tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN February 7, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EST
capital investments. it is investments that will pay off as the economy rebounds. more americans working will mean more sales for your companies. it will mean more we can create a virtuous circle. if there is a reason that you don't share my confidence, if there is a reason that you don't believe this is the time to get off the sidelines and hire and invest, i want to know about it. i want to fix it. i have asked jeff in all of ge to lead outside experts to make sure we are getting the best advice and what you are facing out there. we will be holding our first meeting two weeks from now on the 24. you can get your e-mails in early.
with your ideas and thoughts about how we keep moving forward to create this a virtuous cycle. together, i am confident we can win the competition for new jobs and industries and i know you share my enthusiasm. here is one thing i know -- for all the disagreement that we may have sometimes on issues, i know you love this country. i know you want america to succeed just as badly as i do. yes, we will have disagreements and yes, we will see things differently at times. but we are all americans. that spirit of patriotism and that sense of mutual regard uncommon obligation, that has carried us through far harder times than the one we have just been through. i am reminded that toward the end of the 1930's, amidst the depression, with the looming prospect of war, fdr, president
roosevelt, realized that he would need to form a new partnership with business if we were going to become what he would later call the arsenal of democracy. as you can imagine, the relationship between the president and business leaders during the course of the depression had been rocky at times. it had grown somewhat fractured by the new deal. roosevelt reached out to businesses and business leaders answered the call to serve their country. after years of working at cross purposes, the result was one of the most productive collaboration between public and private sectors in american history. some, like the head of gm, had not previously known the president and had seen him as an adversary. he gathered his family and explained he was going to add up what would become the war production board.
he said to his family that this country has been good to me. i want to pay it back. i want to pay it back. in the years that followed, automobile factories converted to making planes and tanks. corset factory is made grenade belts, a toy company made compasses. the pinball machine maker turned out shells. 1941 would see the greatest expansion of manufacturing in the history of america. and not only did this help us win the war, it led to millions of new jobs and helped produce the great american middle class. we have faced hour -- hard times before. we have faced moments tumult and moments of change and we know what to do. we know how to succeed. we are americans and as we have
done throughout our history, i have every confidence that once again we will rise to this occasion and we can come together, we can adapt, we can thrive in this changing economy. we need to look no further than the innovative companies in this room. and if we can harness your potential and the potential of your people across the country, i think there is no stopping us. thank you, god bless you, and may god bless the united states of america. [applause] ♪ ♪
>> president speaking for about 30 minutes, touching on jobs, the economy, and government relations and reaching out to the u.s. chamber of commerce today. this meeting happened close to the white house and the president walked across the street to make his remarks. we're opening our phone lines to get your take on what the president said. more specifically, the obama administration and the business community are looking to continue on that theme from the state of the union on jobs and the economy. the chamber of commerce and the president have not had the best relationship and have rubbed up against health care and other issues. here are the numbers on your screen
host: our first call is john's, phoenix, arizona, republican line. caller: as a small-business owner, i've watched this today. i need a shovel that there was so much money were being spread out. if these guys ever had to work in a business and keep it open, the president is talking about giving them a tax credit with this insurance. take 10 employees and you pay $10,000 for each one of those employees, that is $100,000 per year and will give you 30 percent off. who will give you the other 70%? we are lucky to keep our doors open in this recession. when he talked about jeffrey immelt, that god has sent more jobs overseas. they talk about how bad bush is ge has sent more jobs over seas
than any other company. our country is so stupid that they are paying the chinese here in arizona solar plants, guaranteeing them billions of dollars to put solar plants and our own country here in arizona. i called my senator. kyl,voted for mccain and no one ever called me back. you can tell the elections are starting because the president is giving his election speeches like he is a republican now. unbelievable. host: mentioning general electric ceo jeff imelt, named to the president's new council on jobs and competitiveness. we go now to pennsylvania. it looks like we will go to new jersey. caller: we are registered
republicans. the last go around, we voted for obama. he is a decent person to us. we got comcast tv, big business, they are a greedy bunch of bastards. i retired from new jersey bell and it turned into at&t and i retired from listen to technology. -- lucent technologies, and we do get a pension. we find obama has a head on his shoulders. everybody complains. we flipped a coin and we voted for obama. we are still -- i guess we might be on the fence a little bit. our opinion is, he is a decent person and he is honest anyhow.
i guess he doesn't fit into the republican thinking but i think he cannot -- he can get along with republicans. we don't hate him, that's for sure. host: next to minnesota. you are on the independent blind. caller: 20 to wake up and support our president. greed.fighting agree with the trillions of tax breaks of the top 8%, of that money is being funneled into bad mouthing our president and cutting our social programs, our safety net for those less fortunate. we need to recognize greed for what it is. republicans need to fess up to
their greed. god bless obama. he is doing what he can. why anybody would want the job, i don't know. he is a good man. host: democrats line, california. caller: i am calling from rialto, california. i am an inventor and the president speaks about inventions. i have an invention that will create jobs and save lives and bring down the insurance premium. the invention is a safety tire that will help save lives and create jobs. i would like to know if i can leave the patent number for him to look at? host: have to pursue getting this patented? caller: yes, it is 13 years. host: no success getting it to market? caller: not yet. host: we wish you success with
that. john, on the independent line. caller: i heard many things that sound promising for the future. i don't know how long it will take to implement these bags. there is an immediate need right now for hard-working americans that have lost their jobs, they are the 99ers. there is a press conference coming up on wednesday to address this. this is something i believe the president keeps on spinning around and giving us his blah, blah, blah. i don't know if he is holding back for some strategic method but there are a lot of hard- working americans that want to work and have lost jobs through no fault of their own because they have gone overseas or because of cutting down on unemployment. and there is something that needs to be done right away. there are centers like menendez
who have helped sponsor bills, senator schumer and many others, but there are a lot of others who are homeless with no food in this weather that cannot give their little children some kind of quality of life only because all the bureaucracy going on and not giving help to these people. we need to read and remember that we don't shoot our wounded. we need to help our wounded. host: thank you for your call. you saw live pictures of the president heading back to the white house. the chamber of commerce is right across the street from the white house. the president was close enough to be able to walk to the meeting. our next call is from jeremiah in tulsa, and oklahoma on the democrat line. caller: i may first-time caller and glad to be on c-span. i have watched for years and i
appreciate your approach to the media addressing our concerns and problems and issues in this nation. i want to say that i am an insurance agent and broker in the health-care market. i am in the middle of the fray in terms of the health care bill. when i listen to the president's speech, i am in agreement with several callers. the gentleman that just called and said he had voted for obama and the issue about greed. like the lady said earlier before the speech, we are in a short supply of common sense in america right now. we keep going back and forth. i looked at the ronald reagan program over the weekend and it brought me to tears. some of the gentleman back in that day, the problem is very clear.
we are playing these stupid political games and we need to get back to solving our problems in this nation. i think president obama is bringing some of that thinking back to the scene. i have watched this for the past 20 years. anyone with any kind of sense -- i do not have a master's degree. i am a self-made man t. we need common sense in this country. the gains that are being played with public trading and stock markets and public companies and what has happened, you get what you play for. host: the president defended publicly alleged also promised to eliminate those who are burdened and discussed lowering the corporate tax rate and eliminating tax loopholes to help businesses grow. he said corporate success has to be shared with the american worker, not just result in ceo
bonuses. our last call will be glenn in tulsa, okla., on the independent line. caller: the ceo of ge, he has laid off over 20,000 people. i don't see where he is going to help our businesses. president obama is finding more regulations than any other president in his first four years of office. the regulations he signed has put hundreds of oil workers out of work, light bulbs that were made in the united states are now no longer being made. they are being made overseas. a lot of people have been put out of work because of his regulations.
she needs to talk -- he needs to talk to common people. the people he has around him, i don't think it, they are getting the message to him of what is actually going on. thank you for taking my call. host: we appreciate your call and everyone who called in. thank you for remarking on the president's comment. if you missed any of the president's remarks, you can see them again at 8:30 tonight eastern here on c-span. former secretary of state madeleine albright and former homeland security secretary tom ridge were honored at an event wednesday hosted by a group called the u.s. global leadership coalition. cokie roberts is the first speaker. this is over 40 minutes. [laughter] [applause]
>> i am from louisiana. how great would be to have thomas jefferson's name on the letter? i think it would still work. it is no stranger than having this group of people in one room. this is absolutely the strange bedfellows coalition darie.. it has been unaffected by judge strange bedfellows. -- it has been a strange bunch of bedfellows. this organization is so practical. the people you are honoring
tonight, madeleine albright and tom ridge, are such wonderful examples of that. they are people with great ideas and wonderful vision but also the practicality of getting things done. that is what this is all about. people in the business community who are here understand that to do business in the country, it is much better to do it in a country where people are educated and help the and able -- and healthy and able to participate in civil society anyway or you don't have to make choices between stability and democracy. that is something we are facing right now. and egypt. true stability comes from an act of civil society where everyone participates not just a pretend democracy. this certainly includes the participation of women.
that is certainly the enlightened self-interest of the business community here. for the non-governmental organizations, we are the people who know how to deliver the education and health care and the tools for building a civil society. for the faith based community, everybody here involved in a fake nose this is the right thing -- everyone here involved in faith knows this is the right thing to do. it is in our own national security interest to be pursuing development around the world. this organization has been great. it has done a great job of putting all these communities together and lobbying for greater assistance around the world. this year, you have your work cut out for you. it will be a tough, tough year.
all of you will have to work very, very hard in order to keep going. that is part of what to night is all about. it is a time to both celebrate and rededicate to that kind of hard work. we will start with honoring the people who worked so hard on that and have our celebration. we'll start with our cochairs the will introduce our honorees. who aredreds of ngo's members of the coalition include c.a.re. and the president and ceo is dr. helene gayle and she is co-chair of tonight's dinner. she brings a lifetime of public service in the fight against hiv aids and other diseases to an organization who we all know very well and its mission has
been dedicated to ending global poverty. the hundreds of businesses here tonight and develop and professionals who are part of the coalition is represented by robyn lineberger. he oversees a $1.2 billion operation. wickes 6000 employees dedicated to assisting federal agencies and meeting the most difficult challenges. please welcome these leading members of the u.s. goal leader coalition who are demonstrating the importance of international affairs. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming them to the podium [applause] >> wow, this is fabulous.
i am delighted to be here with my cochair. we are honoring two extraordinary individuals. secretary madeleine albright and secretary tom ridge. karen and deloitte are proud membership of the u.s. and global coalition. we believe in this passionate sense that america can help to make a better and safer world and that our role as the united states is critical in making this world better, safer, and more peaceful. as a founding member of usglc,
c.a.re. knows we can be a global force for good. we see it every day in the work we do around the world in our mission to end global poverty. whether it is providing basic education, preventing the spread of hiv aids and other diseases, increasing access to clean water or providing economic opportunities for girls and women in poor communities around the world. our work is a reflection of some of america's most cherished principles, compassion, equal rights, freedom from oppression, and a chance for everyone to fulfil their potential. we all know this work is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do. it is the best return on investment. tonight, it is my great privilege to introduce our first on a raid.
honoree, secretary madeleine albright. in her career, she has shown an unshakable belief in america. , in the power of democracy. she has worked her entire life to demonstrate and promote america's strength and humanitarian spirit. secretary albright's work has been a personal inspiration for me. her commitment to social justice, peace, and the rights of the poor and the marginalized as impacted countless lives on every corner of the globe. as secretary of state, she went toe to toe with dictators and each time demanded the same thing -- peace, stability for all people, education for girls and women, and democracy as a
path for a better and safer world. secretary albright has been a powerful force in advancing our civilian powers, never missing an opportunity to stress the importance of the international fairs budget. we want to make sure we hold budget to vote -- we hold steady to our national interest -- knows about investing in the developing world. she is a champion for people living in poor communities and she is an outspoken voice for girls and women. in her ongoing leadership and wise counsel to the u.s.glc has been invaluable. those of us here in this room are not her only fans. i like to introduce a very special guest who would like to share his thoughts about this incredible, remarkable woman. >> i am honored to be part of
this evening to recognize a great public servant, a wonderful leader. , in a terrific friend, secretary madeleine albright. throughout her extraordinary life and career, madeleine has always stood up for what is most critical to our nation's long- term welfare. she worked alongside our military and our diplomatic efforts to advance our national security. madelin was one of the earliest foreign-policy thinkers to recognize the important role of economic aid and diplomacy in building a better and safer world. one of her british legacies as secretary of state is a broad bipartisan consensus for a smart power approach to foreign policy. it utilizes all the tools we have available in these global challenges that we face today. i thank the u.s. global
leadership coalition for the very important work you do to support our development and diplomatic efforts around the world. to a strong and effective international budget. we will need to this year more than ever. i thank you for making a habit of honoring the zero women i care most about. hillary was your honjoree last year and you have made another excellent selection this year. a like to congratulate the other honoree, tom ridge and thank him for his great work. madeline, i congratulate you and thank you for your service to the nation, to the world, to me, and for unbelievable friendship. enjoy an evening well-deserved. bless you all. [applause] >> and so it is with my deepest
admiration and respect, my privilege to present my she-ro, secretary madeleine albright with the usglc leadership award. [applause] [applause] let me just read this. the award and secretary albright's accomplishments speak for herself but let me read what it says here. the u.s. global leadership coalition has a list secretary
of state madeleine albright for her vision, leadership, and on wavering commitment to elevating development and diplomacy and strengthening the u.s. international affairs budget. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much for your kind words and thank you very much for the award. happy groundhog day to you all. [laughter] it is great to see some money friends. i love the message from president clinton. i have to tell you that whenever we had to argue for our budget, we first went to the director of omb and would sit there and make our arguments to him. and then we would have a special meeting with the president to make their arguments to him.
