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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  December 5, 2014 9:00am-11:01am EST

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i want to ask you about some of the recommendations in implementing those recommendations and whether you're fullyvkgiv committed to implementing the recommendations of the task force that was created by secretary lahood. >> thank you very much, senator. thank you for your advocacy on freight. you're known in our building as senator freight. you, the freight advisory committee wouldn't be -- >> well, i like to say when it comes to washington state, ñbvç cour "courts r us." >> freight really is the life blood of our economy. i had the opportunity with the national freight advisory committee to visit memphis where they really integrated freight into their entire economy. the factories that have built up all around the airport just because of their ability to bring goods in and out.
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the national freight advisory committee had 81 recommendations that they gave to us. a lot of those we can act upon with an existing authority, including thinking about freight multi-modally. our national freight strategic plan really takes that tack. some of the other things is that they've recommended to us is figuring out where our data gaps are. that's where you'll see in our conditions and performance report that's upcoming a real emphasis on where our data gaps are. also they've aggressed -- they've asked us to look at the work force issues. we have a partnership we've been working with the department of ed and department of labor to figure out what the work force needs are in the freight industry and how we can address them. but there is a lot of things we can't do with an existing authorities. that's why the grow america act proposes a $10 billion freight program to find where those national choke points are and encourage multi-state planning. again, thank you for your advocacy. >> well, i certainly support
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this as an economic development strategy for our country. there's a huge growing middle class around the globe. they $kly our products. but if we can't get them there, they'll obviously look to other markets. so making sure our corridors are expediting product is very important. i want to ask you specifically, so you do believe in streamlining -- these are things you can do internally. you do believe in streamlining the multi-modal approval process. >> we're doing everything we can to promote permeating reform and to try to find those last mile and intermodal solutions. that's one of the things the tiger program has focused on. there aren't a lot of grant programs that are able to do exactly what you are talking about. that's why we proposed 109 billion progrject. >> i already know you support a dedicated funding source to these projects. >> yes, ma'am. thank you. >> thank you very much.
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thank you. senator blumenthal, we'll go to you. we're also waiting for senator ayotte to arrive. you can have another second round and i'll take another second round if kelly is not here yet. >> thank you, madam chairman. dr. rosekind, we focused on the need for a national recall. i don't know of any scientific evidence for auuéw regional rec with respect to air bags. do you? >> i appreciate that question because it highlights trying to be evidence based and driving. i think that's an excellent question and, frankly, that's part of my understanding better, the defect recall system and what criteria they used. >> but with all your knowledge -- and you are a distinguished scientist, you don't know of any evidence or facts that would justify a regional recall. >> no. >> do you know of any evidence that would justify a recall
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directed at the driver's side but not thed i have only seen what you've seen, including things today. >> let me turn to another piece of legislation. you know, at the end of the day, senator mccaskill is absolutely right about the resource
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challenges that this agency faces. but, even an agency fully and abundantly resourced will be ineffective if it lax teeth, if the penalties are ineffective. right now the $35 million cap on penalties for 72bznon-disclosur inadequate disclosure, is absolutely a mockery of justice. wouldn't you agree? >> i appreciate that question because i'm just going to preface this by saying in the aviation industry, the ntsb just released this week its report about the dreamliner 787 battery. i like to point out, when there was a problem there, the faa grounded worldwide the entire fleet until something was fixed. that's a safety culture that says we're stopping everything in honoring safety. >> that's the same culture that this agency has to adopt. is that correct? >> that's why i'm bringing it up. because i think the questions about what the incentives versus
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punishments are, safety has to be proactive where people are -- they see that being safe is really the more -- not just the safe thing to do, but the business and economic thing that needs to be done as well. >> so on the economic aspect of these decisions, the only8ze #, if not the major point, that most of this industry is going to understand is effective, strong penalties. and would you support the legislation that i've introduced, along with senator markey and senator nelson to completely eliminate the cap on penalties for non-disclosure? >> and i think the secretary and deputy administrator have already come out and said right now it is pocket change and the cost to doing business, there's no question it needs to go up. if confirmed, i'd be pleased to work with you to review and see however we could support increasing those penalties. >> thank you. another proposal that i've made is to put the burden on any
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parties seeking a secret settlement, seeking secrecy and sealing of a settlement, litigation involving safety that could endanger the public, including defective parts. would you support the bill that i've introduced along with senator lindsey graham? it is a bipartisankև/b measure would, in effect, require a judge to make a finding that it is in the public interest to seal any settlement involving defective parts or products. >> and i appreciate that question because it gets to the transparency issue again. that's not just about complaints coming in, but it is the kinds of day that that you are talking about that is not available to the american public because of some of these. so if confirmed, again, i would be very willing and pleased to work with you to review and make any measure as strong as possible. >> i want to conclude on an area where you are maybe one of the nation's experts, fatigue management and sleep apnea. the federal railway
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administration still has not issued regulations recommended by the ntsb or the other agencies regarding developing -- requiring a sleep management plan. wouldn't you think that the fra has an immediate and urgent obligation to issue such rules and regulations? >> i'm going to switch hats very quickly. and i really appreciate that question. the saddest thing for an ntsb board member is to show up at the scene of the accident and realize that lives got lost and there are already recommendations that could have saved those lives. that's what you've just highlighted. those recommendations that are out there if acted upon now, all of those people who are out there right now on those railroads with apnea are not being identified, dying flowsed or treated. >> because of a lack of regulations from the federal railway administration. >> correct. >> and regulations from the federal railway administration could have avoided very likely four deaths that occurred one
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year ago this week -- or last week. >> and in the ntsb report on that accident, we specifically identify that if criteria used to identify people with apnea, that engineer would either have not been on the job or would have been treated for sleep apnea. >> thank you. thank you, madam chair. >> thank you. senator ayotte. >> i want to thank the claire. i appreciate all of you being here. dr. rosekind, i wanted to ask about the ignition switch recall situation. and in fact, previously coming before our committee was deputy administrator david friedman. and i've also asked mr. millikin, the head of zbchgm's l department about there issue. there was an article in the "new york times" which described the course of action during the
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ignition switch situation in which numerous occasions gm told the agency that they were not going to answer questions about accidents involving potentially the ignition switch because it was either attorney-client privilege or they lacked insufficient information. and it seemed to me in those circumstances that as the regulatory agency that is charged with getting to the bottom of these situations to ensure consumer safety, that that was an unacceptable answer to hear from those you're regulating. and i wanted to get your viewpoint on that, because i didn't think that it was acceptable for gm to answer nhtsa that "i'm not going to tell you about a fatality or the circumstances of it, or what we're doing to undertake the investigation of it based on attorney-client privilege, given
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the charge that your agency's been given and the importance of it. >> well, thank you for that question. for me, it is pretty simple. i agree, that's unacceptable. you are#kcu asking for informat that is going to stdknx lives, prevent injuries, keep the american public safe. you want that information to be able to do that job. so, no, that should not be withheld. >> well, i really appreciate it. and your taking over this important position that has obviously been vacant for too long, appreciative of your willingness to do that. and so when you receive that answer, your agency, when you are confirmed, i hope that nhtsa will follow up and just say to those that are being regulated, we're not going to accept that for an answer. we're not going to accept that there's insufficient information. you have a responsibility to provide us, the regulator, with that information. so i appreciate your taking aggressive stance on that issue.
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as you look back at the situation on the recall of gm and the ignition switch, there were -- there did appear to be numerous opportunities putting aside what i think were numerous opportunities and some outrageous behavior on gm's part that we've had hearings on here at nhtsa i think that there were many failings as well in terms of the delay of really recalling the ignition switch and recognizing the dangers that this presented to the public earlier to hopefully save lives. so as you you've looked at that situation, what are the lessons you take from that? >> i appreciate that question because it gets us to two really important things. the thing that most people characterize is connecting the dots. i think -- and there's been some discussion here already that part of this gets to what the
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data sources are that are available, including when people aren't giving you sufficient information. so, again, one of my immediate concerns is taking a look at the defect recall system fully to understand how to identify, as well as the full recall process. just knowing that we've gone to 75,000 complaints and there are nine people looking at it, you need to understand not just the personnel but the technology that you are using to search through that kind of database to get your answers. the second thing though i think that's really important that you've just highlighted is, we just learned that people were withholding intentionally for a long time information. well, that's a game changer. that's a new scenario. the agency's looking for certain kinds oózn patterns and stuff b i'm not sure the scenario was there. well, somebody's intentionally withholding this from you over time. i think that's another piece that now has to be integrated flu that detection system understanding that that can happen. >> one thing we recently of course had the hearings on the
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takata air bag recall. i know my colleagues have asked you some important questions about that recall. let me share with you the concerns about the regional nature of the recall as someone who represents a northern state, i have plenty of constituents that take their cars and drive down to more humid climate in the winter. as much as we love new hampshire winters. so i appreciate that you're very concerned about that and will follow up on that issue as well. the plans i think what i would like to see is, as you get confirmed for this position to come back within several months to this committee and let us know what changesagzx that you have been made or need to continue to be made to the oversight process of the agency and the recall process so that looking back on these really tragic situations that we're really doing everything we can working with you to rectify
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those going forward and to give you the support you need to do that. >> and i'm actually very much looking forward to working with this committee. critical role in bringing this information out to the american people and i hope to be able to come back to you, if confirmed, and not just tell you what we've learned but what we're doing. >> great. appreciate it. thank you.iñ >> thank you, senator ayotte. i'm going to ask one remaining question that i wanted to get on the record. and then i'm going to turn it over to senator cantwell has another question. obviously senator nelson just arrived. i'll leave the committee to his leadership and -- because i have a commitment i cannot avoid at 2:00. but i wanted to talkk!úr a lit bit about crude moving by rail.
