don't think is popular with the majority of the american people. anti-immigration obviously is not a new phenomenon and nativism has been with us forever. since the 19th century we have to a know-nothing party. they were against mormons and catholics, jewish and many people in the audience know the whole history of anti-semitism in america, jim crow bigotry. what's surprising about the moment now with the trump movement is that he made it to the white house.
usually these kinds of figures are french people that follow the george wallace poplis permit who was a third-party candidate and galvanize a lot of the south and strom thurmond as a dixiecrat ross perot got 19% of the vote in 1992 on his anti-nafta sentiment. joe mccarthy got -- until edward r. murrow went after him in the u.s. army went after him and eisenhower eventually handled the beast that for a while mccarthy was tracking quite thin. what's dangerous about donald trump's is ability to use media, modern media and the social media effectively enough to have gotten elected but the shock and awe strategy of the first week. he is acting as if he has been
mandated here lecturing. franklin roosevelt had a mandate for the new deal. not only did he have the democratic congress and senate that he had maps of landslide to do something for the great depression. ronald reagan won a massive revolution in 1987 and he really had a mandate. donald trump is operating without a clear mandate. he lost the popular vote. you were alone he has had asked 40% that i think it's going to be about 35% of the american people backing his actions yet he's unraveling 70 years of american foreign policy, american values and to strike banning the seven countries is going to be the anti-muslim sentiment involved and the selection of christians are okay and the muslims aren't isn't a
new chapter in american history. we have had native american genocide and we have had jim crow. we are now scapegoating fellow citizens in a kind of of hatred that's going on against our fellow citizens and we are losing some of our stature in the world because of it. we can only hope that somehow the trump the protests against this happening so great that it will cause a correction in the trump administration but he doesn't seem like the kind of leader that does corrections well. so i'm afraid we are going to be in for a very dark brutal tough year and it might play out in the 2018 elections when the opposition could come and maybe fled over the trump white house. >> thank you. last night -- [applause] indeed.
at our session last night we asked the colleagues for each of them to name a book that would benefit the president to read as he determined what ensured the advancement in the security of the nation. i would be very appreciative if you five would individually come up with the name of the book that you would recommend to the president to read in the context of national security and in our last few minutes here i would love for you to say the book and describe why you think that hook would be so appropriate to the president. let's go back as though this weekend did not happen and talk about where the nation is in terms of security and defense
and what is working and what is not working. jack has been able to sit there and be at peace with the world. you spend a lot of time are certainly familiar with the pentagon. a lot of talk that our militaries in the a state of decline at least financially and materially. what is in your opinion the status of the american military particular vis-à-vis the russians and the chinese? >> we have a cell flawless land force and one of the prensa reasons is that we have become an aberrant -- enamored of technology. we are in an environment where we can decide whether to send a precision-guided of the left or right nostril of somebody. we can do just about anything with technology. the result of that is that we decided we are going to focus on
technology and hardware and the software that goes with it. we are not spending much time on people. i can tell you from experience that it's relatively easy to take objectives particularly if you have overwhelming firepower but at the end of the day it's much more difficult to hold onto objectives because that in the end takes people. if you want to save money which is what we have been trying to do an environment in which hardware cost an enormous pile of money you don't cancel programs. indeed if you were to cancel programs today he wouldn't save any money today. as a matter of fact if you want to cancel most programs today would cost you more to cancel and you wouldn't save any money until the out-years but if you want to save money right now the easiest way to do it is to get rid of people because you save money instantly.