and then i would always call him on christmas eve and ask him to add a little bit more. it is christmas and he did. [laughter] we had a special relationship. [applause] my message this evening is simple and i am very proud to be a member of the u.s. global leadership coalition where we were bipartisan even before it was cool. [laughter] not only are we bipartisan, we come from some many different sectors of society. we include people who have served in and outside the government and we have young members mixed with the gray hair and a couple of bald heads. yet, we are united by a common set of principles. first, despite the many prophets of doom and decline, american leadership remains today a pillar of international
security, justice, and peace. [applause] second, i believe we will only be able to maintain our leadership if we have adequate resources. and third, we are determined that america remains a strong and respected. if you don't believe us, we can always speak a little bit louder. tonight with george ruff and cokie roberts and tom ridge and the one and only bill gates, you can bet that we will make an awful lot of more noise. [applause] i am truly happy to be honored with secretary desk governor ridge because he has done so much and something that people don't know is that we are -- we
both have a czech background. there are still some in this city and around our country who think of america as an island. they believe we are unaffected by defense across the borders or on the far side of the sea. they refuse to accept that america's interests are linked to the security and prosperity of allies and friends. they don't understand that leadership comes with a price. the truth is that we will not be able to rely on other countries to help fight the extraordinary dangers that most threaten us unless we help the global majority to fight the chronic problems that confront them each and every day. we have to have some educating to do. let me be clear -- our purpose is not simply to defend public spending for its own sake. some of you may remember senator edmund muskie, my first boston
washington. from experience, he was a man with a down-to-earth way of talking, a first-rate intellect, and a world-class temper. [laughter] he was also the father of the congressional budget process. for want of a better term, he was a tightwad. he did not think there was anything inherently liberal or progressive about spending money. in fact, he would not give you a dime unless it was justified. he also understood that there is nothing freak about freedom. he came from a family of polish immigrants and he was a lieutenant in the u.s. navy during world war two. he knew the value of american leadership because he had seen it may call the difference in his own life. i don't know about you but i can definitely relate to that. and yet america today is embattled and our troops are fighting a war in afghanistan that cannot be won by military
means alone. we are under assault by terrorists who cannot be tracked down and defeated without the cooperation of other countries and we worry that the world's most dangerous weapons might fall into the hands of the world's most dangerous people, yet preventing that can only be a multi-national enterprise. we have a struggling economy that can grow only of our exports expand which means that foreign populations must have the means to buy what we sell. we are in a battle of ideas with dictators and demagogues who spread lies about what we do and what we intend. we have to push back but we will not be able to do that if at the same time we are cutting back on embassies, cutting back on public diplomacy, cutting back on student exchanges, cutting back on assistance and severing our connections to the world. [applause]
we have good reason to be concerned about the federal budget deficit, but as we have learned through history, the best route to fiscal stability is to prevent war and the quickest path to a catastrophe is to allow small problems to grow into big ones. there is no easy path to leadership. consider the turbulence that we now see in the middle east. the issues there are as complex as the stakes are high. the united states cannot dictate specific outcomes in countries such as egypt or tunisia but we are in a far better position than we might have been had we not raised at our boys at key moments on behalf of democratic reform and human rights. [applause] and we will be in a far better
position in the future if we remain engaged in support of the legitimate aspirations of the region's people. the truth is that no country as a more compelling interest and ours in an international system that truly works to keep the peace, foster development, build free institutions, and establish and enforce the rule of law and no country has a greater reason for pride in its tradition of leadership. i did not always agree with president george w. bush but he was a champion in the global fight against hiv aids and all americans should be proud of that. [applause] bill clinton led the campaign to halt ethnic cleansing and terror in the balkans and john kennedy sent forth the finest group of ambassadors america has ever had, sargent shriver and the peace corps. [applause]
and 30 years ago, ronald reagan launched what everyone now describes as a revolution against big government. he also increase the level of u.s. foreign aid and with democratic partners established the national endowment for democracy. this evening, i have to tell you that even after many years of being exposed to cynics and naysayers, i still believe that the united states is much more than just another country. i want america to be strong and admired and i want the respect to continue to be earned throughout the coming decade and into the next and into the next. as supporters of the u.s. global leadership coalition, i know you share that desire. tonight, let us make a beautiful noise to gather and rededicate ourselves to that goal. thank you very, very much for this great honor. [applause]
affairs budget. we know more than any that the future of the u.s. economy rests on our ability to find new markets and innovative solutions to compete in the international markets. 170,000 of our employees in deloitte work every day to solve the world's most complex problems to build a sustainable business and foster democracy and -- in government. it is a great privilege to pay tribute to a man and understands the importance of global engagement. , the hon. tom ridge. [applause] secretary rich has been a soldier, a member of congress, a governor, a cabinet secretary, and a businessman. throughout his career, tom ridge has focused on the greatness of
america and important role our nation place in building a better and safer world. as governor of pennsylvania, tom ridge saw firsthand the face of terrorism on september 11. crash of the airplane in shanks bill, passed -- pennsylvania. secretary rich made a historic contribution to strengthening our national security. as one of our country's leading national security experts, he understands it takes more than the strongest military in the world to prevent the spread of terrorism and protect our nation. he continues to safeguard our nation's securities through his work as a ceo of ridge global and a senior adviser to deloitte. he has been a supporter and champion of smart foreign policy. he is a passionate advocate for using our tools of diplomacy and
the development to keep our world safe. as a trusted adviser to the usglc, tom ridge has been a critical voice around the country and on capitol hill making a case for building a stable and secure world. there is someone who wanted to add a few words to mind tonighe. >> laura and i send our greetings to all those in attendance tonight at the u.s. goal leadership coalition tribute dinner we congratulate tonight honorees and two fine patriots, tom ridge and madeleine albright. tom ridge has dedicated decades of his life to the service of our country including as a decorated army soldier, a united states congressman, and governor of pennsylvania when i established the white house office of homeland security after 9/11, i knew immediately
that tom ridge was the right man for the assignment. he did an outstanding job so i appointed him as the first secretary of homeland security. thanks to his leadership, america is more secure and our government is better prepared to protect our people. i appreciate the u.s. global leadership pause coalition for your commitment to a better, safer world, and i thank you for recognizing such fine americans tonight. congratulations tom. laura and i send our best to you. and michelle. good night and god bless you all. [applause] >> secretary ridge, we salute you for your leadership, your service, and please welcome -- and please join me in welcoming thomas. [applause]
om ridge. [applause] i would like to read the inscription on this. the u.s. global leadership coalition salutes secretary of homeland security, tom ridge, for his vision, his leadership, and unwavering commitment to elevating development and diplomacy and strengthening the u.s. international affairs budget. presented to the hon. tom ridge. [applause] >> thank you very much for that overly generous introduction and thank you for your warm
welcomerobin, thank youghelene, cokie, distinguished guests all. his ambassador green here? he is my friend. i want to shout out to another strong supporter of the global coalition and a wishful thinking packers fan. [laughter] it will only hard for a little while. [laughter] there are a lot of distinguished guests here this evening and people ask me how i felt about the award and i said i am honored. it is particularly in a very personal way an honor for me to be associated with secretary albright. [applause]
this is an individual whose commitment to her country, the experiences that have shaped her, helped shape foreign policy, she is a public servant who has built intellectual and humanitarian and diplomatic bridges to our friends and allies. her wit and wisdom and all those experiences that she has used time and again in america's interest. madam secretary, it is a greater honor working with you to get everybody fired up. we will raise that decibels level. [applause] since we are telling christmas stories, i am grateful for the kind words that president bush said. after 9/11, everyone wanted to do something for their country thay.
the president gave me a job to help out and i am grateful. in the course of that tenure, there was one christmas season when we decided to cancel some flights. instead of going through, i hope you don't mind but we did not go through the state department. we went through the countries directly. time was of the essence. [laughter] the counterpart on the other side said this is a matter of sovereignty. it was rough around the edges. he said we can't tell you that we can stick up. we said you are right but we can tell you week -- you can't land. [laughter] so they cancel the flights. [laughter] the secretary and i have worked together for the past couple of years. we worked together doing global
impact. her candidate won in mind can second. he enjoys keeping president obama on his test. there is mutual respect between president obama and senator mccain. i believe it is a respect that demonstrates that as americans, we don't have to agree on every matter of policy, and every jammed aboard talking point. in america, unity is not required. [applause] we do not have to agree. we do not have to agree on all things to uphold the important things. the kind of things on which we agree to such as the suchtenets of our founding fathers. despite our differences, we all
point to the sameness and beauty of our country to enjoy the blessings of liberty and freedom. what prompted me to join the u.s. global leadership coalition? it is very simple. i believe in your mission. i believe in your message. the message that we must and has the ability of our country to advance the ideals of freedom and democracy around the globe, that the military is but one option available to influence the geopolitical events and about a better and safer world. we have failed to recognize the long-term positive impact of addressing humanitarian and social concerns before political crises occur, before mother nature strikes. our product, america, and the need to embrace our brand, as we promote america, i look at it as a product. we have something real special to sell.
the brand of that product is our value system. i think we can achieve promotion of the product through the use of the wise arsenal of liberty, the smart power of diplomacy, foreign assistance and economic development. nearly 40 years ago, when i served in icor in vietnam, i did not spend a lot of time thinking about these things, i must admit. i was a young infantry staff sgt making my way through the wet flat lands covered in rice paddies near the south china sea. i think back and recall that during that time, every day i saw villagers emerge from small thatched huts with dirt floors, men, women, and children who headed out to those rice paddies and came back at dusk.
it was seven days a week. i could not help but wonder -- what if there were more peace corps volunteers around? what if there were doctors here to help? what if somehow the government was connected to a land grant and agricultural university? what if they had modern farming equipment? what any of that could have done to help them, not just to survive, but to flourish. the images of war in its many forms has stayed with me but watching those villagers bring dignity to a threadbare existence amid the very vulnerable landscape of war is an image that all these years later makes me think that america's place in the world, our leadership, and our global engagement. we know the world is becoming more interdependent, more opportunities and more risks.
we know the security and prosperity of the global community is forever inextricably linked which means we are more and more vulnerable to pandemic, terrorism, just about everything we used to think we were immune from or isolated from in the 19th or 20th centuries. all the more reason for us to be more engaged in bringing stability to broken regions of the world in addressing human needs. in america, we would not have any other way, would we? we take up are charged with enthusiasm. i believe that we know we are all called to serve as long as we call ourselves free. we know that there is no place for neutrality in times of moral crisis. when the tsunami roared and the earthquake devastated, we reached out with a hand of compassion. we were the first in.
no matter where disaster strikes, we usually are. we do so by manifesting the tools of smart power to try to help those affected by those natural disasters, save lives, we do so because of our national and individual charitable and philanthropic impulses no better represented by the man who joins us tonight, bill gates. [applause] despite our differences, we will cling together in our sameness and protect and nurture those in our global family. some of you may recall the moment from "charlie wilson's war." i served with him but had no time in the hot tub. [laughter] out -- you cane figure that out for yourself.
after charlie convinces the intelligence committee and the president and others for hundreds of millions of dollars to support the mujahedin, the russians vacate and the tanks go across the bridge. in the next scene, we see him talking to the same group that had spent the money on military aid. he says," now i need a few million dollars to start building roads and schools." they looked at him and said what are you now? a congressman from kabul? the easiest way to undermine that is to say that we have so many problems in america, how can we afford to spend as much money overseas? it is real money. that is true. at the end of the day, we should look for our military leaders who say you should not use diplomacy and developmental assistance and foreign aid in a default position.