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kansas state and st. louis are the second and largest freight hubs in the country. obviously we are very aware of the increase in the movement of crude by rail across our country. it is in fact one of the reasons i support is the pipeline, because i think that product is going to move. we're not going to stop it from coming out of the grounds. the question is how do we move it in a way that is most safe, both to the environment and to the people of this country. and i think a pipeline is the having said that, rail is now obviously very busy moving crude. and i have heard from location -- local first responders, both in kansas city and st. louis, while we've had some crude by rail accidents, they have primarily been in more rural locations.e've had some crude b accidents, they have primarily been in more rural locations.ha
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accidents, they have primarily been in more rural locations. obviously if that were ocoweroc a major metropolitan area like kansas or st. louis, we'd a major problem to deal with. what is the right response, what is the best response. they fear they are not as trained and as knowledgeable as they need to be on this issue. and so i wanted to ask you first, mr. monet, what can you do -- what can the department of transportation do to ensure that the first responders in these major metropolitansú?l areas ha every bit of information they need in terms of their ability to respond to, god forbid, that we would have a crude oil spill by rail accident in these major metropolitan areas. >> thank you very much, chairman, for that question. we agree with you at the department that this is
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something that we didn't anticipate, the growth of crude by rail over the last few years. but we've been moving extremely quickly as a department of to address those safety issues. over twodú>tñ dozen activities the industry to increase the transparency to better communicate with our first responders, to reduce speeds and be thoughtful about routes and the department is in the process of finalizing the crude by rail bill -- regulation that will do a lot of the things that you're discussing. but you're right that the first responders on the ground are the folks that need the training. they need to understand what is being transferred and they need to understand that the tanks that are bringing these materials are safe, which is why the department is taking such a deliberate step to get the rules right. >> well, i'll folloóv%ém up. hopefully you'll be confirmed
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and quickly. i'll follow up with -- really what they are asking for, which i think is very ream, it won't even require a regulation or a period of comment or all of the controversy that always goes with those. just requires them getting best practices on what is the best tactics and methods to respond to an accident like this if it were to occur taking into account that there are chthe challenges in metropolitan areas are much different than in rural areas. we'll try to expedite the confirmation process, and so i'm requesting that the members of the committee submit any qfrs, questions for the record, by noon tomorrow. if the staff that's here for the republican senators, if you would make sure that all the staffs understand that the qfrs
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need to be in by noon tomorrow and that the nominees must provide responses to those qfrs us to have even an opportunity -- i don't know that we can, but even for there to be an opportunity for confirmation before the end of the year, that woo have to occur. and i will now turn the gavel over to my colleague, senator nelson.uhave to occur. and i will now turn the gavel over to my colleague, senator nelson.lhave to occur. and i will now turn the gavel over to my colleague, senator nelson.dhave to occur. and i will now turn the gavel over to my colleague, senator nelson. have to occur. and i will now turn the gavel over to my colleague, senator nelson. >> senator cantwell. >> mr. rosekind, i just wantedj to ask you, do you believe that the rule for cargo pilots that was basicallyi&wdç carved out o rule should be reversed? >> so i'm going to change my hat again and appreciate that question, senator. i and the ntsb are on record, fiphysiological flying cargo and pallets and passengers. they should all be covered with the same rules. >> great. thank you very much.
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thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator blumenthal. >> i've asked two sets of questions so i'll yield to you, senator. then if there is time remaining, i'd be happy to follow up. thank you. >> okay. dr. rosekind, first of all, i'm absolutely delighted that you have been named for the position which has been vacant since i believe january of this year. that's about 11 1/2 months. the organization, although with an acting#+hó administrator, h tim. and before i arrived, you've had some discussion of the takata air bags. one of the things that as we
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bored in on takata and honda was whether or not since tlp doeshe doesn't appear to be enough in fact provide a loaner or rental car given the fact that people are driving around with a live grenade in their steering column. of honda in the u.s., said, yes, they would. and yet i have yet to have evidence that in fact that is the case so what would you like to do about it as chairman?
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>> thank you for the question and i think there has been some discussion. this gives me a chance to both elaborate and reinforce. in fact, i'll just highlight -- i don't talk about it often about my father. but i come from a law enforcement family. and they're laws. you got to follow them. you're going to do something, then you need to do it. what i can do is basically commit that, if confirmed, i'm going to go and find every1ky t, authority, legal and otherwise,  job d. there's been a lot of focus on defect. if we don't get the recall 100% and fully done, people are still at risk. so i don't think it is my job to come up with all the solutions, especially right now. but there has to be 100% solution to make sure those people are safe. >> there has been some
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discussion about an immediate fine on a per day basis. i would suggest to you that the fine ought to be on a per vehicle basis. that if they are not replacing the vehicles and people are at risk for either being maimed or killed, there needs to be a very stiff financial penalty so that the penalty becomes so severe to the company that it behooves them in fact to provide loaners or rental cars so that people do not have to try to drive around in these load vehicles, or, in existing vehicle. now, "the new york times" came out with a story that said that
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after the fact, after this committee had had a hearing, that indeed they admitted that they had never said publicly and released the information that an additional 1,700 people had been harms by exploding takata air bags. and i think in one case, one person was killed. this seems to me to be the height of irresponsibility. thatéúvck in the midst of us ha them all there at that table and they're still not revealing informati information. what do you incontinued tend to that as chairman? >> thank you for the question. it gives me an opportunity to highlight again two things. transparency is critical. that's getting information and
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making it available not just to nhtsa and others but to the american public so they know what's going on and can make their own personal decisions about what's safe for them. the other is i believe that when nhtsa asked for information, it needs to be provided. there's no "we don't have it," et cetera. it needs to be provided. then every tool needs to be used to obtain that information. >> are you sufficiently briefed on the law with regard to nhtsa as to what kind of penalties could be imposed for an auto manufacturer that specifically hides information from the federal regulator? >> i appreciate that question because i havean some of those things. i'm not an expert on them yet. i really have tried to emphasize that i know the chief counsel and who is in charge of the enforcement and i know who to call to get that information. more important, i'm willing to commit every one of those and whatever enforcement action is needed. i'm all about the action part.
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i'll find people that have those technical information i need but it's basically give me the tools to get the job done. that's all about keeping all of us safer. >> well, i want to commit to you that at least some of us on this committee are going to be rather vigorous in our oversight function to make sure that the executive branch, i.e. you, once you are confirmed, in fact are following through. because this egregious breach of the public's safety by the way this thing has been drug out and these head fakes and sleight of hands, and then not revealing it's reached the limit of this senator's patience, as i have visited with families whose
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relative is dead, or in one case, a firefighter that has no right eye anymore. and we will use to the full extent of our capability the opportunity to oversee that in your regulatory agency are doing your job. i hope that's clear. >> absolutely. and i appreciate not only the statement and opportunity to tell you that i'll actually be looking forward to working with you on that oversight and pursuing both budget and other kinds of authorities that will help us get the job done. >> senator blumenthal, i'm going to turn the committee over to you. >> that's very dangerous. >> i have an intelligence briefing that just started ten minutes ago. >> i have a couple of quick questions and i appreciate your patience and diligence in staying.