that is what we are doing and my concern is that we may be able to take objectives assuming that we have the capability and even defining what objectives we want to take but we going to be able to hold onto them and we have seen the same thing happen on both a tactical and strategic bases all the way back to the war in which i thought and i can tell you in anecdote or two about that appeared suffice it to say i've taken plenty of objectives. >> i would love an anecdote. >> i would say one briefly. i was with the air force division on top thing on 600 meters away was another hill and we were just about to take that hill. we thought that there was a company may be 150, 160 enemy on top of it. because we didn't have the intelligence capability we have today we did know that there was a regiment minus on top about
1200 enemy soldiers. to make a long story short we attack the hill. we lost 47 going up the hill and 30 or 40 wounded but we finally got on top of the hill. what do you do when you take the objective, well you've got to hold the object if to paraphrase "seinfeld". you know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to hold the reservation and holding it is what it's all about. what the higher-level command was supposed to do was to use its reserves to reinforce for two reasons. you -- that's to bail you out of failure and to reinforce success. two days later we were counterattacked by 2000 amaze who drove us back to where we started from two days before in the process we have lost another 30 or 40 killed another 50 guys wanted the only got back to where we started from we were
completely and totally combat ineffective. we lost an entire battalion achieving nothing except the loss of lots of good -- soldiers in the civil reason for this failure is we didn't understand its human capital at the end of the day that's necessary in order to hold onto object is certainly in a tactical situation. we have forgotten that and we forget it all the time. not just the military use of estimates of power but after you submit enchantments of power and government generally and of business we think about it and we do so at our great peril. i'm very much concerned about the decreasing size of the services because at the end of the day even assuming they can decide what it is we are going to do quite frankly that's a whole separate subject i'm not sure what it is we know what we
are trying to accomplish. >> thank you, jack. [applause] >> was go to the issue that jack has raised as to whether or not we are really clear about what our goals are and maybe what are enemy is or may be. do you want to speak to that? >> you just gave a history of the vietnam war in five minutes which is quite an accomplishing. >> it's only because it happened over and over and over again. the field that i love his american intelligence. it touches diplomacy and attach as national security and we are not very good at it.
we only started out in 1947 just under 70 years ago. the russians have been added and the british have been added since queen elizabeth i and the british have been added since sun tzu wrote -- even more succinctly than the colonels summed up the vietnam war. three words, know your enemy. in order to know your enemy you have to talk to him and in order to talk to your enemy you need spies. you need what they call human intelligence. you need somebody who speaks the language of your enemy which might be arab back. it might keep posh to come it might be chinese. ..
council, we are going to be acting lately. you need intelligence if you are protecting against the border to see over the horizon to have foresight and knowledge. if he doesn't want to listen and he says my mind is made up don't confuse me with the facts, people are going to die. >> i was on an airplane several years ago when his book came out a tear to go. i came back out and there were 16 sections of the plane and three of them were reading his book. i was, too sold nearly 50% of
the people on the plane were reading your book. >> do you remember the old comic strip? there was a famous quotation we have met the enemy and he is us. we have made so many blunders in our own lifetime that it's embarrassing to look back at the mistakes starting with vietnam that we got him into situations and cultures we didn't understand with objectives that were not clear or were impossible to believe in the tht left chaos in the way. i think if you think about him
>> by this the country incapable of a long-range vision and accumulation of knowledge that would keep us out of the troughs that they imply. is there something unique to us and our government or are we dealing with a unique world that is unprecedented. >> it's important to recognize that it's not just a function of our own ineptness or mistakes
the retreat is still marvelous. i want to pick up on something that is very, very true which is that in 1947 and 1948, the united states came up with not only the bureaucratic structures but also the intellectual framework for how we ought to deal with the world. the united states as a deadline power assumed the mantle for maintaining the commons for
giving to the endangered taiwan, south korea and so on that stands up against the revisionist regimes. itits curbs on by various nonste actors in the middle east and elsewhere and that is the norm that has served us remarkably well. we complained a great deal but here we are richer than we've ever been before. the other side of the argument that my opponent intellectually in that book isn't a liberal left-wing isolationism of the american first isolationism that has been proclaimed as the policy of the united states. and even if you stripped the america first term from the anti-semitic connotations to which charles lindbergh and
others attached to it, it is still a view of the world in which america and the rest of the world are engaged in this we win and they lose or vice versa. the only kind of strategy that is going to work is the free and open society within each will right to participate in the moral goods in society. clinton once said something beautiful is nothing wrong in america that can't be fixed by what's right in america. it's a great lion and it's also true in that predicament.