we should be very progressive in pushing it out so it has as much and greater impact as military effort. [applause] it is far less expansive than sending our greatest treasure and that is the men and women in uniform. [applause] i think the challenge for all of us -- all of us in this room during these tough economic times when tough decisions have to be made, we have to convince the men and women up on the hill that we will advance our interests around the globe and we need a strong military but we cannot rely simply on a military strategy. we need smart power. it makes is mindful that if you bring in a clean water system, a sanitation system, vaccinations, school, technology, if you reach out to address real human
needs, certain parts of the world, it will make the ideology of extremist less attractive to those people. it does, and we should expect that the democratic institutions will end up looking like ours. there's a good chance they won't. we need to build friendship and allies in many different forms. i believe in everyone's heart around the world, if you have an opportunity to live your own heart, choose your own leaders, and the sole determining verses repressed and oppressed and despite cultural, political, and religious differences, you end up having a belief like ours, i believe that will enable us to cling together in our sameness, a belief that the freedom to be free, to determine one's own future and one's own fate.
we saw that notion play out and unfold in of the cold war. the emergence of a new eastern european democracies. we saw it play out with the iranian people took their pleas to the western world. we see it playing out as egypt tries to reconcile its history with a strong presence and transition to a very different and presently unknown future. none of the above is fully resolved yet. as abraham lincoln once told us, revolutions do not go backwards. as i did in vietnam, i do the same with you the audience tonight. i cannot help but wonder what a difference the tools of empowerment can make, what a difference the lives and symbols of liberty can make. what a difference we can make, we who despite our differences still cherish our sameness. my hope is that we will continue
to uphold these shared missions with the u.s. global leadership coalition with every effort to advance a safer and better world. thank you for this honor, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for the honor you bring to america through the good and important work that you do every single day. thank you very much. [applause] >> don't get settled, mr. secretary. if we can get both our honorees and are cochairs up here, we want to give one last round of applause and get some nice pictures and you can have your dinner. [applause]
on c-span. the story we have been falling -- earlier today,, california congresswoman jane harman will announce tomorrow that she is resigning from congress. she has represented southern california's 36 district since 2003 she will replace former indiana congressman lee hamilton as the director of the woodrow wilson center in washington. there will be a special election to fill her seat. the white house briefing is coming up shortly and until then, a discussion on democratic goals for spending. this morning's "washington journal." journal" continues. host: derek thompson, blogger and staff writer ed "the atlantic" this morning, thank you. you have a piece and you call yourself a progressive deficit hawk. there is a good reason to be
lonely and depressed. because some progressives think the term deficit hawk is pejorative and deficit hawks believe progressives aren't serious. because i have twice the cause to feel exacerbated by washington's budget policy. what is a progressive deficit hawk? guest: is to say i want higher deficits now and lower deficits later. i would like to see more willingness and washington to be more creative about creating a sort of high impact spending proposals, tax deals like the payroll tax cut, that really help americans build back the amount of money they lost and help states to repair their budgets as well. but in the future, the next 10 or 20 years, we need to give very serious about changing the way we tax and spend. i think these things need to be thought on and considered. in the short term, the most important thing we need to do is add the deficit we need to get
the economy back on track and when the economy is back on track we need to think about bancing the way we bring the money and spending. host: why progressive? why not just call yourself a deficit hawk? guest: a lot of progressives think deficit hawks want to cut social security, spending that she intends to help lower income and middle income families and that is not at all what i want to do. in the short term what i would like to see is a more progressive tax code that probably returns more money to lower income and middle income families. but when you look over the next 10, 20, 30 years, you see that the way we spend money, especially on entitlements like social secury and medicare, it is not practical and it is not sustainable. so, it is likely that as the economy gets back on track we mayave to tax the middle income people and a bit more, change social security so upper income families get a little bit less in terms of pension and also change in medicare so that we are not spending on fee-for- service.
that we are changing the way we help people get care. host: when you tell people you are a progressive deficit hawk, do you say that is something i have heard before, do they sort of marble about the two things? how is it received? guest: it is interesting. i think one of the frustrating things isften there are a lot of liberals who i think are very smart, but when they hear arguments about cutting social security or arguments about our 30-year deficit projections, they immediately think that is an argument to cut spending now. i just wanted to be very clear, when i call myself a progresse deficit hawk, i don't want to cut spending now. i see these of two totally different time horizons. the first-time verizon, we need to get the economy back on ack. that requires really high deficits now because the private sector is very weak. in the long term i do think we need to be very aggressive. say many liberal
economist talk about the best places to cut the fest -- domestic spending -- maybe they should be big cost -- for the selfless -- so the reason that it may clear the way for their spending ideas. where could cuts be made, in your opinion? guest: it is tough right now because washington has limited his ability to cut spending. most people are looking at non- should purity defense spending. leading the entitlements of the cutting board. no social security, medicare cuts. what they are looking at is 20% of the budget, most of which does not have to do with defense. there are cut you could make especially over a five or 10- year timeframe if you simply freeze spending. there are more sgical cut you can make to agricultural subsidies. there are certainly within the
$700 billion, there are surgical cut you can make to programs that are duplicates to programs but a wistful or just are not high impact. there are things -- ys, like infrastructure bank or spending on community colleges -- that is high in back spending. if you are a liberal saying what is a serious way that we c shift money from a low impact to high impact, you need to be willing to say, look, we need to make deals with republicans, meaning it has to be deficit neutra and it means we have to accept cuts to programs that may be somewhat popular. host: ricardo, independent caller from silver spring, maryland. caller: how are you doing? host: you are on with dek thompson. caller: my comment is, i believe we are trying to hold onto a system that is just not working. the monetary-based economy -- the problems we have been in over the years. i am an advocate of resource-
based economy. as i look through the news and i see what is going on with the debt crisis all over the world and the war, all of the issues, because of the monetary system. what we are working with now. that is what i want to s. i got that from a video gotyoutube called "zeitgeist: moving forwa" and it explains the monetary system. it gives us a better option than i think the republicans and democrats and politicians can give us right now. guest: when people talk about their resource-based economy, they are often talking about the export-based. making things and the u.s. and selling them abroad for money and it brings in financing. if we want to be an expor
focused economy i think there are some really cheap ways that don't even involve much additional spending. for instance, export control laws, by some estimates, keep up to $60 billion out of the export economy because we are essentially saying certain things meet in the u.s. cannot be sold abroad because they violate some defense roles. we can change that. weaken liberalize of those laws. if we do and we make other pragmatic changes to export system, we can help people make things in the u.s. and sell abroad. host: john, democratic caller from virginia. caller: my comment is that, you know, since lbj, this country -- of food stamps for people who cannot make enough money to be their family but they will work a minimum wage job. that is a subsidization right there -- small businesses.
pllus -- plus, if the republicans could, they would cut the programs that would hurt small businesses. that is my comment. bye. guest: it is actually true that the government spends a lot of money on helping low income families and food stamps is one way, unemployment benefits is another. it is not entirely fair to say republicans want to cut the programs. they want to see additional spending on these low income support and entitlement programs to be offset by other spending. i don't agree with that. again, i am more liberal. but i also think if we are going to work with republicans -- and it is important to think about new spending initiatives through how we can actually pass it through congress, and the way to do that is to make than deficit neutral and the way to make and deficit neutral is to find places to cut. host: our guest, derek thompson, is a blogber and staff writer ed
"the atlantic." he calls himself a progressive defici hawk. i want to ask you what house republicans to do it, proposing a $32 billion cut in the budget. have you been able to look at this and grapple with what it could actually mean? guest: right -- look, once again, what we are looking to cut spending is a small sliver called non-security discretionary spending. if you look at 20 or 30 year projections -- as a portion of the entire budget, it is actually expected to fall. what is expected to grow is soci security, and more than anything, medicare and medicaid bed long-term crisis is the heth-care crisis. if we don't get control of health-care spending there is really nothing we can do in the long term just by cutting non- security discretionary. i do, however, think that ov the next five years it is important to slow the growth of the programs where we can actually slow the growth. i think steps like this are
probably useful. but i prefer not to see deficit reduction for the purpose of deficit reduction this year. i think it is more important to have actually hired deficits of this year. in that case i don't think the house of going in the right direction. but i also think -- to work with republicans to say, we will meet you halfway, we will allow some of the cuts to go forward, but in exchange we also want some of our initiatives to go forward. additional funding for community colleges or the establishment of an infrastructure bank that starts to make a downpayment on now what is a $2 trillion deficit in terms of infrastructure capability. host: a piece in "the washington post" about the proposed cuts. domestic agencies, however, would absorb a steep hit.
a house appropriations committee chairman harold rogers, republican of kentucky in charge of drafting the spending measure, said thursday the cuts would most heavily fall on transportation and housing programs, agriculture and the food and drug administration, mmerce, science programs, and financial-services. labor, health, and education programs would face much smaller reductions, as would state and foreign operations. how do you think this jibes with the president's agenda he laid out in the state of the union trying to foster innovation and work toward edution goals? guest: when house republicans want to make more defense -- more cuts to defense, not like to ask, why? there is waste in non-defense spending. it seems to take possible there
is -- it seems there is waste in both. we need to think about what the innovation is. it seems to me like we're near consensus. more education results in more employment and higher wages. how did you get more people to go to college when student loan has eclipsed crit card debt? we know that the benefits of a college education are growing. the cost of a college education are growing even faster. the president thinks -- needs to think about the reason kids go to college. host: john in pennsylvania, good
morning. caller: good morning. thank you for c-span. i would like to make some comments. i do think what your guest says is essential to cut spending. the lack of revenue and the job situation is a disaster. if you count the people who have given up as well as people that are working part-time, as we are at 22% unemployment or so. there e a few easy ways to cut unemployment. it seems the elite refused to discuss sit. we're given 1 million green cards a year. 1 million foreigners, immigrants work whicthey will take advantage of. they are not entitled to benefits.
and most of these people -- these are not high-skilled people. 85% of these people are family reunification is. the average immigrant has a lower level of education. we're talking about people that are probably high school dropouts. they are not contributing significantly. they are not generating revenue. 22% unemployment. many long-term unemployed people who were in the workforce are now out of the work force. 8 million illegal immigrants are working. a simple thing like -- it requires the employer to give a security card to a number to the fed's and they see if it is
legitimate or not. we do not need the kgb going around with vans to pick the people up. guest: i disagree with the call. i don't think immigration has to do with 9% or 10% unemployment. you referred to the broader unemployment rate. rainout it is closer to 16%. -- it is closer to 16%. trying to maintain a high- skilled immigrants who go to school at brown and the university of michigan. they come up for the visas and it is a race, a small pool of those that can stay here. if you say we will spend this
money and these resources and educated the smartest people of the world, we should try to keep them here so we're not sending our resources back to the far corners of the earth. i think more people should stay here so they can start of the companies that will contribute to innovation. i spokto someone in solar cell technology, which started by an immigrant who started this lab at georgia tech. he was educated and drawn tthe united states. he is not a part of the u.s. energy sector. these are the kinds of stories we want to hear more of. people starting companies here. then you consult the ideas they have with americans to other parts of the world. host: derek thompson is an
associate editor with "the atlantic." we have been talking about a piece he had in "the washington post" recently. we have an e-mail. guest: well, technically, that is completely true. all we have to do is raise taxes significantly on the rich and then cut defense. it is easy when you put it in that one, two, three. the problem is getting it through the house. raising taxes on the rich is a no-no in one part of the united states. cutting defense is popular with
permit no one on the right. it is true that talking about producing the budget deficit is easy. doing it is tough. we might be able to say it is 81 best two, three strategy. -- we might be able to say it three twthreea one, two, strategy. thats what the president said the commission tried to do, to cut every single part of spending a little and raise taxes across the board. host: a library response to the president's commission -- elaborate your response.
do you think they have realistic goals? guest: right. i think the deficit commission did a great job. what they came up with is a center and center-right plan. progresses work frustrated with it. i would like to see it the margin closer to one to one. they raised taxes significantly on the top 1%. they made some responsible changes the way in they spend on discretionary spending and social security. i think it was a fair deal. one of the indications was that a liberal, dick durbin and a conservative, both voted on this bill. it bridged a damper that we thought was unbridgeable predict
bridged a gap ga-- it that we thought was unbridgeable. we hope something like this will eventually get past. host: the president declined to endorse a of the fiscal commission's proposals court if he does not sign onto this, do you think an alternative will surface, or is this a dead in the water? about le's talk politics. this is one of those jam tomorrow issues. the deficit to more is always the right day. -- the deficit tomorrow is always the right day. it is going to pay less money
and tax people more of their money and make spending anges. i would like to see them get be highness. main parts of the proam, parts of the deficit plan, but i'm not optimistic. in houston,ld texas. caller: we are celebrating the eisenhower anniversary. there should be -- cuts should be in the budget. is an hour talk about that. lockheedartiand all those people in big lobbies. he cut the military budget. if democrats would be strong enough to do that, you would be able to take care of this budget.
the e-check should be a thing we're trying to push in our state legislation. we have unemployed people going to prison. if you had e-verified, the jobs would be plentiful. bottom lineion's is strong when the use illegal immigrants. that is my comment for this morning. guest: we have to cut defense. i think the caller is right. i think one thing that is often overlooked is that defense spending has fallen dramatically as a percentage. we are even in the war of terror. we're seeing a share of spending going to defense that is lower than a wasn't 1980.