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i want to express, again, my thanks to each of you for willing to serve in these very critical positions. the recommendation of the national transportation safety board was for there to be a fatigue management plan made a matter of rules by the federal rail rai edway administration.+q that's more than 64 separate rule making procedures, by my count, that have not been concluded by the federal railway administration vitally affecting the safety of passengers, as well as freight on our nation's rails. what can be done to compel the federal railway administration to obey the law? and i know that dr. rosekind may
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have some observations because of his present membership on the ntsb, as to that question. and i invite your thoughts about it. >> thank you, senator. as a safety professional, i absolutely share your concern about ensuring that safety recommendations are implemented as soon as possible. as you might have heard when i mentioned before, if i were to be -- to have the honor of being confirmed, i would absolutely do everything in my power to work to make sure that these recommendations are taken seriously and that are implemented. i think the ntsb has a good and long history of working with government agencies, as well as with industry and i hope with this committee, as well. and i think that if i were to be confirmed, i would absolutely
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use every manner that is available to me as a member to push for the adoption of that life saving recommendation. but also all of the other ones that are related to rail. and other modes. >> thank you. any other responses? >> thank you very much, senator. i haven't worked on that particular rule, but secretary fox has said that safety is everyone's primary responsibility at the department. and i know that from my vantage point, relationship with ntsb is one of a partnership for safety. and often the recommendations, it is an iterative process to get to a solution. a lot of recommendations are focused on individual incidents where the solutions often lie from rule makings that take a lot of time to develop, require and benefit from public involvement and that have to address the industry as a whole. so if i have the privilege of
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being confirmed, i will vow to you to work with you and with these two other nominees to make it as good as possible. happy to let you off the hook on this one, dr. rosekind. you've really been carrying a substantial burden during this hearing. but if you have a response, i'd welcome it. >> and thank you for offering that because i'll just say, over 80% of ntsb recommendations are acted on in an acceptable manner. but i really thank you because it is the other 20% we should be worried about and that's what you're highlighting, because those are the ones that are continuing to cost lives and create injuries. >> well, costing lives and creating injuries is exactly what the failure to issue those regulations can do. we saw it injuries in bridgeport, connecticut when there was a derailment there. many of these recommendations are invisible or unknown to the
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public. but the failure to issue them can have real life consequences, literally life or death consequences. certainly injury and dollar consequences. so i want to thank each of you and secretary fox as well for your commitment on this issue of safety. i want to ask one last question, although it is outside of your jurisdiction. but theg6swa ignition switch de has been raised and we are fast approaching thewña= december 31 deadline under the compensation fund, which also has aùh deadli of march of next year for acceptance by the victims or their families of any compensation fund decisions. these decisions must therefore be made before the bankruptcy
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court may decide what their rights are in overcoming the shield that gm has invoked, the new gm has invoked in the bankruptcy court procedures and before the department ofuu=֖ je finishes its criminal investigation that might enlighten decisions made as to whether to accept compensation one microcosm of the potential injustice that could be done by "
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december 31 deadline and the march deadline. i know that you have no direct jurisdiction or power over the compensation fund, but my ?útñ is that the department of transportation and your agencies in particular may join in calling for an extension of those deadlines, in the interest of simple justice and humanity. you8ffiz not have the legal authority to compel it, but you certainly have the moral authority to ask for it publicly. and i believe that there is a responsibility to exercise that if you have any comment on my suggestion or plea to you, i again would welcome it. i know it may not be a question
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that you anticipated, but i would respect and invite you to comment. >> thank you, senator. i followed the process very closely but i understand that you've been tracking the tragedy of the averil family and i feel like they're lucky to have someone like you fighting for them. and the role of the -- of nhtsa in this process is to force gm as much as possible to get the best cars on the road to address these crises and to get better at identifying the recalls before they cause this kind of tragedy. >> thank you very much. with that, i'm going to close the hearing. i don't have the gavel in front of me, but -- we're over. thank you again ou tohank1 your families for their service in supporting you and the fine
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work that i anticipate you'll do. aov@b÷;gvéq-l saturday at 1 11:00 a.m., memorl
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service for marion barry. sunday at 8:00, ann compton who recently retired after 40 yearso as abc news white house correspondent. saturday night at 10:00 on book tv on c-span2, university of new hampshire assistant professor jason sokol on how the northeast u.s. wasn't always the haven of racial equality and supportive of african-american civil rights. and sunday at noon, our live three-hour conversation with author and american enterprise president arthur brooks with your phone calls, e-mails and c-span3 saturday night at 8:00, on lectures in history, university of michigan professor martha jones on female slaves and the law. and sunday at 8:00,7i+x on the presidency, president george h.w. bush's secretary of state james baker on the fall of the berlin wall and liberation of eastern europe. find our complete television schedule at and let
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us know what you think about the programs you're watching. call us at 202-626-3400. e-mail us at comments " or send like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. next, a discussion about u.s. policy in the middle east with two former ambassadors. james jeffrey is former u.s. ambassador to iraq. and robert ford served as ambassador to syria. they spoke at a conference initiative. this is an hour.c?>e4 great, ladies and gentlemen. welcome as you make your way back from lunch. if you're just joining us, my name's chris griffin. i'm the executive director at the foreign policy initiative. it is my pleasure to welcome you to this afternoon portion of
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fbi's annual foreign and defense policy conference. we'll start out this afternoon with a pair of deep dives really first looking at the crisis in the middle east and moving on after that to a panel discussion about russia. we could not have a more distinguished panel with ambassador jim jeffrey and ambassador robert ford to discuss what weie initially fr as the crisis in the middle east at the beginning of the year, and as the year progressed we modified the title to be theigf chaos in the middle east to capture the truex tent of the challenges we face there. to moderate this conversation, kim kagan is the founder and president of the institute for the study of war, an organization whose work i could you check out, invaluable in our work. and has also in the course of her career spent more than 17 months advising u.s. commanders in iraq and afghanistan. is also written a decisive history of the war in iraq.
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kim, thank you so much for joining us today to moderate this discussion. >> well, thank you so much. thanks to all of you who are here this afternoon. and thanks to those of you on our c-span audience who are following along. i have the pleasure of moderating a panel with two truly fine americans whom i have had the privilege to work with a little bit as they served the united states overseas. first, ambassador jim jeffre=b who has been throughout his career a star player with the department of state, but whom i got to know a little bit when he was ambassador to iraq. his storied career includes just a number of wonderful posts. he perhaps had a slightly better
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time as ambassador to turkey than ambassador to iraq, but i will let you make that call. he is now actually the distinguished visiting fellow at the washington institute and he writes marvelous work on the contemporary middle east and especially my beloved iraq. ambassador robert ford i also met in iraq when he was actually deputy chief of the mission. he was recently retired from the foreign service after a distinguished career in the middle east. but in particular, he was at the forefront of the united states' assistance to the syrian people during the syrian civil war. he has really been marvelous as an advocate of the issues that the syrian people are facing and marvelous as an advocate of
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policyänsyria. since retiring from that particular job and joining the team at the middle east institute. so if you can join me in welcoming our two distinguished guests. let me start>rkms with a big overarching question that people ask me all the time which is, gentlemen, the situation in the middle east, the chaos in the middle east, are we actually facing a hopeless challenge? how would you characterize the threats that actually face us and the challenges that are actually before us, the united states. >> first of all, thank you, kim, for those kind words and thank you to fbi for putting this on today and welcome, everybody. it is gooded to s ed tto see so i recognize from various prior chaos and crises in the middle east. in fact, that's how i want to start my answer.