[applause] >> one thing that we share here is we want to see isis destroy destroyed. we used to read a book by a professor at yale called the strategies of containment and each administration from truman to george herbert walker bush struggled to contain the cold war between the mistake and thas some of the things obama was able to do which is a great success. started attacks so that we do not get pulled into another iraq afghanistan morass. he did make a mistake in their red line but it's good he didn't send troops willy-nilly into
syria also. i'm hoping donald trump can learn to be taught something of history to be careful. i worried about the general surrounding donald trump. because, you know, he's a great man and i gland is a great man and you don't want to listen to the successof the donald trump doesn't read presidential history. if they didn't know the limits of the american intervention. john f. kennedy knew how to tell the generals and we work to go
and bomb berlin. we didn't want a third world war in europe, so my hope is to trump administration has cautionary figures because we want to get isis but they are seen from twitter. they were the consequences and the frightening thing about this transition we are going through. [applause] i think people are impressed by the generals that are surrounding the new president and it appears from what i read in the meeting. what is your sense of them and
how are they going to respond if trump is as illogical and ignorant as his critics believe him to be? >> several disagree in the confirmation hearings presented to trump said when he was a candidate. one can have some degree of confidence at the end of the day that they are going to deal in powered. they will not obey the order so i have some confidence. >> they never went through the confirmation. that's why he's a nut job because he didn't have to go
through the confirmation. i don't know the general that i know many other generals including the secretary of defense and at some juncture there will be some heads butting and at the end of the day people will prevail assuming that there is a conflict between people who don't know what you're doing and people who do know what they are doing. people who do know what they are doing will prevail. [applause] >> can you real quick like in a minute, how do you think trump is going to relate to the cia and fbi? >> [inaudible]
>> can you hear me now? i think that he is in legal trouble and they are investigating him for a reason. there are so many things in his path and the conflicts that he's engaged in right now this is a man in difficulty. in the agencies that will be reading this to the fbi and cia, they are going to be on his trail and it's difficult to contain donald trump. we all know that but if he doesn't get buried in the legal process, it will be a difficult thing to escape. >> he took the oath of office while he was under investigation by the fbi. president trump took the oath of office after his first inaugural
and by the cia and the intelligence committee between his campaign and the kremlin. that is unprecedented in american history. when did you take the oath of office to use where to defend the constitution and to protect it and this nation against all enemies foreign and domestic we have always had enemies. that oath was written a long time ago. and i would quote colin powell on this subject. he said about ten years ago no terrorist can destroy this country. no terrorist can destroy our constitution. only we can do that to ourselv ourselves. [applause]
>> are you optimistic? i was hoping you were going to ask me the book recommendation. >> let's go to the book list. i used to calibrate with a guy on the limits of intervention and he worked for the defense department and saw the problems of trying to destroy the enemies of the vietnam ended up destroying ourselves by the 60s protest in the antiwar movement we were ripping at each other. i think it is a good book but it's also not very long. of 250 pages. it's the limit of ten.
>> doris kearns goodwin team of rivals. [applause] assuming you could get all the way to the end. i would recommend the collection of the front page stories by my late colleague daniel pearl. i would recommend it to all two decades after the stories were written the word rich and relevant and a wonderful tribute not only to danny but those that published him. more than that, i would like him to see what it means when journalists he keeps calling despicable, lying etc. to put their lives on the line to bring ordinary readers the truth of what is happening all the way from the balkans to iran to south asia.
the demonization of the profession going on is one of the things happening and i would invite to say to you as an audience keep your faith in the profession that is indispensable to your liberty. [applause] [cheering] defined as delivered acts of the weakeleader against the interesf the state. >> it's the episodes in western civilization where they lead the nation into disaster and the