i think it is important to realize this is a place that has to be caught. it is not so essential to our deficit concerns. what is growing is spending on education, health, and not social security. it is helping where we see the unsustainable trend. it is important to cut defense and to put everything on the table. health care is the real drive. host: boston, welcome. caller: i wanted to remind everybody that social security is a pay-as-you-go program. it does not affect the deficit went is run properly. full benefits will be paid out until 2037. if no fix is done before that, even after 2037, it is going to
pay out 76% of benefits if nothing is done. y are we talking about cutting this social security insurance program that ever went has been paying into? i am not sure. it seemed like bernie sanders is on the money 20 says let's increase the social security tax for the progressive way for turner's above the limit to three that would solve the problem. i believe him. guest: i do not know extending the capp will solve the problem. first, you are taxing wages up to $100,000. and then a situation where you are taxing significantly everybody's wages up to a $1 million. this is a remarkable change to
the social security system. it will charge the wealthy quite significantly. most changes talk about try to balance both ways. the caller is right. in 2037, you will see the trust fund run out and social security 3/4 ofe able to pay out threefor benefits. these people are relying on the system to work and nearly 100% capacity. if we start now and make small changes -- raise the cap and maybe raise the tax rate a little, make the where we pay benefits more progressive -- we can phase these changes in
slowly. make most of the cuts the top 50%. their solution is more palatable to the middle class of the future then i think the strategy of sit back and wait. host: as numbers are crunched, there's been quite a bit of attention on the new york. put it this piece from -- look at this piece from "the new york daily news." is beingmomo
liberal. he was called the liberals liberal. what does this mn? guest: the tough thing is cities and states do not have the option. the option is to cut the deficit. the united states, we are borrowing near historically low rates. money is surprisingly eas. international investors are willing to lend it to us. they believe we will pay them back and the country will continue to grow for the next five years. so what stories like to say is that states don't have an option not to raiseaxes or cut spending. the federal government should be saying, this ithe time to run a deficit so that we can give families and states the kind of
>> the president said as he was walking back that egypt is making progress. can you elaborate on the thinking? where is the progress? >> what the president was referring to is that as you heard him say on friday that we have the beginnings of a process that is taking place, a process that we know how to include a series of steps that have to be taken and a series of things that have to be negotiated with a broad section of the opposition parties in order to move us toward a free and fair
election. i think that, you know, we will -- meaning the world, and most important, the egyptian people will evaluate in terms of the steps that are being taken in terms of the words that are spoken about meaningful change and will result in some concrete actions. i think words are not enough. it is actions toward a meaningful change that the egyptian people are most looking for. the crux the president s -- >> the president has it stands today is optimistic? >> i think what you just said is very important. this thing does change very quickly hour by hour. understand, if you take a half a
step back, what we have seen over the course of 10 to 14 days -- and you have heard me describe it. you have seen some monumental changes in egypt. our leaders say he is not going to be running for reelection leaders say his son will not be running. the tasking of the vice- president to be a process to result in a free and fair election, and many other points along the way. i think that is important again, the most important thing is that there has to be a process toward meaningful change. we have to see, again, the government opposite with a broad cross-section of society -- the government to sit with a broad cross-section of society.
and when i say cross-section, i need people that are not in government, to get us toward the free and fair elections that we know ultimately will be the result. >> it wasn't entirely clear from the president's comments yesterday about the muslim brotherhood, whether in that broad spectrum you were talking about being comfortable with that group taking part in the conversation and whether or not he sanctions them. >> well, those that will be involved in the discussions about what happens next in egypt, as we have said throughout many occasions will not be determined by if you look at what has happened over the last 10 or 14 days, the notion of what you have seen as one political faction or set of beliefs is not at all the case.
there are a whole host of the elements throughout egyptian society not represented in its current government seeking the rights we have enumerated in thatthat they have sought t \, want to be part of this discussion. we strongly support democracy in egypt. democracy is not one group hijacking a process of they can take power from another group that they did not think fairly represented their views and their rights. that is not democracy. democracy has to be a broad section of people that are represented in what would be a free and fair election. and i think it is very important to restate that we will be a
partner to a government that does exactly what i described in we would expect that partner with a pulled -- would uphold the treaties and obligations that the government of egypt and ultimately the people of egypt have entered into. [laughter] >> i am asking about the muslim brotherhood. the president acknowledged that there is an anti-american strain to some of their thinking. the american people might look at that and wonder where the president's stance. >> again, who is involved in the larger process is up to the egyptians to determine. understanding that it would be horribly inaccurate to say that there are two factions in egypt, one is the muslim brotherhood
and one is the government of egypt. that is clearly not the case. that clearly was not the case and what we have seen transpire on the streets. as the president said, the anti- american rhetoric and the rhetoric that goes counter to the regional peace and stability i spoke of is not something that is supported by the united states. >> let me ask about the the chamber. the president said in his speech to ask the chair what they can do to hire american workers. why did he think he would need to say that to them? aren't there already doing that? >> it is clear we are coming out of a period that we have not seen in our country's history and probably the last 80 or 90
years. the economic collapse that we saw the jobs that were lost as a result of its -- what the president wants to see and have a continued discussion on our ways that we can foster ideas for innovation and building and education that continue to give business confidence in the strengthening of our economy. that is how they will make decisions. we want to do what we can to help them make decisions to hire folks here in this country because they feel like the economy is getting stronger and coming back. >> what is the u.s. assessment of how bad the protests in egypt are hurting? >> without getting into the
assessments that we may discuss in private, you can see there is a lot of reporting about concern about food and fuel prices inside egypt. as we talked about last week, we were concerned and there have been several meetings on how we can help get commodities that are either close or at the edge of entryways or imports into the cities where they are needed most. obviously, we are concerned about capital that might leave. we continue to monitor to see whether -- what impact all of these actions might ultimately have on the global economic
recovery. i had a long discussion about this. we did not see impediments in the suez and things like that that would result in big fluctuations. >> so the assessment on the global economy is not a concern so far? >> we continue to monitor important things like the suez. egypt is not an oil exporter. needless to say, this is something that whenever you have a crisis in a country with the magnitude of this, the impact on the global economy is watched quite closely. >> while you're looking at your policy with egypt against the
protesters, what else are you looking at? >> we have had discussions about ways to assess the movement of goods and services, commodities throughout the country. the president has discussed, in many of his conversations with other world leaders about the situation. it is not just with the united states but what other countries can do that are closer in the region to help the process of business and commerce. you have banks that are opening up again and such. >> many people saw the chamber of commerce and were hoping the president would outline a specific way forward for the panama and colombia trade. why did he not do that? >> the patient is all i would
say. -- be patient is all i would say. we picked up an agreement with south korea that had not made any progress. we spent a lot of time working on that agreement to insure that all the stakeholders felt it represented the best interests of this country. we walked away from what would have been a nice pr hit in seoul because we did not think the agreement would do anything for us only to come back and get an agreement we thought was even better. that got stakeholders' from the left and right, letters and conservatives, business and labour, to support the agreement we did come up with. the president believes that as a model for moving forward on other trade pacts like colombia
and panama. as for that, i would stay tune to them what is there a timetable? >> we would like to move forward. those are discussions that are beginning. >> suggestions were solicited from industry about job growth. are there any regulations that the president feels can be changed immediately or in the short term? as the white house reviewed these regulations that industry ask be lifted? >> i don't know if there is an update from a couple of weeks ago. the president mentioned it again today. there is a review process that goes through and look set out
dated or unnecessary regulations. at the same time, we have to balance that with sensible standards to ensure safe and clean drinking water and safe and clean -- and the safety and cleanliness of the air we breathe in order to create some sensible standards to protect our families. let me see if there is an update on what the president wrote about her. >> a couple of weeks ago, the president has been confronting mubarak directly and human rights. can you elaborate on how confrontational the president has been with mubarak? >> let me get some guidance on that. this is a topic on human
rights, on democracy, on freedom of assembly that the president has had on a number of occasions with president mubarak. it is brought up in virtually every bilateral meeting that i am aware that our country has had at any level with the egyptian government. you saw a pretty clear statement about elections that were held last year and a split -- in a pretty clear statement in opposition to their decision to continue emergency law. one thing that has to be looked at in the process of negotiations going forward now. would everw that i get into breeding out with specificity the tone but i can
assure you that as those readouts have said, we've been clear with president mubarak and the egyptians about what we needed to have happened. that is true not only of this administration but many of these arguments have been made by other administrations. >> brain up with words is one thing. since the crisis began, you daggled prospects depending how the government deals with this crisis. that is an action. , to threaten to withhold aid if certain things were not done.
>> let me check with nsc whether we were involved with that. >> is president mubarak president in name only? it seems like the president -- the u.s. is behind the vice president as leading the transition process that of the vice president has been tapped by the president to lead this transition process. this is about a process for this is not about a series of personalities. this is about insuring that we have meaningful actions for negotiations between the government and the opposition that lead us to free and fair elections. as i said earlier, stepping back and understanding that we have a vice president for the first time in almost three decades of president mubarak's leadership in egypt.
he tasked the vice president with this prospect of working through these changes. it was clear yesterday that egypt has let the world know they will not go back. our policy is obviously to move egypt forward. >> how does the white house of view him? his mubarak still the leader of egypt? is either go to person for the administration or are you dealing with the vice- presidential? >> i have not been apprised of any leadership changes in egypt. president mubarak resigned saturday his leadership position in party politics. we have conversations with a
whole host of players throughout the egyptian government. it is important that the leadership of egypt is not going to be determined by us. it will be determined by the egyptian people. what the egyptian people want to see most is a meaningful process that brings about these changes. they will be the judge of whether this process is moving at a pace that is required. we want to see that process move forward. you heard the president say on friday that the transition has to begin. >> you keep insisting this is something for the egyptian people to figure out with the
white house be comfortable with the muslim brotherhood playing a signal to enroll? >> we have a significant disagreements. we have not been in contact with the muslim brotherhood. the united states does not pick leaders of other countries. >> would you be comfortable as they took on a leadership role? >> in other countries and the world, we have said that becoming part of -- you have responsibilities if you become part of the government. they need to adhere to rule all law and the constitution and to adhere to non-violence. obviously, we had many disagreements with the rhetoric of some of the leaders in that organization. >> any reaction to the remarks
sarah palin made about israel? >> i read that after several times and i still don't really know what she said. >> do you have anything on the reports over the weekend and more today about mubarak's possibly going to germany? >> none that i am aware of. i have nothing to report on that. >> was the -- what is the president doing in terms of calls? >> i don't the -- i don't believe the president has made any calls today. tommy read out the latest calls from over the weekend. there was a fairly standard meeting this morning at the deputy committee and this was a huge chunk of the daily briefing that the president got this
morning. >> what is the role of soleiman ? >> he is the individual tasked with the government's part of the process of meaningful change. the change that ultimately leads to a recognition of rights, her announcement of the emergency law and the emergence of free and fair elections. this is about a process. this is not about a personality. it is important that the people see progress toward that meaningful change just as it is important that those in the opposition take part in this process.
they need to put forward what they want to see come out of this. that is so there is a meaningful discussion and meaningful negotiations about what egypt will look like going forward. the president said is clear that egypt is not going back to what it once was. >> on the interview yesterday, did the president have any feelings afterwards? >> he was eager to watch the game. >> what did you think about it? >> i was also eager to watch the game varianme. >> as the white house received a list of which leaders have met with the government? >> we get some information on who is involved in the process. this is not for us to determine who or should not be involved in
that process for. for it to be legitimate, it has to include a broad section of those who are in egyptian society, in the egyptian civil society and not involved in the government. this is a process that will be bumpy at times because for 28 years, you have had one leader without a series -- without a robust opposition. it will take some time to work of this stuff out. it is important that the process has to begin now. the process has to move forward. the people of egypt will know whether that process is moving forward at the pace they needed to move forward and whether or not the concerns that have brought them to the square are
being addressed. that is what the world is watching. >> to feel like you have an accurate way of assessing what the average egyptian believes? there are certain people anti- government take to the streets. some people perhaps on the government payroll on the other side of the street. what is the average egyptian going about his or her day, do you feel like a way of assessing how they are thinking? >> one thing that the embassy is taslked with and does well in egypt is to have conversations with a broad cross-section of people in egypt. this is not just people who are focused on government. there is business, there is cultural, there's a whole cross- section of people that are important for us to communicate
with. those are done fairly routinely out of the embassies that we have around the world and i take our ambassador is doing a great job. >> on efforts to lower the wealthy tax rate, how far along in the process are you guys at this point? is everything still on the table? you want to be a deficit neutral, right? >> this is important that this has to be an open process, that those involved in the system take part. as a result of some meetings we had at blair house, use of
discussions that secretary gunnar and other have had. i think we are in the midst of this prices and hearing from stakeholders' about their ideas. >> what is our policy toward egypt right now? >> our policy toward egypt is we watch and we are strongly encouraging, the process, of meaningful change transpiring and resulting in a more open, transparent society, a more responsive government, one that united states can continue to partner with, one that results in free and fair elections and one that is democratically elected. >> not as good as an ally as
they have been? is that a policy failure? makeson't think that sense to get into electoral hypothetical. our focus is two-fold. one is to continue to speak out against the violence. i think we will see more and more of this. you all are more aware of this because the sword or colleagues: because these were your colleagues and were coming back injured. violence cannot be the response from this government to the cares and concerns of its people. our energy right now is focused on doing what we can to encourage this process of
change. it will be bumpy. it is going to be determined by the egyptians. >> is mubarak himself becoming increasingly isolated? >> i don't have any big for you on that. >> you said it difficult to live late -- you said definitively there is no contact with the muslim brotherhood. we reached out to everybody last week except the muslim brotherhood's? >> i was describing some of what i talked of earlier which is that we have fairly regular and robust discussions with many different people in egypt.
i talked about this. >> you would not rule that out? >> there is a responsibility for those who want to have responsibility in governing, that they have to do several things. democracy is a commitment to something larger than themselves. >> did the president call last night after the super bowl? >> i don't think he has called yet. i think they will call some folks this afternoon. as a packer fan, i am sure you are curious. ambassador rooney is a good friend. it was a good game .
the president one of the chicago bears in the super bowl. if you don't have that, he wanted a good game. >> there was the release of 150 documents in england showing that the labor government may have developed a policy behind the scenes to do all they could to insure the release of the ber.erbie bomb marbury and >> our policy was very clear. we did not think in any way, shape, or form that his release was in anybody's interest. we continue to believe that. >> a week from today, the president will release his budget. many of us think he has gone through things like cutting farm subsidies.