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i'm celebrating this fall my 40th anniversary of my first crisis and chaos in the middle personnel because of the yom kippur war and the soviet moves to try to rescue the egyptian third army. since then it's been a roller (q)tainly in much of my career. i kept on trying to sneak away to the balkans or to germany and the situation in the middle east pulls me back. y continuing crisis or situation, dysfunctional situation, in the middle east and we need to know why. it is a long-term problem. my second point, the crux of it is, this situation with isis is a particular new and dangerous situation. and let me talk about the latter first, why i think that it has to be stopped, it has to be
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defeated, it has to be destroyed. those are the official words and policy of the u.s. administration. we'll see whether they can achieve that. the reason is, first of all, unlike other movements that it bears a lot of similarity to -- i'll get to that in a second -- it has seized a huge amount of terrain, somewhere between 7 million and 9 million people. it has large military forces, a lot of equipment. it has control over economic things like, despite our bombing and other actions, a fair amount of oil. and it is threatening the very fiber -- fabric of the center of the middle east endangering what president obama's repeatedly and correctly said are our four main interests in the region -- our allies, stopping weapons of mass destruction spread, fighting terrorism, and i always forget the fourth one -- i'll come back
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to the fourth one. but anyway -- >> you got the good ones. >> those are the good ones. but we have really -- oh. how could i forget it -- the free flow of oil. we have really important issues in the middle east that these guys are going to threaten if they're nota& destroyed. but how did they come about and what's the underlying problem in the region. here i would quote, as much as i can, the recent work by henry kissinger, world order, where he describes the middle east as unique in the world because you have from pakistc;;d all the wa to morocco a set of very weak nation states, without most of the roots in their populations and history that nation states elsewhere, however weak they will in the balkans or central america, appear to be. in that whole region only a handful of states are really states as we understand it -- israel, iran, turkey, and the
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non-state of the kurdistan regional government. the rest of them do not have the ang cor anchors that nation states have. furthermore, that region is faced with a traditional millennial approach to world history, an alternative way of state, and religion in these messiahnic, caliphate states that we keep see emerging from the islamic world. these aren't accepted in many serious ways but muslims but it is supported by a few enough to lead to continuing problems. we have a version of that with iran and versions of this with the muslim brothers, obviously with al qaeda, and on steroids with isis. so it is a tremendous reoccurring problem that we've had to deal with and has led;r? crisis after crisis, american and western intervention after
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intervention, since again the 1970s, and i don't see any quick end to that. the reason that isis is now so different, however, the elements that has fueled its rise. first of all, the arab spring which laid bare the lack of legitimacy of most of the states in the region and their inability to take almost any action that made sense to their population. they either reverted back to dictatorship, of violence, violence most extreme in the syrian case, or, again, basically shut down everywhere but too knunisia. we'd go in like the roman wñ do it with the minimum@n
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will in american foreign policy. under the bush administration we decided no more, we don't do base runs, we'll go in and fix the underlying problems. we know where that has wound up in afghanistan, iraq and gaza. then the obama administration reacting to that 5!overextensio of american power has decided we're pivoting to asia, bye-bye middle east. again, throws four interests that are absolutely permanent and absolutely vital to us have drawn us back and led to us belatedly to deal with isis. we can get into more detail in a discussion on the strategy, the tactics, the operations. there is a lot of this in the news today because of the nato meeting. the administration has a plan. whether that plan will get us from where we are now to destroying isis is a very different question. there is a lot about the whole syrian side of it that robert knows about far better than me. but even on the iraqi side, there are issues of where are we going to find the ground troops to actually take territory back
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from a force that has somewhere between 20,000 and 50,000 armed people under its control. and there's also a very troubling term of it reference that we need to consider and look at. that's the administration's constant hopping on, this is going to be a long-term problem so we have to deal with it,ee have to mobilize 60 countries. they have)u[ñ agendas and sched. it's hard to get them all together and all of that. this is both a truism and it's treacherous. it's a truism because obviously things take time. even the first gulf war took a good number of months to community and our own forces. nonetheless, time it not on our 7! isis. given the situation in the region over the past 15 years, these three new elements, underlying problem of legitimacy that now is much more manifest with the arab spring, the grave questions about america's
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willingness to su3íaãits security role in the middle east, which is still out there as a problem, and isis' threat to everything. i'm not so sure we have a whole lot of time. i'm not so sure it wouldn't be better to take risks, roll the dice, and push harder against these guys now rather than waiting and see what happens in a few years. a few years ago when robert was in syria, the administration essentially did that. lip service to overthrowing assad, but let's wait and see what =u happens. what happened? isis. i'll rest my case there. >> thank you, ambassador. ambassador, ford, let me get to you, and there are many themes you can pick up from here. >> first, kim, thank you very much. and my thanks to the foreign policy institute for the invitation to talk with people today about the middle east. to!-t you the middle east surprs me every day. i don't think there is such a thing as an expert on the middle east. so let me share my ignorance with you.
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first, the situation t? difficult and in some ways it's unprecedented although i don't know if i would call it total chaos. we do skr three states, nation meltdown. yemen. libya. and syria. and iraq sort of teeters in an exciting#,çway. it's always fun to watch. but i don't think iraq's doom is foreordained, and i hope we get to talk about that a bit. as i think about this. i ask myself, what is the context in which these difficulties with these three states is occurring? seems to me that if you sort of think about the arab uprising, the arab spring of 2011, the demand by populations from the bahrain, for dignity, the key
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word. i didn't say democracy,=tç i dit say freedom. i said dignity. and i mean that. if you[by8 carry, then, that forward, there are two questions or two issues would be a better way to put it. prisms through which i myself assess these three states. the first is within this issue of dignity. the first is an aggrieved sunni a arab population that feels its dignity has been either treadf]% upon or threatened. attached to that, then, is a strong impulse towards islamist parties which by the way are not unbeatable. they just lost a free and fair election=rxj in tunisia. so i don't think islamism is foreordained as the future of
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the middle east any more than secular democratic governments are foreordained. it will be case by case. we can talk about that. but then attached to this question of dignity and8kg islam and rule in the state, a separate issue, tied but separate, which is the whole sunni versus shia competition played out big time in places like syria, places like iraq, yemen, bahrain, and even to a large extent, in lebanon. these are all issues which it is difficult for the united states to control. we may be able to influence on the margins in some ways. but because they involve fundamental issues of how a nati nation, individual nation, governors itself, we get into spent including time with jim,
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some four and a half years in iraq working on nation building, i can tell you from the shoes of a practitioner that it is very difficult and we should treat that with great caution. not to say we do nothing, but we tread cautiously and we have realistic expectations about what any group of foreigners, iranians or anyone else, what they can do to address that. so jim spoke eloquently about the threat of the islamic state and i think it is a threat both to american national security and it is a threat to some of the wobbly nation states in the region now. and there are additional pressures on those nation states. i'm sure many of you are watching the price of oil on international markets. that is going to matter a great deal. it's in some ways a double-edged sword. countries that import oil like jordan or morocco, may benefit,
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but there will be harder -- it will be harder for their patrons such as the saudis to finance them in the way they have done. so i'm not sure how it's going to cut out. really important change, which was vividly demonstrated in 2011, which citizens in these countries have greater access to information than, say, in the 1990s or even in the 2000s. social media is huge and growing. in this part of the world. access to satellite information, to the internet more broadly, these are populations which now deal with a great deal more information. that can be positive and it can be negative if we're talking net islamic states youtube recruiting videos. i don't know how many of you have watched them, but let me tell you, they're very slick. they're on a whole other level
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than what osama bin laden was doing ten years ago. and so the region itself is changing. there are new pressures on it. and we need to address it, but also, we need to understandm'"; limitations. and we will need understanding those limitations, we will need to find allies, both in the region and within the countries themselves because rather than it be an american advocated reform or military step, it needs above all to have buy-in from the local population. let me start there. i actually would love to tee up the discussion by asking both of you, given the extraordinary historical overview that you have given in)2cu your own ways you could sit down with president obama today and give
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him three recommendations about what to do in the middle east, what recommendations would you give him? you get to go first. one, concerning syria, do whatever robert ford tells you. >> very wise. >> two, on the iraq front, we're somewhere between a c and a b so far, but it's still early. time isn't on our side. reconsider the no u.s. combat formations on the ground decision, because you may have to either renege on that or you may have)25d to fall off of yo very important mission of destroying isis. i think there's a gap between the two. three, while you're doing that, and that's hard, and i have some sympathy for the administration on that, here's where i don't have sympathy for the administration. if we're going to do this
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seven-point program and you heard another iteration, cut off flow of funding, do something about the idealogical appeal, cut off people traveling there, take care of the refugees, air strikes, build up forces, air offenses. if you're going to do that without u.s. ground troops or rather from the air with other people's boots on the grounds, v in every other conflict i know of, advisory teams on the ground. joint tactical forward air controllers and other groups. these are small numbers of highly trained professionals, but they would be at some risk, but they will make all of the difference going out there with iraqi forces, be they pesh murgy, or awakening tribal iraqis or the brigades we're forming. there's a huge difference between how these people perform and how people in other conflicts such as vietnam perform when you have american
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advisers with them and how they perform without them. we don't have the luxury of having them perform in an inadequate way, so that needs to be done now. i don't understand why the administration is dragging its heels when it hears this is something that should be and is being " that's it. >> ambassador ford, your three recommendations for president obama. >> the first would be within the region itself, to prioritize. i think most everyone would agree that syria and iraq are probably the two highest priorities because of the y also because of the strain that the conflict is putting on other countries that are friendly to us, such as jordan and turkey. so that would be the first, prioritize. second, and jim's laid out a series of military steps. i would say in addition to military steps, there needs to
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at a higher level. it is very clear that we and the turks are not on the same page about syria, and i don't think we're fully on the same page about iraq. and with all due respect to colleagues in the clear diplomatic service who with whom i shared a career, that is not something thatc$v- an american ambassador is going to be able to fix. the saudis fully as well, and that's not something that the american ambassador in riyadh is going to be able to fix. that's going to require some bandus]&ñ4pt the expression of the day in washington. ÷ leaders in those countries, to come to an agreement on not only the islamic state but a whole broader set of]ú): issues[osó o nation states and stability verses reform.