>> does that have to do with ag budget in one week? >> is there any of rates that would go on before the budget release to members of congress, especially new members of congress, to make sure that some of these proposals actually have liked to them? >> we can check and see if there was anything. the budget gets -- the process of putting together the budget starts and has been going on for many, many months. if obviously, the introduction of the president paused budget as you saw in the opposite and the president discussed this
will contain some very significant and some very tough decisions. significant cuts and difficult decisions resulting in the five- year non-security discretionary freeze about $400 billion in cuts. that will result in our government spending the smallest share as a percentage of gdp going back to the eisenhower administration. we have made some significant cuts and this will be an ongoing process and ongoing discussion that will be had over the course of many months. the president is anxious to hear from democrats and republicans. we understand we have to make serious changes in our fiscal policy is going forward. >> should we be looking for a five-year freeze? >> i appreciate how everybody
puts out ideas and they are cast aside. a $400,000,000,000.90-year idea that takes us to the smallest amount of government spending as a percentage of gdp since dwight d. eisenhower was roaming these halls. i think just to throw that off as do we already know what is in it -- you will get more specifics, but obviously, that is the top line of what you are going to see. >> an example of the interest in the game last night? >> i think a good time was had by all, unless you were a steelers fan. >> the the white house sent an invitation from the chamber to address that today? >> i did not know the exact process. i think they invited us, but i will double check on that. >> on egypt, does president
obama see any merit in what was said over the weekend? >> to be clear, as i think many of us told you, the former ambassador is not an employee of the government. he was based on his broad experience in egypt asked by the state department, and i would direct you to the state department on the specifics of anything regarding him, to travel to cairo and have a specific conversation with president mubarak. he did and reported that back to us, but his views on who should or should not be the head of egypt do not represent the views of our administration. the views of our administration are that those are decisions that will be made by egyptians. >> can i follow up? were you aware that [inaudible] >> again, i would direct you to my friends at the state department who brought this
recommendation to us. >> can i follow on that also? >> i do not know that i'm going to add much to the fact that you should talk to our friends at the state department. >> there has been a considerable criticism of the obama administration and the president for sending him, in light of the business interests in each of, and i'm wondering -- let me ask the question, and then you can say you are not going to answer it. >> i just short name it. it is my understanding that the state department selected him based on his experience with egyptian policy. again, the specifics of what you were just -- what you just said or what you were just about to say, i would reiterate for the third time, that there are many
good people over at the state farm that have many good answers. >> my question is in the future, do you think you might consider these interests more seriously before sending such an envoy? >> you can call the state department. >> [inaudible] >> i think there is a counterpart to counterpart, vice president to vice president call relationship. >> calls from president obama -- [inaudible] decision to leave? >> not that i'm aware of. i think some people may have known that she was interested in that position, but i do not know that -- i can check and see if there's anything on that.
>> the question on the chamber -- i think he is talking about the $400 billion. that is net after he has made the investment that he wants to make? >> there is -- we all understand we have to cut spending, and as you freeze the level of spending over the course of five years at a certain level, you are still spending x amount of money. inside of that, you can cut some and add to others, but the baseline is the freeze. >> in terms of cutting to others, he said he is going to make room for the new investments he wants and they are all going to be paid for. will the budget on monday to explain how much these are going to cost and how he will pay for them? >> the details of next year's budget will be released next week. >> he has not given any indication of how much it is going to cost?
that is all going to be revealed? ok, my question about egypt is when he talked this week and about how they should not just the two factions or we should not look at it s toledo factions, how much influence does the united states or the president feel he has to encourage the fourth or fifth options? >> i think we have and we continue to reiterate that the process must include a broad cross-section of those in egyptian society and representing the viewpoints of that group of people, and it is clear that as we watch what transpired over the course of many days that this was not a
series of protests organized by one group. they were the cares and concerns of a lot of different people in egypt, and democracy, which we are supportive of in egypt, has to include that broad cross- section. there is not just two factions in egypt. >> [inaudible] >> you just proved my point. >> but the other thing you said earlier, we expect them to uphold the treaties and obligations, you feel that whoever, whatever the next government of egypt a should be bound by the elements? >> just as we are to democracies throughout the world. you want to try it one more time? >> [laughter] >> [inaudible]
the vice-president has been remarks on egyptian television that egypt is not ready for democracy and that the process is fuelled by outsiders. the question is -- has the administration spoken to him about these statements, challenged him to explain them in anyway? >> i do not know that there has been any contact with the vice- president today. again, i do not need anybody to call the vice president of egypt to know that our government and many past administrations have believed strongly that the emergency law needed to be lifted. it is quite clear that what we have had in egypt for three decades is not what we are going to have in egypt moving forward, so the notion that egypt is not ready for democracy i think runs quite counter to what we see happening on the streets of
cities throughout the country of egypt. it is incumbent upon the government to play a meaningful role and to encourage a meaningful process. it is clear that statements like that are not going to be met with any agreement by the people of egypt because they do not address the very legitimate grievances that we have seen expressed as a result of these protests. >> you have said a couple of times the -- do you think that a lot of the demonstrators are making the point that it is personality? that whatever process begins cannot be legitimate with
mubarak still in power and pulling strings? >> again, i think, quite frankly, we want to see this process move forward. we understand that there are a whole host of things that those that seek recognition of human rights, legitimate rights want to see. we have heard the government and the people discuss constitutional changes that they need or would like to see before we get a free and fair elections and that are important, but i think it is important that we cannot see meaningful progress it one side is where the vice president's remarks are today and the others we are not going to do anything until everything changes. the process has to be dynamic, and we have to see the government take part in a
meaningful way and outlined a series of steps and a timeline that the egyptian people are comfortable with, and we have to see those that are not involved in government put forward a set and a series of ideas of what they would like to see so that negotiations can take place and we can move forward. i do not think it is in anybody's interests to have to we will size be so far apart and the process be stopped -- that we have two sides be so far apart and the process be stopped. the leaders -- who picked the leaders of egypt? that is going to be determined by the egyptians. we are not saying -- i want to be clear. this government does not come down on the side of one way or the other who those leaders are. that is a process for the
egyptians. >> but the different personalities, the process involved -- are you not taking sides against many of them who say the process needs to begin with mubarak leaving? >> no, i think of is pretty clear about what the government just said as being unacceptable as well. i guess the point i'm trying to make is that if one side says we're not going to change and all that one side says we are not going to do anything until everything changes, you are going to simply have a very static situation, and i think what is important is we have to have and see meaningful progress, and both sides have to be involved. >> [inaudible] what about the sabotage -- >> we are monitoring economic
impact. i think we have not seen impact in particular. >> [inaudible] >> again, i think we continue to monitor and get updates on that. >> i think he said that president obama had moved on -- >> president obama is still very much involved. [inaudible] i'm sorry. no. >> i think he said president mubarak [inaudible] guest: of the ruling party -- >> of the ruling party, which i think was announced on saturday. i think he resigned that on saturday. >> what does the president think of the reception of the chamber of commerce speech? >> i did not speak with him directly about it. >> a lot of applause lines in there, and they sat on their
hands. there was total silence when he talked about regulation, moderate applause when he said go anywhere in the world and talk about exploiting u.s. goods. does he think he got his message across? >> the president did not go there so that everyone would clap when he came in the room. i think he went there -- you go and deliver these speeches because, as the president said at the very beginning, we have a lot of work we have to do together, and the only way we're going to make progress is if we work together on a whole host of issues in a very challenging, global economy. i think the president is clear that we are not going to agree on everything. we have seen some of that transpire over the past two years, but as the president has said, we are not looking to re- fight the battles of the last two years. we have significant challenges
that continued to lay ahead of us, and the only way we are going to make progress is to tackle those challenges together. let's take the president's infrastructure proposal as a way of our building our worldwide competition. to watch that endorsed by the head of the chamber and the head of the aflcio is exactly the type of bringing people together that a thing the president believes has to happen in order for us to break out of the boxes of washington and make some real progress. the lead to a boil questions on the health care ruling, the most recent health care ruling. does the administration believe that the penalty for not carrying insurance -- is that considered justified by the general weld proposal? >> i think we have covered this in many past briefings, and i think i have covered this.
>> judge vincent said that it is not cesses area because longstanding presumption is that the official -- because longstanding presumption is that it adheres to the law of the court. in this case, is the administration adhering to the law? >> there are many courts that have heard many cases on this. 12 have dismissed the case. today well have -- more than 12, i'm sure, have dismissed by this case. two have ruled in our favor. today we will have ruled against us. implementation of the health care bill rightly continues to move forward, as is the law of the land. >> it did not speak so much to the totality of the law. >> the rule was on its
constitutionality. i would point to you, even places -- you saw just late last week, the state of wisconsin, despite the attorney general pose a participation -- the attorney general's participation in the lawsuit, the state of wisconsin announced that implementation moves forward, and i would point out that one of the state houses in the commonwealth of virginia passed by a vote, i think, of 95-3 to begin setting up health care exchanges. i think that is pretty clear indication the the implementation of this important law moving forward. >> can i follow quickly on that? did the administration get in touch with any of the republican governors questioning whether [inaudible] in particular, should they or
should they not continue as planned? >> we have a meeting with the governors association later this month, but our policy has been and continues to be that implementation moves forward. >> another question about the chamber seat. the president said that retirement spending is dragging on the deficit, and i'm wondering, -- i know you guys had mentioned social security, but is this something that the president wants to address a deal with the long-term deficit? >> i would say, i think as the president mentioned in the state of the union, that unless we deal with all of our budget, there is not enough -- we do not spend enough in discretionary spending to solve the problem, right? hold on.
hold on. you are just awfully excited today. unless or until we deal with -- and, look, i think the steps that the president took in health care clearly have an impact on the long-term deficit. that is why the cbo said revealing health care would cost more than $2 billion over the next 10 years and certainly more in the 10 years after that because you are changing the ark of health care costs. i understood this has to be a process that was dealt with, but it also has to be a process that everybody was involved in. >> just two questions. >> i think you are next. just come up patients.
-- just patience. >> [inaudible] >> she is sitting next year. what do you mean? >> [inaudible] nice lady. >> i know. she expects the same nicety. >> specifically about retirement spending. looking to the future, it he is going to lead the bipartisan process -- >> i think a bipartisan process has to involve more than just him. i think you have seen -- again, his willingness to tackle some of our health care spending as a way of showing how serious he is about addressing this, and i think he wants to have a serious discussion and work with those that are serious about this coming forward. lester. >> thank you, robert. just two questions -- there was a great deal of media coverage of the president inviting guests
to watch the super bowl with him. plus, the menu. great deal of coverage of the menu. could you tell us whether the president, as commander-in- chief, also asked his guests to watch within the army/navy game, or did he skit that classic, which is so much older than the super bowl? now obviously, the army/navy game is -- have you been? >> i have been to 43 of them. >> it is remarkable. >> the president watches on tv -- >> i will go back and look at his schedule. i do not know. >> what does the president think of the move that ultimately of vaults 20% of the state's who require presidential candidates to prove with documentation their natural born citizen
status in order to be on the presidential ballot [inaudible] >> i will present that to all secretaries of state, lester. >> [inaudible] >> look, obviously, i think first and foremost, you saw an overwhelming turnout. you saw an equally overwhelming support for independents. i think it marks a new day in the region, and it is something that the president and his team have spent an awful lot of time on, and still again, there is a lot of work to be done, but we are heartened by the participation in those who sought their freedom. that is this your last week with
us? >> it is. i'm going to miss almost all of you. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> tonight on "the communicators," former e- government administrator and free press campaign director on the ability of the government to shut down the internet and the impact of the internet on the middle east and its contribution to political awareness. tonight on c-span2. >> mr. president, it is my great honor today to speak on the floor for the first time as the united states senator. >> the new class of freshmen senators have been giving their first speeches on the senate floor.
follow their appearances on line. track the daily house and senate timelines, read transcripts of a recession, and see the full video archive. congressional chronicle, c- span.org/congress. >> on television, on radio, and online. c-span, bringing public affairs to you. created by cable, it is washington your way. >> up next, the commander of u.s. forces in iraq and the u.s. ambassador to that country recently held an upbeat assessment of the transition from a military mission to a civilian-led effort. he testified at a senate armed services committee hearing last thursday. this is about two hours, 20 minutes.
>> good morning, everybody. welcome, first, to our witnesses. u.s. ambassador to iraq, james jeffries. general lloyd austin, commanding u.s. forces in iraq. before we begin, want to extend a warm welcome to the newest members of the armed services committee. we also welcome back senator john corn and -- cornyn, who is rejoining the committee after a
brief hiatus. this committee, as you will still learn, has a tradition of free -- a tradition of bipartisanship. it is a long tradition. based on our common desire to provide our men and women in uniform and their families the support that they need and the support that they deserve. that goal makes the work of this committee truly rewarding. we recently returned from visiting iraq. one of my main impressions is that the teams are providing strong leadership needed to manage the critical transition period over the coming year, leading up to the december 2011 deadline for withdrawal of all u.s. military forces from iraq. a deadline that was set by president bush and prime minister maliki in november 2008
security agreement that they entered into. i believe that you two gentlemen are the right team. last december, after eight months of discussions among iraq's political leaders, those leaders agreed to form a national unity government, but the agreement was only partial. iraq still awaits the nominations by the prime minister to the key cabinet positions of minister of defense, minister of interior, and minister of national security as well as the resolution of issues relating to the powers of the national council on higher priorities to be headed by former prime
minister alawi. the pressure on the iraqi government to fill in those large gaps must continue. during our trip to iraq, we were told that plans are on track for the drawdown of u.s. forces and the shift of lead responsibility for our many programs from the defense department to the state department, including training of the iraqi police. to carry out these responsibilities, the u.s. embassy in baghdad anticipates that it will have some 15,000 or 20,000 personnel under its authority, including two consulates, two embassy branch offices, three police training centers and 5 office of security corp. locations. this will include thousands of state department contractors to provide perimeter and movement security as u.s. military forces depart.
whether the transition is successful will depend in no small part on whether the state department is provided the resources that it needs to take on and sustain those responsibilities. congress will need to do its part to ensure that the state department has what it needs to do all that it can to help security hard-fought gains in iraq that have come at great sacrifice of american lives and treasure. significant security challenges remain in iraq. security incidents in 2010 were down from 2009 levels, but terrorist groups, including al qaeda in iraq, include -- continue to have the capacity to carry out high-profile attacks that killed dozens and wound .undreds of iraq'is iran remains a highly negative influence, providing support to extremist groups.
another security challenge is the instability arising from the unsettled situation in kirkuk and the boundary dispute in the north. our goal is to leave behind an iraq that is stable. during our trip, we heard that in general, the iraqi security forces have made major progress and are capable of dealing with internal security threats to the iraqi people and our leading those operations. however, we also heard it will be some time before the iraqi security forces can provide for iraq's external defense. u.s. forces iraq training and advisory mission is focused on a train the trainer programs as the training mission is transferred to the iraq ministry
of defense. u.s. forces of a iraq continues to work with iraq's ministries of defense and interior with the goal of building the minimum essential capabilities. iraq will need support in building its capabilities in building internal and external threats. i'm concerned, however, by the latest support from the special inspection general for iraq we construction, which finds that the development of iraqi security forces is at risk from shortfalls and logistics capacity, corruption within the ministry of defense, and the failure to plan appropriately for the maintenance and sustainment of infrastructure and equipment. the special report cites a report by the dod office of inspector general, which warns of problems with iraq's
development of its capability to achieve and sustain them of material readiness levels for the era of security forces, saying that this "could result in a downward spiral of operational readiness that would put iraq's security and stability at risk." general austin, i'm interested in getting your professional opinion on whether you agree with those assessments. one major question is what security relationship the united states and iraq will have once the 2008 security agreement expires in december. it is unclear whether the maliki government will seek any type of continuing u.s. presence after december, given the terms of the security agreement that provide that all of our troops will be removed by this december.
iraq needs to engage with the united states sooner rather than later if such a request is going to be forthcoming. the government ever iraq needs to understand that the days of american taxpayers bearing the cost of developing iraq's security forces are ending. iraq has significant oil revenue, which will continue to increase. according to the latest quarterly reports and special inspector general for iraq reconstruction, iraq's efforts to attract foreign investment continued to bear fruit, in their words, and development of iraq's oil fields is making "better than expected" progress. we should work with the government of iraq to make available the equipment and training in needs for its long- term security, but iraq should not expect american taxpayers to bear the costs of its security needs.
finally, an important issue for the government ever iraq remains the security of christian and other religious minorities. during our visit, we met with leaders of christian communities, which have suffered from suicide attacks, targeted killings, kidnappings, and other intimidation by violet extremis forces. these communities live in fear, and large numbers of christians have either fled the country or of routed the safer regions in northern iraq. the leaders we met explain with pride power rack has been humbled to some of the earliest christian communities and iraqis do not want to leave their country in order to feel safe, and iraq had a long tradition of religious tolerance. on our visit, we urge the government of iraq to act with great urgency to provide the security necessary to preserve these ancient christian and other religious minority
communities and to protect those religious minorities. ambassador jeffrey n. general austin, you know from our conversations in iraq and here that you will continue to keep the safety of the various religious minority communities in iraq as one of your top priorities in your discussions with the government of iraq. we look forward to hearing from our witnesses this morning, and we again thank you both for your service as well as those with whom you surf. senator mccain. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and let me also join you in taking this opportunity to welcome the new members of our committee. i'm confident that the work of this body will be enriched and enhanced by their contributions, and i join you in stating to them that our work has been bipartisan, and it has been an honor for me to serve with you as chairman of this committee. our bipartisanship is not devoid of passion when we occasionally
disagree on an issue. i want to t our distinguished witnesses for joining us today. i had the honor of knowing ambassador jeffrey and general austin for many years. two great service of our country, and on behalf of this committee, we thank you for your service, and please convey to the brave men and women you lead both military and civilian the deep gratitude for their service that is felt by the american people and their representatives. i'm very happy to have the chance today to focus on iraq. it would have been unthinkable even two years ago to say that we would reach a point which most americans and indeed some people in washington would increasingly be forgetting about iraq, but that point is large but -- has largely come, as much as it reflects the dividends of success, especially the success of the surge, we disregard iraq at great peril. it is certainly true that many
of the critical indicators in iraq are encouraging. al qaeda in iraq remain significantly weakened, despite many terrific large-scale iraq, especially against iraq's christian communities, overall levels of violence have been relatively low. and steady compared to recent years. iraq is increasingly bringing its vast oil and gas resources online. the country had a successful democratic election last year, and despite a painfully a upperiod of political wrangling, a new government is now mostly formed in baghdad. demonstrations take place for the mark received across the middle east. i do not think you will see those kinds of demonstrations in iraq because the iraqi people did have a chance to express their political will. and yet, despite iraq's progress, there remain serious questions about whether it will enter -- endure and what will
our nation can and should play as iraq's partner to assure success. the fact is 2011 will be one of the most consequential years for iraq and our partnership, a year that will largely shaped whether the country continues to emerge as an increasingly secure self- sustaining democratic partner of the united states, or whether iraq tragically stumbles, sliding back into civil conflict, anarchic violence, and authoritarian rule. these choices will a ultimately be made by iraqis, but make no mistake -- after sacrificing hundreds of billions of american taxpayer dollars and nearly 4500 american lives, the united states has an enormous stake in iraq's success. we have enduring national interest related to iraq's success that must be protected. progressrbid, iraq's should unravel, and a moment of
opportunity is squandered, no one should think that the american people will be for giving in holding their leaders accountable for that failure. the security agreement signed by the bush administration, affirmed by the current administration states that all u.s. troops will leave iraq by the end of this year. this means we are approaching a decisive transition, and i will be blind -- i have real concerns about whether the proposed civilian-led mission that will take the lead once our troops are gone, is sufficient to support iraqi needs and u.s. interests, not because our civilians are not capable professionals -- they mostly are -- but because the huge and unprecedented challenges they face. in short, we are asking the state department to take on the mission of the u.s. military at a scale never contemplated before a mid still-fragile security conditions. many in the past now performed
-- many of the task now performed by u.s. troops will transition at great cost to civilians and contractors. some such tasks will cease to be performed at all. many relationships deregulators across the country will be hard to maintain for security reasons, and vital military-led programs from intelligence fusion to the peacekeeping activities performed along the silk tends arab kurdish boundaries will be massively scaled back or effectively ended. no one should interpret my comments today as a lack of support for iraq and the continued u.s. involvement there. to the contrary -- failure is not an option in iraq, and we must be prepared to bear the cost to insure success, including the cost of our civilian operations and development programs and which will be substantial, however this transition plays out. congress cannot shortchange this mission now. what we need, however, is a more forward-looking strategy.
the new iraqi administration will govern the country for the next four years. what does it need to accomplish by the end of that time to set iraq further down a path of lasting success? how can our two governments align our resources in a common plan that consistently advances our shared goal, the emergence of a rack that can secure itself, govern itself, generate its own wealth, and sustain its development with less and less u.s. assistance, then having established the optimal ends we see, as well as the u.s. presence and programs required to achieve them, how can we build the bipartisan support in congress to sustain a robust commitment to iraq, especially a commitment for what will increasingly be a civilian-led mission? these are questions we are considering today and in the months ahead, and i look forward to discussing these issues today with our witnesses. i would also like to point out
that there is a place in iraq inhabited by iranian refugees, and it has been under the protection of american troops. i'm concerned about the welfare and well-being of the security of these people. i hope we can address the issue in a way that will assure them of america and the government's commitment to their security. i thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, very much. we share your concern also about the group you mentioned at the end of your comments. by agreement, we are going to call on general austin furst. your suggestion that general austin began and that ambassador jeffrey follow. >> distinguished members of the armed services committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify this morning.
i am indeed fortunate to be partnered with ambassador jeffrey in one of the most professional diplomatic teams i have ever seen. i would also like to thank you for your support for our men and women in uniform serving in iraq and their families here at home. i would like to spend a few minutes to give you my assessment on the current security environment and the capabilities of the iraqi security forces and outline what u.s. focus in iraq is focused on for the remainder of the year. the security environment in iraq has been steadily improving over the past few years, most notably during the delay in the other information from march through december 2010. it was very encouraging to us that while iraq was being served by a caretaker government, the iraqi security forces remained able and performed admirably.