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we've already sort of workedw,w cross purposes in places like egypt. that shouldn't happen again. that should not happen again. so there's got to be prioritization, second, higher level engagement consistently. and then my third bit of advice to the administration would be g give up on reform and %éáruák but understand that you will have to balance it, you'll have to balance it with security issues. to my mind, looking at the arab spring, you don't have to have a big bang and create democratic governments in six months. you do need to have gradual, visible improvement so that this aggrieved sunni arab population i was talking about has a sense
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that little by little, things will get better. whether that be beginning some measures of accountability, even at a low level, for police abuse. whether that be allowing some, not all, some ngos, the greater freedom of maneuver in these countries. different countries are going to move at a different speed. the tunisians clearly are moving at a faster speed that other countries. that's fine. i think it would be a mistake for the americans to ignore human rights in the rushñty6 security policy and the fight against islamic state because islamic state in part comes out of grievances,m3!(p human right abuses committed widely by the assad regime in syria and by the previous government in iraq. that's where it came from. so you can't ignore the root causes, evenrt40ñ as you addresy
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reasonably the counterterrorism pulse. the trick is to find a balance and accept gradual improvement on the human r'z>rights. doesn't have to be fast. we don't need bahrain tomorrow to be a full parliamentary democracy. we do need to see step by step improvement along with counterterrorismçñ'b efforts. >> thankzqeyou, ambassador. i think the two of you have set us up well for questions from the audience. with a numberúfb÷ of interestind provocative statements, and so it is my pleasure, actually, to call on members of the audience. let me ask you to do the following thing if i call on you. first of all, please wait for the microphone, so our guests on c-span can listen to your question. secondly, please raise your questions in the form of a question. and please make it short so we f# from our two distinguished ambassadors and get their insights into thisñ+s
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to the kurds, given everything they have done with isis. they have been our best allies. we could open a base there tomorrow if they were independent, and now that they are selling oil to turkey, turkey practically recognizes them as their own state, and turkey now has a truce internally with the pkk. why is it such a problem with our administration, you know, i just heard kerry talking about this recently, about iraq's
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territorial integrity. thank you. >> that's a good question. and as someone who always feels much more comfortable in irbill than i do anywhere else in iraq or much of the middle east, i have a lot of sympathy with people who pose that question, but i can't think of anything that would be more deleterious to everything that we're trying to do in the middle east than that. if iraq falls apart, we have to have a plan b. but it hasn't fallen apart yet. it's kind of gathered itself up and is holding together, a lot of help from the united states, particularly politically with the new government. several points. first of all, the united states has to stand for something in this world. in fact, we stand for a lot. that's behind almost everything we do. and one thing we do stand for is a nation state system. we don't look lightly at nation states that break up. partially because of the underlying legal issue s volved
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partially because of the problems that ensue. the first problem is where would you put the southern border of new kurdistan? that's a question to you. i like questioning. >> i know that there is a framework for an election on the status of kirkuk. i know there's a group at georgetown, some center that studies that issue closely. i don't think that's so insurmountable, i think they could come to an agreement on a border, or some kind of oil share. they agreed this week on some kind of oil sharing. i don't see why they couldn't come to a comparable agreement on the border. >> okay, two reasons. there are many other reasons. i just pick the easier one from my standpoint to rebut your argument. those are the borders. boy, if they could come with some group from georgetown or
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flying in to fix this, that would be the first time in my 40 years of experience, and maybe we can threin robert's 30 years of experience in conflicts all around the world from cashmere to cypress, where somebody has fixed a border. the problem is particularly in violent destabilized regions, people identify with their own kind. whether we like it or not. and those are mixed areas with christians, azitis, kurds, shia aybar, sunni arabs, they all have their own agendas. all of the groups think each other's group is illegitimate. they're not going to go away. they're going to pick up guns and fight and create the bloodiest of borders in the middle east. that's the first problem. second problem is i'm not only a former ambassador to iraq. i'm also a former ambassador to turkey. turkey, for various reasons that
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we could get into, is very close to this current kurdistan regional government, and oil and gas has a lot to do with that. however, if there's one thing that the turks will draw a brutal line on, and we just saw that in their reaction to kobani, is anything that smacks of kurds getting together on independence. they will never support it. that would bring down their government, however popular he is, and whatever our problems with that government, we don't want to destabilize turkey by pushing an unless line. so i would say we certainly should go no further than turkey on autonomy or independence for kurdistan and the turks are on the record in all kinds of ways in that one. >> my good friend up front. >> thanks, kim. the topic of this conversation and this entire conference is restoring american leadership. both of you have done a very, very good job as have other
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speakers today talking about how we see the world. tell us how you think the middle east sees the united states right now in the role that the united states can be, should be, and will be playing in the future. >> who wants that? >> i'll start, jim. i hate to be the bearer of bad news. i'm serious. i think, and there are opinion polls done by very reputable groups such as the national democratic group and the pew research organization. the public opinion towards the united states from morocco to omonis extremely negative. has something to do with our long-standing positions on the middle east peace process, has a lot to do with iraq and the american war there. it has to do as well with
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perceptions of the american stance on islam in general. there is real anger in syria, a place that i spent a huge amount of time on. that the americans seem to be more concerned with the islamic state which has killed and it's a brutal group, probably killed 3,000 to 5,000 people, but the assad regime has probably killed 150,000. and so why they ask are the americans so concerned about the islamic state and not about a regime that has probably killed at least 30 to 50 times as many people. so that is a problem. and that is not something which mere public democracy, to use the state department's lingo, that is not a public diplomacy problem. and it will require some fairly -- number one, some fairly serious thinking here about where we are going in the region and are we moving in
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directions that lead to new opportunities down the road. and then second, it's again going to take some pretty serious engagement, starting at the top, embassies will have their work to do in this as well. explaining our vision, our vision, how it is compatible with people there in terms of dignity. and how we can help but understanding that these are their countries, their societies, and that ultimately, they, not us, are responsible. and so we are working to help empower them, but ultimately, these are their choices for their future. >> ambassador jeffrey, do you have anything you wish to add? >> very quickly, having been held accountable for lousy polls in several countries i was in, we never are going to do well in polling. and exhibit a for that is after
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getting tired of bitching from washington both at an craw and baghdad, overwhelming in favor of us, sort of like berlin is, i then asked the question, okay, let's see what the polls say with iran. in both countries they were with us. here is my theory, among populations, no foreign country that is powerful is ever going to be a winner. because it makes people nervous. regardless of what we say or do. our goal should be, and boy, does this fly in the face of much of what washington puts out these days, is the political thinking elites to convince them, that's what we did in europe. i spent nine years in germany and most germans other than berlin are not that loving of us, but the political aleads were, and they made the difference. if we have the right policies, we will do a lot better if they
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feel like they can count on us. if we get back to being there, 911, and we're reliable, we'll find the people who matter, and that goes well beyond governments, but it isn't the entire population polled, will basically be willing to meet us halfway. >> all right. terrific question. i will go to the woman here in the third row back. please do introduce yourself and ask a great question. >> ann pierce. i'm an author. and i was asked to repeat a question i asked in the first panel, so here goes. there's a compelling argument against fighting isis without also forging strong strategy to contain terror sponsoring, wmd proliferating atraus ate committing states syria and iran
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and putting an end to the assad regime. so my question is, is grand strategy at risk in the fight against isis given the ways that fight benefits iran and syria? >> that is an interesting question, and i tee it up to the ambassadors with some interest. >> to be very blunt, it is impossible to contain the islamic state in even iraq without also dealing with syria. if nothing else, the islamic state having deep strategic depth in syria, will enable it constantly to be a problem. in iraq. let me just give you a little historical context. jim and i were in iraq during the war there.
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when we were trying to shut down that syrian/iraqi border, we never were able to do it, never. let me say this again. never were able to do it without somewhere between three and four american combat brigades in the province of an bar, which is the most western province of iraq, and in the province of mosul, which is to the north of anbar. three to four american brigades, plus four loyal iraqi army divisions. a total of roughly, roughly 20,000 american soldiers plus 40,000 iraqi soldiers. and even then, it was always a challenge. so now we face frankly a group more capable than the syrian military intelligence that was
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causing us problems in the iraq war, much more capable group, without dealing with the syrian side of that border, i don't see how the strategy in iraq can be a success. it will certainly make some gains, as -- and we have had gains in iraq. there is a little bit of good news from iraq on the military side. the islamic state is losing ground, northeast of baghdad, south of baghdad. it's actually retreating. that's good. however, it hasn't yet been fighting in the sunni heartland, and when it gets to the sunni heartland, those shia militias that have been making the progress northeast of baghdad and south of baghdad, which those shia militias start interacting with sunni populations, in places like mosul and anbar provinces, look out. there we will have a problem. this gets back into what i was saying about the human rights issues, and you can't ignore
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them even as you deal with the counterterrorism shift. on the syrian side of the border, i have to tell you, it is so bad now. that options that would have, i think, been quite useful three years ago with the passage of three years and two years, is much more difficult, but i go back to the most fundamental issue about containing the islamic state in syria. it is not something which drone strikes or f-16 strikes is going to contain because the islamic state, let's face it, a, it's a state. it drives me crazy that washington won't say that. it is a state. it has an administration, it has an army, it controls territory, it runs schools, it runs hospitals, it runs an energy sector. it's a state. and deal with that. that's a bigger threat even. so you do not destroy a state just with drone strikes. you're going to require boots on
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the ground. i sincerely hope, myself, that we do not have to have american boots on the ground in syria. i spent four and a half years in iraq trying to get an iraqi government stood up so we could get american boots out of iraq. but then we need boots on the ground. there needs to be serious thinking here in washington about whose boots on the ground those are going to be. do you think assad has the boots on the ground? or is it going to be the people against assad? there aren't a lot of other options. so i would submit to you, just the grim reality of iraq and syria after three and a half years of horrible war of attrition, the assad regime does not have the manpower to take on the islamic state. that's why it had basically an indirect truce with the islamic state for the better part of two years. they don't have the manpower, so they have to look to fight against assad, and this
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administration idea that the free syrian army is going to fight the islamic state without fighting the assad regime, i have to tell you, the word fantasy gets thrown around a lot on syria, that is the biggest fantasy. end of speech. i will get off my soap box. >> ambassador jeffrey, might you expand the comments, talk a little bit about whether in fact the united states is perhaps inadvertently empowering iran vis-a-vie other states in the region. through its counter islamic state policy in iraq and in syria. >> i was more worried about that until the 24th of last month than i am now because i felt that there was a major push for an agreement on almost any terms with the iranians on the nuclear account, but unfortunately, the
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iranians saved our own bacon by refusing on almost any terms an agreement, and so now that particularly momentum is no longer with us. i think that the iranian air strikes in iraq the last several days are an indxz that the iranian census and want to cause more trouble in a way that's a good thing. the iranians and assad are not as robert said our allies. first of all, on practical terms, they're not going to liberate sunni arab areas. they're just going to be massacred themselves and massacre the locals. secondly, we don't need them. we and our 60 allies who were up in brussels, have enough forces, have enough money, have enough capability if we mobilize ourselves and do it right, again, as general kimts said, with american leadership. normally i'm weary of that term, but in that regard, we can do this, and we don't want to do it with them because to get to your core question, at the end of the day, and that's the point i was
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trying to make in my introductory comments, assad and particularly iran and isis are manifestations of the same problem, alternative universes. china, and you're going to talk about russia later today. they're big problems, in part because of their power, but they want to modify the system, tweak it to be regional heg ammans, but they exist within the same reality world we do. there are people in the middle east including the iranians and the iranians are the driving force behind assad, and isis, that have an alternative universe view of the world, and they can never be our allies, so a question only right now of prioritization. priority is isis. >> we have a question from the gentleman in the second row. and the microphone is coming. >> captain cooper, africa command with my colleagues here.
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good to see you again, gentlemen. something that every region is faced with and you have the perspective. i want to piggy back off the general's questions, accounting for capabilities and will of states, partner states, and looking at you both mentioned engagements and opportunities, have you all seen from your perspective as chiefs of mission, an increasing aversion to risk, and is that potential aversion to risk a risk to implementation on the policy side all the way down to a tactical level? >> yeah. the obvious one being not putting advisory teams out with trained and competent and capable units. you have to be a bit careful you don't risk people for no reason. we had this very effectively in vietnam. i was trained as one, and it's the normal way to do things. they're famous for having
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advisory teams all over the region. why not have them in iraq where we've got huge issues in play? the only thing i will say is because i don't want to be too negative to this administration, which is justly often accused of risk averse behavior. that flows from the mistakes we made from 2001, in particularly 20 2003, including the obama surge in afghanistan, where we thought we could make a huge difference by putting hundreds of thousands of american troops on the ground in a clear hold build. we did the clear and hold, because that's what american troops are good at. we couldn't do the build. that was the point robert was making and i was there with him watching this, and we're not going to do the build. if we're your exit strategy, you don't have an exit strategy. that's been a long and painful
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message for the people. the pew and the chicago council on foreign affairs surveys have shown repeatedly at the lowest level ever, now come up because of the beheadings but only because of them, and so it's not a good environment for presidents to get -- to take big risks. >> wonderful. good time for additional questions. in fact, i will ask the gentleman sitting behind the gentleman i called on please to ask his question. >> carl gallvan. this is in a broader context. after the u.s. ended its obligations in '71 to redeem u.s. dollars in gold, accumulated by foreign governments, we substituted essentially the petro dollar where 48% of the world's oilee require it continue to be sold only in the u.s. dollar, which may incur some resentment around the world. to what extent are we committed to stay in the middle east to
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enforce the petro dollar. libya wanted to sell its dollar for gold. might we restore a new agreement and make steps towards a more peaceful world in that way? >> perhaps i could ask the ambassadors to what extent have you found that u.s. policy that you've had to execute has been primarily about oil politics like these geopolitical issues you have discussed? >> almost entirely geopolitical, although energy is part of it. first of all, i would challenge, although i'm not a financial economist, i would challenge the idea we have a formal agreement that oil is denominated in dollars. that happens to be a practice. it's like wide body aircraft tend to be sold in dollars. there are people, the chine teaease to some degree, and the russians, who are trying to cut that, but there are reasons why the international financial
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system which rather like euro dollars 40 years ago are created by american actions but not specific actions, has led to something based on our economic strength, our role in financial markets and on and on, that is not necessarily in our favor, but it's out there, but it certainly isn't any sort of plan or nor is it a specific agreement. the point is the united states took a decision after world war ii when communist labor unions egged on by stalin were freezing europe in the winter of '46 or '47, that oil from the middle east was absolutely essential, not for us, we were exporting oil at that time, but for our allies in europe and eventually the far east. that has created an integral part of the entire global geostrategic stitchuation because our allies and friends who we rely on, korea, japan, and such, and europe, are almost
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entire entirely hidrocarbon devoid. we're in pretty good shape, particularly now and always have been in fairly good shape, but they aren't, and the only place they can come from is a very unstable part of the world. the middle east. so that's part of the entire geostrategic global relationship that we have had for 60 years. it's not to advance the interests of american oil companies or to advantage our economy in any way. it's basically to insure that our allies remain economically strong, can stay democratic, can provide military forces to defend themselves and align with us in places like the first gulf war and i see it as a legitimate and important part of our global policy. >> all right. yes, absolutely. i'm sorry. >> let me share a little of my personal real world experience. i was also the american
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ambassador in algeria, which is a major energy exporter. and including some energy exports to the united states. just in the sort of day-to-day work of what we did as well as as our development of sort of policies we would use with the algerians. energy did not figure particularly highly because the american companies in the sector were doing fine. they weorked directly with the algerians, they didn't normally need a lot of help from us and in fact we spent much more time trying to introduce american companies to the algerian market, and we had some success with a major u.s. industrial company that built a huge water desalination plant that supplies the capital about one third of its drinking water. a very big joint project between the american industrial company
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and algerian partners, i wouldn't assume even in a place like algeria that it actually sets the tone for the bilateral relationship. i don't think it does. if the companies are happy, i think the government's inclination is to stay out. second point, just in the short term now, as we see energy prices dropping and the american economy doing relatively well compared to europe and even chinese growth is slowing, i would be surprised if gulf exporters would be particularly keen to shift oil sales out of dollars and into other currencies, certainly not yen, certainly not chinese wan right now, and probably not euros. so i think they'll be happy at least in the short term keeping it in dollars. i don't see that they would have an immediate commercial advantage. it was different some 20 years