they provided iraqi leaders with the time and space that was necessary for peaceful dialogue and compromise to occur. the commendable work on the part of iraqi security forces is paying off. today, iraq has the most inclusive government in our nation's history and the security environment is the best that it has been since 2003. security incidents in 2010 were 25% lower than in the previous year, and that trend has continued following government formation. the security environment continues to improve, but it will remain complex, and the threats to iraq's security will remain in 2012. sunni extremists groups like al qaeda will continue to target the government ever iraq, the iraqi security forces, and iraqi civilians in order to garner media attention and demonstrate that the government cannot provide security for the iraqi people. shia extremist groups like was
will continue to target u.s. personnel, and in our absence, the iraqi government and its institutions. while the iraqi security forces have a good capability to confront sunni and shia it extremist groups and provide for security, they will have gaps in their capabilities in 2012. iraq will not be able to defend its air sovereignty for some time. they will also require continued development on capabilities such as logistics and sustainment and intelligence as well as more complex training. the iraqi security forces will continue to develop the capabilities, which will require them to continue receiving modern equipment, conduct training on that equipment, and then conduct unit level training. u.s. forces and iraqi security forces have recently begun a collector training initiative, which requires entire battalions
to go through an intensive training cycle. program provides the iraqi army with what is necessary for their units to operate and has been made possible by the much improved security environment. this training is a great step forward towards improving their proficiency, but they will still require much more comprehensive combined arms training and joint training in order to develop an exiled defense capability. with the time that we have remaining, u.s. forces in iraq will continue to advise, train, assist, and equip the iraqi security forces and to narrow some of these capability gas. we will also work closely with the u.s. embassy as we transition from a predominantly military-led to a civilian-led effort in iraq. we are dedicated to partners with our embassy teammates in preparing for this important transition. the key to a successful transition is the need to fully resource the embassy to perform
their tasks and responsibilities. we are developing the office of security cooperation, which will fall under the embassy, and the osc will provide oversight over all security cooperation in iraq, and it will assume responsibility for the near $13 billion worth of foreign military sales programs that we currently have with the iraqis. it will also coordinate international military education and training. this office will work hard and dedicated to closing the capability gaps within the iraqi security forces. clearly, there is much work to do, but i am encouraged by the progress that iraq has made over the last few years, and i'm confident that iraq can achieve its full potential if it stays on the path is currently on. i would like to close my remarks by recognizing the great men and women that are serving in iraq and their families who are supporting them. while our soldiers, sailors,
airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, and civilians are serving overseas, our families are serving here at home, and we would not be where we are today without the sacrifices of so many. and without the unwavering support from here at home. mr. chairman, members of the armed services committee, thank you once again for this opportunity to appear this morning, and i stand ready to answer any questions that you may have. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. let me join with general austin in thanking you for holding this hearing and inviting us to appear before you discuss the issues associated with the united states transition from a military-led to a civilian-led presence in iraq. we face a critical moment in iraq where we will either step up to the plate, finished the job, and build upon the sacrifices made, or we will risk
core u.s. national security interests, the penny wise and pound foolish, and see the field to al qaeda and to other dangerous regional influences. we have thus a historic opportunity and a critical window to help iraq emerged as a strategic partner in the course for moderation in a troubled region. we cannot afford to let the gains we have sacrificed so much for slip away. the president has articulated our mission for our partnership with iraq. we seek an iraq that a sovereign, stable, and self- reliant with a government that is just representative and accountable, that denies support and safe haven to terrorists is able to assume its rightful place in a community of nations and contributes to the peace and security of the region. the u.s. military have performed admirably, but they cannot stay forever. the department of state is ready to take the lead, but we need
support and resources to finish the job. we need support to carry out key transitions. these include work throughout the country, especially in key areas. past experience has shown how small number of americans can have a great disproportionate impact in helping to defuse crises and propose long-term solutions. an absolute critical component to the country's long-term stability, as general austin said, to provide security assistance to help the iraqis face the job against al qaeda and other terrorist groups and develop a core capability. to not finish the job now creates substantial risks of what some people call a charlie wilson's law moment. al qaeda is still capable of devastating attacks.
furthermore, getting our presence in iraq would provide iran increase stability to great anxieties in the region back could spiral out of control. iraqis have a big difference in this war. 4300 s, 3300 wounded. among our military forces. hundreds of embassy casualties as well. as the vice president's stated during his recent visit, it is vital that we leave behind an iraq that is worthy of the sacrifices so many have made. while all u.s. government work in iraq is expensive due to the security situation, a robust civilian presence represents a significant reduction in expenditures. between 2010 and 2011, for example, the u.s. military withdrawal reduce the bill of taxpayers by about $15 billion, while the increase in state budget was just $2.5 billion.
while the funding needs will naturally increase because of the military to civilian transition, the overall u.s. costs will continue to decrease dramatically. moreover, u.s. development assistance to iraq is not open- ended. iraq has vast untapped oil resources, but due to the devastated oil infrastructure, it will be a number of years before iraq will have meaningful new oil revenue for its own budget. getting the military to civilian transition in iraq also will demonstrate more generally that we can transition security successes in war zones into long-term stability including for afghanistan. in closing, i would like to thank the department of defense, central command, and above all, general austin and his troops for the support they are giving us in this mission. i would like to express my admiration and humility in the face of the commitment we see on the part of our military and
stuff. as they missed their lives for because they believe in, the iraq i just finished describing. i thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today. >> posted a will be made part of the record. we welcome you very warmly. we repeat that welcome. we are delighted that you are with the committee. other new members of the democratic side. we welcome your statement, ambassadors, to what the goals of the obama administration are in iraq, and i think maybe all of us or most of us surely share that goal. we talk about stability and security and self-reliance of an
iraqi state and an iraqi government. that certainly has been the goal. one of the threats to the success to the achievement of that goal is the failure of the political leaders of iraq to reach conclusions and some critical issues. this has always been a problem. we have always expressed the importance of the political leaders coming together. some of the current political issues that are unresolved include the following -- an agreement to create a national council for higher policies with real executive power headed by former prime minister alawi. there's an agreement that the council decreed but no agreement yet as to what their powers are. i think i misspoke. there is an agreement that the council they created but no agreement on what the powers of that council will be.
the positions and ministers of defense interior, and national security are still on the field. there is no agreement yet on oil policies. the division of oil revenues. these are huge issues that remain unresolved and i believe threaten the goals and objectives that we have and, hopefully, the iraqis have for themselves. can you comment on this matter? is it important that the leaders ever racked get on with the decisions in those areas? ambassador. >> thank you, mr. chairman -- >> we are going to have a seven- minute round, by the way. >> it is vitally important that they finish the job of forming the government. they have taken most of the steps necessary, but you have outlined several other remaining issues that we have been pressing them on, but more importantly, they have been pressing themselves on. we have seen some progress in
the last several weeks on the national council, and the tip of we'll asides basically agreed to everything but the modality of how to select a doctor -- everyone agrees that he should be selected. we think this should be resolved in the next few days. i was in contact with the president of the kurdistan regional government this morning and the embassy with other people trying to take the temperature of other people of where we are on the steps. there are also some names floating for both of those mysteries that we mentioned. again, we are encouraged by what we have heard over the past several days, but the proof is in the pudding, and we have to see if they will finish the job. it is very important that they finish the job and get on with the business of government. on the oil account, two positive developments, as with everything else in iraq, it moves forward in relatively small steps,
senator, but it does move forward. the courage and other coalition parties agreed on a 19-point plan -- most of a 19-point plan that includes giving priority to our hydrocarbons law and revenue sharing law. this is vital. meanwhile, the central government and kurdistan regional government have agreed on an interim step of allowing up to 150,000 barrels of oil to flow out through the turkish pipeline. this is a very significant development and gives us hope that they will continue down that path, sir. >> thank you. general austin, is the withdrawal of our forces by the end of this year, has agreed to by president bush and prime minister maliki, on track? >> thank you, senator. it is indeed on track. we recently completed our planning process that will
govern the remainder of our activities from now until the end of december, and we have issued operations order 1101, which again describes the major activities that we will be conducting, focused on strengthening the iraqi security forces, repots during our forces, and also transitioning responsibilities to the embassy, the government of iraq, and central command. we continue to synchronize that plan, and we are also synchronizing the activities of the embassy, along with our activities as we go about executing the plan. >> thank you. is there any indication -- and i will ask this of both of you -- that iraq is going to request
any elements of our military forces remain beyond december? >> we have received no such request. we are working with the iraqis, as the general said, on the security elements of our post- 2011 presence, which will include a large element for our security operations and the police training, which will be a major program. both of these are under the framework of the strategic framework agreement, which was the second agreement signed in 2008. does not have a deadline. it calls for broad cooperation across the spectrum of bilateral relations, including specifically security, so we are working with iraqis now on exactly what the components of that would be. >> do you expect when you request -- any request be on that from the iraqi government? >> i cannot say what will happen in the future. >> do you have any expectation
that such a request will be forthcoming as of this time? >> as of this time, there is no specific request on the table, and they will want to see how they will -- how we will meet their training and equipping needs with the program that we set up. >> i echo the ambassador's comments. we have not received any requests, and again, i think he covered the entire gamut there, so i would not add anything to that. >> another threat to the stability and security and self- reliance of rack is iran -- but of ir -- of iraq is iran. can you tell us whether iranian behavior in iraq represents a threat to your -- to the stability and successful transition to their own total sovereignty and what also is the susceptibility of the government to iranian influence
and this -- their influence? >> we are concerned with iranian behavior in the region and in pursuit of nuclear weapons >> as a country that suffered devastating losses from invasion by iraq, iran has legitimate interests just like turkey does and just like jordan and saudi arabia do. there is a significant trade. there is a tremendous amount of pilgrimage into iraq. what concerns us about iran and iraq begins with the support we have seen over the years of armed militias who have attacked us. this culminated in a series of battles where prime minister maliki took them in 2008 and
baghdad. we are watching that closely. we are seeing signs iran has not given up its support for these groups. in terms of the susceptibility of the government, the iraqi government pays attention to its import neighbors but we are convinced it is to a government that is nationalist in orientation and is aware of the threats to its sovereignty and will take necessary steps to protect them. >> they may be concerned about their neighbors but specifically is there a problem iran creates for iraq with their current behavior? >> there is no -- would iraq, the government has to face many long-term problems. >> is one of those iranian behavior? >> it is not on the short list
at the time but they are aware of the potential for trouble. >> is it on the long list? >> they are well aware of potential problems. >> we made that comment before i don't believe you were present, sood it is great to have you here. senator mccain. >> thank you. this is well known. i am deeply concerned about this issue of complete u.s. withdrawal. general austin, i think we would agree the battle of fallujah was one counterinsurgency that could be compared to the battle house-to-house kind of high casualty conflict. we fast forward to the battle of sadr city, which made extensive use of technological capabilities we have developed over the intervening time.
in the absence of the u.s., would i iraqis have the capability that was vital in winning the battle? >> senator, certainly not. they would have to develop fabrics -- develop that capability over time. this is a capability to employ precision fire that limits collateral damage. >> we made them take a neat, right? >> absolutely. >> and without the u.s. presence, that would take a long time before the iraqis would have the ability to replicate that. >> it will take some time for them to develop that. >> the iraqis are interested in having an air force for obvious reasons. will they be able to build an
air force without u.s. presence there? >> they do have a number of options to acquire equipment and as for training from other nations, -- >> they would have to acquire equipment and get trainers from other nations. would you agree that the highest priority of the iranian government is to prevent any change to the security agreement so as to insure no u.s. troops will remain in iraq by january 1, 2012? >> i cannot assess with full accuracy iran's intentions. >> would you agree it is their highest priority? >> i would say it is a significant priority of the iranians do not have u.s. forces on its doorstep.
>> how concerned are you about the violence against u.s. silk -- u.s. civilian officials that might entail after our withdrawal? >> my highest priority as ambassador is the security and safety of my personnel. my people on a given week are the subject of sometimes three attacks between indirect fire and typically ied's. we had an ied two days ago. nonetheless it is a concern we have lived with since we started off in 2003. price they -- >> they came back and went back to iran. now he is back again.
is that correct? >> the latest i heard is he is back in iran but it is hard for us to keep track of his going back and forth. >> his followers are a key element in the formation of the maliki government. >> his followers played a role back in the october period when the maliki government was first forming but they received 660,000 votes out of more than 12 million cast. they have only 39 seats in the coalition. their role which is relatively minor in the government reflects their voting power. >> but it also played a key role in the formation of the government -- it was then enabling maliki to -- i am very
concerned about sadr, his followers and close ties to iran. i will just be very blunt. i am deeply concerned about that. i am also concerned the government of iraq has already released a lot of individuals who has been detained by the u.s. military. we hear reports the prime minister has released many more as part of the political negotiations to form a new government. do you have concern about that? >> i am always concerned. >> is it happening? detainees are being released? >> there are a number of detainees that are released because of lack of evidence or they may have served their sentence. >> do you believe some of those have been released because of
the influence of sadr? >> i have no proof to confirm that. >> is a your opinion? >> without proof, i would be hesitant to provide an opinion on that. >> as you know in the kurdish- arab areas there is a significant u.s. peacekeeping presence. what is your degree of concern about removal of that presence as far as igniting some conflicts between the two parties?
>> tensions still remain in some areas. as we remove those security locations, that has to be carefully managed. at the end of the day the issues that are present need to be resolved politically. that may take some time. >> i hope you will make some representations to the iraqi government concerning the situation. i want to thank both of you for your service. may i urge you to continue to make a case for continued united states assistance as the iraqi government goes through very difficult and challenging transition. there are enormous pressures for
cutting spending that are probably going to increase here in congress. we are going to have to convince a lot of people of the importance of sustaining and assisting an independent iraq as it makes its transition. i thank you for your service to the country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator reed. >> thank you gentlemen for your service and the service of your colleagues. we were there just a few days ago to firsthand witness the progress and challenges. i want to underscore something senator mccain said. that is the need to generate bi- partisan support for civilian- led efforts. as the mission migrates from the department of defense to the
civilian side, as it looks more like -- the reality which senator mccain. it hoped -- which senator mccain pointed out -- if we don't sustain this effort than we had invested a lot of blood and lives in the material in an effort that could be frustrating. that would be tragic. as you pointed out, one of those moments of -- charlie wilson moments where the disgrace of what were we thinking? that is a central point. it was very well-said by senator mccain. let me just -- it is important to get a perspective. you pointed out that the rough course of our operations this
year in iraq is what? military-civilian efforts combined. any idea? >> on the civilian side, it is roughly 2 billion. that includes the assistance program which is half a billion dollars. we are beginning to get money for the police training program. the operation's budget is $1.87 billion. it is somewhat over $2 billion for the military side. >> general austin, what is your rough estimate of your operating numbers? >> in fy10 it was $72 billion. >> you have roughly $74 billion annually. when the transition is completed, what is the number
that you need? >> we have not finalized that for fy12. what i will say is the building blocks will be where we are now. we would like to take over the i iranian equipment program -- right now that is $1.5 billion. it would be a significant percentage of the $1.5 billion. the police training program is $1 billion a year. the operations in the field taking over some of the security missions and logistical missions has been doing perimeter security on the order of half a billion dollars a year. if you add that up you would get a figure that be about twice what we are doing now.