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ago when they were thinking about changing, but i don't think they're thinking that way now. >> i know that we are running out of time on this panel, so i would actually like to ask the ambassadors for one big takeaway. if you could predict for us, use your analytic powers to forecast for us where you think these crises in iraq and syria will be, let us say six or eight months from now, as the foreign policy initiative is putting together its program for its next conference, where do you think we will have gotten to in these respective struggles? >> my hope is we will be no worse off than we are now. i suspect that we will have contained isis pretty well, as robert said. we are on the offensive a bit in areas like beijing and in the sunni belts to the south of
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baghdad. but i don't see mosul or fallujah being taken. and i think that we will be at that point really questioning what our policies are. the other is iran and how iran is going to react to the situation not only with isis but the fact that they're going to be under long-term sanctions. i don't think we're going to get an agreement in seven months, and how is it going to react? it's another destabilizing force, and they're growing in intensity in the region. >> ambassador ford, do you have a different prediction? >> i can imagine we might be slightly better off in six months in iraq. there's already been some progress on the kurdish baghdad issue with at least a preliminary agreement with how to manage the oil export question and federal budget,
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although iraq because of the falling oil prices, iraq is going to have a budget deficit very different than anything we have seen before, so it will be a challenge for our iraqi friends. i actually think that things in syria will go from very, very, very bad to even worse still. i presume many of the people in the audience know that the uniet united nations relief agencies are running out of money and they're actually cutting back rations to syrian refugees in neighboring countries. that's going to cause further difficulties. we're going to have very unhappy refugees. the region has experienced with unhappy refugees in previous places, and i see nothing inside syria that promises in the next six months, kim, that the situation is going to get better, and that suggests to me that the islamic state is going to consolidate its hold over the half of the country that it
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already controls. it is actually on the offensive right now, both north and south of damascus, and if things do not change, i would expect that the so-called moderate opposition in syria, and i think there is one, i think it will cease to exist in northern syria. and we will simply have jihadis in the north, and facing the regime, which will make any effort to contain the islamic state, even harder than it is now. >> thank you very much. please, audience, join me in thanking ambassador ford and ambassador jeffrey. [ applause ] thank you very, very much. >> president obama this morning nominating pentagon veteran ashton carter to be his fourth defense secretary. ashton carter, who if confirmed by the senate would replace chuck hagel has served in a number of roles in the department, most recently as
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deputy defense secretary from 2011 to 2013. you can watch the president's announcement alt, and we're asking you to share your thoughts on the president's choice. post on our facebook page or tweet us. we might share some of your comments on the air. the labor department released the november jobs numbers this morning showing u.s. employers added 321,000 jobs last month, the most in any month in nearly three years. the unemployment rate remains at 5.8%. putting 2014 to be the strongest for hiring in 15 years. we expect to hear more about the economy, the president's nomination, and what's ahead in congress from house democratic leader nancy pelosi. she'll be holding her weekly briefing from the capitol. we'll have live coverage at 11:00 eastern this morning on c-span2. and reaction from the white house as well. spokes minjosh earnest will
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speak during the press briefing, and you can watch that on c-span. >> here's some of the programs you'll find this weekend on the c-span networks. saturday at 11:00 a.m. eastern on c-span, live coverage of the memorial service for former washington, d.c. mayor marion barry, and sunday evening at 8:00, ann compton, whoresisantly retired after 40 years as abc news white house correspondent. saturday night at 10:00 on book tv on c' span2, university of new hampshire assistant professor on how the northeast u.s. wasn't always the haven of racial equality and supportive of african-american civil rights, and sunday at noon, our live three-hour conversation with author and american enterprise president arthur brooks, with your phone calls, e-mails, and tweets. and on american history tv on c-span3, saturday night at 8:00, university of michigan professor
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martha jones on female slaves and law. and sunday at 8:00 on the presidency, president george h.w. bush's former secretary of state james baker on the fall of the wall. find our complete schedule on and let us know what you think about the programs you're watching. call us, e-mail us, or send us a twe tweet. join the c-span conversation. like us on facebook, follow us on twitter. >> with live coverage of the u.s. house on c-span and the senate on c-span2, here on c-span3, we comp lemth that coverage by showing you the most relevant congressional hearings and public affairs events, and on weekends, c-span3 is home to american history tv with programs that tell our nation's story including six unique series, the civil wars 150th anniversary, visiting
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battlefields and key events. american artifacts, touring museums and historic sites to discover what artifacts reveal about america's past, history bookshelf with the best known history writesers, the presidency looking at the policies of our commanders in chief. lectures in history with top college professors. and our new series, reel america, featuring archival government and educational films from the 1930s through the '70s. c-span3, created by the cable tv industry and funded by your local cable or satellite provider. watch us in hd, like us on facebook, and follow us on twitter. a senate panel this week heard from representatives of the nfl, major league baseball, the nba, and the nhl about what the leagues are doing to address issues of domestic violence among professional athletes. representatives from the players association, inlabors organizations also provided testimony about their groups' roles and positions in these
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cases. the senate commerce committee hearing is just over two hours. >> plays a huge role culturally and otherwise in the united states. just last week on thanksgiving, mrls of americans were probably paying more attention to their tv sets than their turkeys. it's part of our cultural deal. i hope it's a good one. athletes have become icons in america. i remember my -- at that time, 10-year-old son, had this gigantic poster of ray nitschke. it took up half of his room. but that's the way it was then. he's now 45. that's the way it was then. that's the way it is now. whether we like it or not, major league athletes serve as role models for our youth, generations of children have grown up watching sporting events with their parents. it's a family affair.
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and game day traditions have been handing down from generation to the next. literally, an amazing american mon phenomenon. kids wear the jerseys of their favorite players, they have their posters and collect their cards. most of which are not charged for, i guess. but it's an amazing figure. and it's one that we want to talk about. given this reality, i hope we can skip protestaceans about how domestic violence is a larger societal problem and not unique to sports. we often get that. you should know this committee, it's not known by most, but this committee has complete and absolute jurisdiction, that is oversight, over all sports, at all levels. and we have exercised it with college sports, the ncaa, and we're today doing it through the courtesy of your presence.
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of course, it's a societal problem. and it's a grievous one, and it's kind of come upon us really fast in terms of public awa awareness and the coverage of it. but as a nation, we have a responsibility to collectively and aggressively address this terrible problem. we all do. you, we. but given the high profile nature of professional sports, when a celebrity athlete is charged with committing a domestic violence, it uniquely reverberates through our society in fascinating ways. and because professional sports draw unique benefits bestowed upon them by the public such as funds for stadiums and exemptions from antitrust laws it's entirely proper for us to
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focus on how the leagues and their unions are handling the problem of domestic violence within their ranks. at today's hearing, i want to learn what the four major professional sports leagues and their players associations are doing to address this problem, and we really do want to find out. i want to know if you're developing uniform policies that will effectively and appropriately punish players who commit what are criminal acts against women and children. i want to learn what the leagues can already do with their existing authorities, the nfl comes to mind on that, and what must be the subject of new collective bargaining. which may be more popular with some than with others. i also want to be clear the problem of domestic violence in professional sports is not a
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problem unique to the nfl. the nfl has made the most of the headlines in recent months both for shocking and high profile incidents and for the league's controversial response. all of the professional sports leagues represented here today, however, have a problem with athletes or employees who have committed violent criminal acts, all of them. i can give them to you if you try to deny it. until very recently, the league's records have not been good. there's a long list of players in the nfl, the nba, the nhl, and major league baseball who have been charged with and in some cases convicted of domestic violence and the leagues have done little or nothing in response. in fact, the press has reported that a culture of silence within the leagues often prevents victims from reporting their abuse to law enforcement. this has to change. there are reasons for that,
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financial, et cetera, the culture of silence is so that -- because the most cases the athlete being male, the wife doesn't want to give up the salary, and all of these things come into it. but it has to stop. and that's what we're here for. to talk about it and to move forward. my very excellent cochair here, senator thune. >> thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing to discuss the serious issue of domestic violence in professional sports. let me just say that i'm that 10-year-old kid you're talking about growing up, just aspired to, admired, idolized professional athletes, and i grew up in a small town in south dakota of 800 people where we didn't get a newspaper until the following day, so you didn't get box scores, you got line scores to follow your baseball players, and we got one television channel, and so we got the cbs
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affiliate in some places, that's true, and so i got to watch the green bay packers twice a year, and that was the two times they played the minnesota vikings in the divisional, but that was my team, and because we only got one television station, that's all we had. you know, i would -- we didn't have a lot of the apparel that nay now have, so i would take a white t-shirt and a blue felt pen and put 32 on there and the dodgers for sandy colfax and i wore that, and my younger brother -- i was a big bart starr fan. he was a roger staubach plan, i tell you that by way of background to indicate, i think, all of us in this country have a tremendous, you know, admiration for people who succeed at that level. and it is incredible influence and power that people who are successful in professional sports have on young people in this country, and young people are watching. and that whether they like it or
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not, the people who have those positions are role models. and certainly we hope good ones. but i just wanted to -- and that's why i think this domestic violence issue that's been brought to our attention here of late and entered into a national discussion is so important. i'm a father of two daughters, i found the graphic security camera footage of running back ray rice and his then fiancee to be sickening like so many others did across this country. the nfl's initial response to this matter was completely inadequate. a two-game suspension was a p t paltry sensitive. as best, they failed to understand the scope and severity of the situation. at worse, after waiting to suspend him only after the video was public, the nfl sent a mixed message to fans and the public on how it handles such acts of violence. as you mentioned, this is not unique to professional football. every league has experienced
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similar acts of violence over the years. i'm troubled by the recent remarks of the commissioner of baseball that seems to downplay the extent of the problem in his sports. rather than minimizing the issue, i believe the leagues need to engage in meaningful talks to insure player conduct policies are sufficient when such acts of violence are carried out. that may mean renegotiating contract provisions and strengthening penalties where appropriate. questions of due process such as determining if, when, and how a player should be disciplines are also an important part of this conversation, but this is a conversation that needed to take place because sadly this issue is want going away anytime soon. while i'm encouraged in many of the leagues represented here, the conversation has begun, we should work toward a consistent policy when it comes to acts of violence. violence of any kind, particularly against women and children, is unacceptable. it's my hope it will shed light on what professional sports leagues are doing to address the
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issues, and if, as many believe, the current policies are insufficient, to dress thaem in an adequate manner, i hope it will put pressure on the leagues and the players administrations to make sure such acts of violence are addressed swiftly and perpetrators are disciplined appropriately. mr. chairman, in the past, we have used our jurisdiction in this area to examine a number of issues ranging fracture steroids to protecting children from concussions. often when we turn our taemgz to professional sports, questions are raised about whether it's the best use of our time and resources. for instance, in 2005, this committee held a series of hearings to examine the policies of major league baseball ke concerning the use of steroids. i wasn't on the committee alt the time, but i was aware of the headlines including those hearings a waste of time. but major league baseball turned
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the corner from the steroid era and implemented a series of sweeping reforms. our committee's ability to shine a bright lite on the problems in sports is all it takes to get real and meaningful change. i believe this hearing is important. questions surrounding how professional sporlts leagues address domestic violence are valid ones and rightly warrant scrutiny by this committee. professional at leads and the teams they play for are role models and opinion makers. they can set an example, especially for the youngsters who grow up watching them. while i thank the witnesses for being here today, and sharing your testimony, it's disappointing that the league commissioners are not here to speak for their sports. it's also unfortunate nthat wit a notable exception of the nba players associate, the other associations are not here. these are issues that should not be partisan and it may well be
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appropriate to assess this in the next conference. mr. chairman, thank you. >> thank you very much, senator. now we're going to have now we're going to have something we don't usually do. the chair of the relevant subcommittee, claire mccaskill, will speak for two minutes, i do believe, and be followed by senator hiller. >> thank you for holding this important hearing. the bright light of public attention needs to be turned on at a very high wattage on a problem that exists in the shadows in a very dark and scary place. with great power and influence comes great responsibility, and no one will debate that probably the leagues you represent here today have more power and influence in our country than maybe any other institutions
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that i can think of. professional sports must do a better job of setting an example to young people and victims of domestic violence who face very difficult decisions as they struggle with holding their abusers accountable. professional sports with very few exceptions have done little to hold those who commit this crime accountable. and perpetrators know if they can get their victims to can get their victims to recant, refuse to cooperate, threaten their financial future, threaten the future of their families' financial status, or put them on an airplane to venezuela, if they can accomplish those things then nothing will happen.
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there has been little or no effort to know that very few who are abused to have an adequate support system within the families of the professional sports teams where they exist to get the support to come forward and hold their abuser accountable. and so by and large, professional sports teams have relied on the failure of the criminal justice system to get convictions as their excuse as to why no players or very few players have been held accountable. i'm anxious to hear how you view your responsibility to independently gather the facts and hold the professional athlete who is commit these crimes accountable with sanctions within your leagues. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator heller. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate the committee's attention to such an important issue. i didn't realize nevada was so advanced because we had three
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television channels. able to watch our warriors, our san francisco 49ers, and the giants play. so anyway, i know that there are some here in this room that may question why congress is involved in this issue, and i'd like to explain why. every minute in the united states, 20 people will experience domestic violence. last night more than 20,000 phone calls were made to domestic violence hotlines. one in three women will experience physical violence from a partner sometime in their lifetime. children exposed to domestic violence are more likely to commit domestic violence later in life. as a husband and father of two wonderful daughters, this is simply unacceptable and must be changed. these numbers aren't just statistics. they're people. they're wives, mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. the witnesses before us today represent the most popular and commercially successful sports leagues in the world. their star players are household names and role models for fans
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and aspiring young athletes. the past few years we witness truly shocking acts from some of these public figures. just as concerning is how the league handles these situations and how the unions protect these players. it's very clear to me that getting these players back on the field was more important than addressing incidences of sexual assault, domestic violence or child abuse. the leagues and the media simply brushed these problems aside and left it to the courts. only when a video surfaced of the brutal punch an nfl player landed on his fiancee did the collective conscious of america demand the leagues and unions change their approach. i can only imagine what survivors feel like today. as i wrote in a letter to roger goodell, by waiting until a video of shocking domestic violence by one of their players became public they effectively condoned the actions of this player.
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i think the same holds true of the players association. the players association said this decision is a victory for disciplinary process that is fair and transparent. this union will always stand up and fight for the due process of our players. this is not about due process. this is not about collective bargaining agreements you do not like any more or want to change. this is not about any type of labor issues you may have with the league. this is about helping to stop a terrible problem in society. wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends are being beaten. when you're worrying more about getting back on the field instead of stopping abuse, your priorities are out of order. instead of addressing the problem, inadequate or nonexistent league policies and codes of conduct mean aggressors have not been dealt with appropriately, and the survivors of domestic violence have been left behind.
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for these horrifying acts for domestic violence and sexual assault. our nation's professional sports leagues have a unique ability to make a difference. the american people need you to step up, and this committee wants to know what you will do to take a stand. thank you. >> thank you, senator. we go now to the witness list. again i express your appreciation for your being here. we'll start with mr. troy sin gent, who's an executive vice president of football operations, national football league. welcome. >> thank you. mr. chairman, members of the committee, my name is troy vince vincent. i'm the executive vice president of football operations at the national football league. i'm pleased to discuss the work we have under way at the nfl to address conduct standards including domestic violence and sexual assault. we want to set the highest standards for personal behavior in order to meet the expectations of our fans, players, and those of the general broader public. in 2007, commissioner goodell
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issued an enhanced personal conduct policy for all players, owner, and league employees. but as recent events made clear, we have not kept our standards current with our own values. we made mistakes. we have been humbled. we accepted criticism we receive and we are committed to being part of the solution. we will get this right. mr. chairman and committee, when i consider these issues, i bring the perspective far beyond the nfl executive. domestic violence was a way of life when i grew up. my brother and i watched helplessly numerous times as my mother was beaten and knocked unconscious and we dialled 911. we saw how she struggled to seek help and find the courage to say "no more." the fear and complexities accompanying this violence remain very real in my life today. i have committed my life to work for the last 20 years as an advocate against domestic
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violence in an effort to keep others from experiencing this lifetime pain. i relate to the 20 million victims and survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse in every community across our great nation. in addition, i had the honor and the privilege of playing in a national football league for 15 years. 12 years of those i served as a union official. four of those years i served as a players association president. i support the interest of all players in a fair process. i led these efforts and the majority of our current and former players are terrific husbands, fathers and men who have made incredible contributions to their communities. they know that league standards issues that concern everyone.
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in 2007, the league and the players union collaborated with developing a personal conduct policy. i was part of those efforts and today, just as in the past, the league has invited the nfl pa along with other experts to assist us in setting the highest possible standards. the nfl is taking a number of steps to improve how we respond to incidents of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. first, through efforts personally led by the commissioner, the nfl is undertaking a thorough review and having consulted with over 100 leading experts across a broad range of subjects. the goal is to set clear rules for misconduct to establish a fair process for our players. we will create a conduct committee responsible for review and recommend changes to the personal conduct policy going forward.
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experts will continue to advise both the conduct and the commission we always have the right voices at the table for educational and disciplinary work. second, we are deploying a comprehensive mandatory education program for more than 5,000 men and women in the nfl family. our goal is to ensure that everyone understands and has the full scope of this behavior and is familiar with the warning signs associated with these crimes. education also rho promotes prevention. how individuals can appropriately and safely help those at risk is another key focus area of our education. third, we are training the response teams to help prevent and respond quickly to family violence and sexual assault including safety, medical, legal, and financial support. fourth, we are a support


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