>> can you add it up? >> if i had to add it up it would be over $5 billion. >> we are going from $78 billion down to $5 billion. >> there would be some dod costs associated with this. they would be doing the security and some of the payment of those, but we are looking at a 90% reduction. >> and 90% reduction is good news but unless we are prepared to find your efforts at $5 billion a year, then you will have a difficult time sustaining the progress we have made. is that fair? >> i will not sustain the progress we have made in supporting the iraqi government? >> what percentage of that does these -- is the state department's budget?
>> it is between 5%-7% of the state department's foreign assistance budget for the uaid, and the police training. if you strip out salaries, the basic operating budget is pretty big. somewhere between almost as high as 30%. >> we are looking at some categories at 30% of the budget. this is a huge amount of money. >> this would probably be the single biggest program in the state department. >> let me reiterate. we all understand when programs migrate from the department of the defense over to foreign aid,
that is a category that is a lot harder. we have to make that sale. let me interject another issue which is i saw a competition on the dod side for assets for iraq and afghanistan. we are trying to do this in iraq and your colleagues are trying to do the same thing in afghanistan. afghani forces turn this over to civilian mission. what is your view -- this will be a competition not only for money but also money for afghanistan's efforts? which means we have the same dilemma there. is that an accurate assessment. >> basically it is. in a year i will be operating without a u.s. military and my colleagues.
>> when we were there the department of defense has identified over 1000 tests that have to be transitioned or accommodated. some of them had clear dod fingerprints'. clearing travel routes, others are tasks that are assumed. i must say i think when you look closely at all these functions and the support you are getting in directly, the positive spillover benefits, that that number of $6 billion you suggested is probably an underestimate. do you have a reaction to that? >> we try not to talk specific
figures at this point but in the order of magnitude of double of what we are doing is what we will be looking for. the support and activities the military are doing, it is hard to put a figure on to that and how much of that would transfer to us because it is apples and oranges. we have to pay, that troop salaries -- pay combat troop salaries. we get billions of dollars of support from the military every year from everything from identification of incoming rockets to logistical support. >> thank you. janson, thank you for your extraordinary service. >> what are psd's?
the private security contractors? >> yes, -- they could be military or they could be contract security. >> thank you both for your service. i think senator reed brought up some good points. if you bring all the troops home, we all would like that to happen as soon as possible, you still have a country in the early stages of development in terms of democracy. with both of you would agree with that? >> yes. >> i think --they are in the solid infant category. >> just like with any other infant you need to provide assistance and nurturing to make sure they grow up strong and healthy. is that the challenge?
take it from infancy to mature democracy? >> the iraq keys to appreciate our assistance. -- the iraqis appreciate our assistance. >> do they want our help? >> it is in the strategic framework. we support them in election monitoring and setting up elections. >> does the general population want us to continue to be there in some fashion? >> the general population wants us to be their partner. >> does the military want us to help train their air force? >> they do. >> we have an iraqi navy that wants to develop, too. they want us to help them in that regard? >> they do. >> so we are not staying in a place we are not wanted? whenever staying is? >> that is a fair statement but
most polls say the iraqi population would like to see the military presence be withdrawn. >> i understand that. that goes back to what is down foolish from the iraqi point of view. to carry out your mission in 2012 without u.s. military security, we are creating a small state department army. is that correct? >> i would have a problem with two words, creating an army. right now we have 2700 security contractors and hundreds of state department security personnel. that figure will go up significantly but we already have a large number of security personnel operating in iraq.
>> it is enough to do the job? >> if we get the money to have additional security. >> will it include -- >> it will. >> will it include helicopters? >> it will include a large number of helicopters. they will not be armed. >> but you will have a helicopter fleet. if something happens, do you have enough capacity to shoot your way out of it or would you have to rely on the security forces? >> currently both the u.s. military and my own convoys move would support through the cities. >> how dependent are you today on american military security for your movements? >> essentially all movements
outside of baghdad. that will change when the forces go. >> if all movements in iraq through state department and other agency jobs require iraq to provide security, and next year they are gone, who fills that vacuum? let me ask this question, would it be rise from a iraqi -- from an iraqi u.s. point of view that we not create a complete vacuum? would it make sense financially, security-wise to have a military footprint left behind if the iraqis request to continue to provide security for
state department officials and others? >> we are always happy to have iraqi military security. >> from a professional military point of view, what lies ahead in iraq is the holding and building. do you believe it makes sense given the security requirements that lie ahead for our state department officials to get out of iraq, that it would be wise to have an american military contingent in 2012 in iraq? >> the iraq the security forces have the ability to control the internal security of the country. they are leading the effort to do that now. they do need to continue to work on logistics' and intelligence capabilities.
>> do you feel comfortable with the iraqi security forces as they exist january 1, 2012, to protect thousands of americans and other people in iraq tried to provide assistance? can they do the job? are you comfortable with them being able to provide that security? >> i think adequate security will be provided, provided the security it is -- >> is it your opinion we do not need any troops in iraq in 2012? >> what we are focused on is abiding by the agreement -- >> but you are advising congress -- you have been on the ground a lot. please put on the table what you see as reasonably necessary or
an insurance policy, if you can construct the perfect scenario what would you have the scenario be regarding military involvement in iraq in 2012? >> i would prefer to avoid speculating on what we would be able to do and what we could provide. i think the iraq these would have to make a request. then our government would have to -- >> my time is up but i would understand what you are saying. if a request was made by the iraq government that we would love to have military assistance to help us with boundary disputes to train our air force, to help us develop better security, that -- would you be favorably disposed to say yes? >> if that is the policy of the
american government. >> i am talking about you. would you recommend to us to say yes? >> that is beyond my pay grade to make that recommendation. >> thank you very much. senator akaka. >> thank you very much. i want to welcome ambassador jeffrey and general alston to hour -- general austin to our hearing today. thank you for your continued efforts to ensure that iraq becomes a stable, self- sufficient and democratic nation. i would also like to recognize understanding men and women, you both leavitt in iraq. we appreciate -- you both lead in iraq.
ambassador to jeffrey, our transition, we are looking at many ways of bringing that about, in particular the provincial reconstruction teams have been in place since november 2005. they have worked towards building up provincial and local economies. my question to you is can you discuss the current status of the reconstruction teams as they hand over their mission to our consulate office? >> we have gone from a total post of roughly 30 down to 16 right now. these are co-located with the
u.s. military as we discussed. they are embedded in the u.s. military units. their combined military civilian teams focusing on political, will of law and the like. they have been extremely effective in partnering with the military in the delivery of aid and so forth. what we are going to do is transform, if we get permission, four of those. in two cases temporary for a number of years embassy branch operations. this requires the iraqis to approve the embassy branch officers. we also will keep the baghdad
prt in operation running out of the embassy. we are looking at ways in various other areas that are important to conduct fly-ins, to leverage the presence of the police trainers to develop lipetsk that i can get security- so i can move and have contact with the governmental folks so we maintained some of the tremendous contacts in places other than the five where we will continue to have a significant presence. >> thank you. we would like to continue the oversight. in october 2010 the state department had over 1000 employees and 2700 contractors
in iraq. they planned to have a higher -- planned to have hired 7000 more security contacts. how will you ensure that these contracts are filled in an appropriate manner, avoiding the types of problems that surface under the black water security efforts? >> we currently have 2700 security contractors. we will go up to 5500 and our police training program will require some security as well. then osci will also have security contractors as well. we are very concerned about that given the blackwater incident in two dozen 7. the state department under --
the black border incident in 2007. the state department did a report outlining the problems that led to that tragic event. we have taken various precautions and various modifications. all of the security companies have to be registered with two iraqi ministries. we have a variety of new procedures that require a commissioned work full-time state department security employee to ride in every convoy. we have cameras on the vehicles to record everything that goes on. we can monitor where they are. we have done it special training. we have iraqi security forces traveling with us. i am happy to report in thousands of lives in baghdad
where we have done that since 2007 we have not had a serious incident. >> general austin. the u.s. government's presence in iraq will change significantly as we draw closer to the end of 2011. what are the future plans for the bases and the facilities? is any equipment going to be handed over to the state department, given to iraq or brought back to the united states? >> thank you, senator. actually, we will do some of all of that. we have transferred equipment to the state department to help in their future endeavors.
as they identify additional requirements, we will work with the leadership in dod to make sure we transfer equipment as expeditiously as possible. we are also transferring equipment to the iraqi security forces. as we have drawn down from a larger footprint over 100,000 to the footprint we have today, we have 77 basis we are operating today. when we transition in september from combat operations to operation new dawn, we are at around 92 basis. we have continued to shrink our footprints and we have continued to transfer equipment to iraq
keys and -- equipment to iraqis. it is some of all of that. >> thank you very much. senator wicker. >> thank you. general alston, i want to take another stab at senator graham's line of questioning. i understand you are a military man and you take orders. you are under the command of the president of the united states. we appreciate that. you are going to implement the policies you are directed to implement. but i assure you it is all right for you to come before congress and give opinions as to your best judgment. i think that is what senator unable to get from
you in his line of questioning. the military troops are going to be gone after january 1, 2012. we are going to have a number of american personnel there who will still be in harm's way. my question is in your judgment, will our american personnel in iraq be as secure without u.s. troops as they would have been if troops remained present? >> thank you, senator. >> i think ambassador jeffrey would agree with me when i say because i am who i am i always believe they can be done better with the u.s. military, but as you pointed out earlier rate -- right now we are focused on achieving the objectives that have been laid out with the
current security agreement that exists between our country and iraq. >> i understand there are other considerations and part of that is what the government once they have put in place. could you quantify on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the security of our american personnel if troops remain what will be your comfort level about their security without their -- without those troops there? >> senator, i would like to avoid trying to quantify any kind of assessment such as that. >> but clearly your opinion is
our personnel would be less safe than if you we had troops there. i think that is your judgment. you are going to implement a different policy, but that is your judgment. is that correct? >> because of who i am i always believe the military has -- as much value to any situation, so i think ambassador jeffrey and his team, if adequately resource, can provide for the security of the folks. it can be done better with our help because we have a long history of doing these types of things. >> let me ask you this. i want to make sure we get your testimony complete. with regard to contract security personnel, your answer to
senator akaka was one group, 2700 security personnel. another group at 5500. you mentioned others but i did that get numbers. >> if i could take a moment because i think this is an important point. we have operated with our own security in iraq under extraordinarily far worse conditions than we are now. when i was there last year it was total rock-and-roll. we were in basra and other places operating on our own. we are continuing to operate in baghdad with our security personnel. they do a very good job. baghdad is one of the areas we have seen it more attacks than
most other areas. we are prepared to do this throughout the country. because the military security for the places where it will be locating around the country is being withdrawn we have to increase our security forces. therefore we are going from the current level which is 2700 security contractors and 300 state department security personnel, to some of the 500 contractors. and augmenting the number of state department personnel who will be supervising them. in addition, the police training program will bring with it additional training personnel. >> how many will that be? >> i would say the better part of 1000. >> we have 5500 and 1000. >> osci is the military's
support element under the embassy that will be providing security assistance and these fms cases come and they will require a security as well but i don't have a number on that. >> you mentioned what the population of iraq was with regard to a continued u.s. presence. at a time there was extensive public opinion polling going on of the iraqi people. is that still the case? >> there is a good number of different polls that come out all the time done by various international agencies. >> are you privy to that information? >> we see a lot of it.
>> based on that, de information is that a substantial majority of the iraqi people would like the united states to continue with the security presence absence the military, is that correct? >> they want an overall relationship -- i would not say a substantial majority, but it is much higher wanting a relationship with us then the population that wants to have american force presence. that typically is quite low between 7%-20%. >> with regard to the situation that we intend to have after january 1, is there a majority support for that? >> i would have to check the polls. it is a tricky question. >> they get tricky even inside
the united states. >> they were tricky inside turkey, where essentially -- in all of these countries there is a nervousness about countries having to close relations with anybody, including iran. or the sunni-arab countries. they are worried about relations because all of these countries have a long history of colonial stationed and such, so the general reaction of the population is to be wary. nonetheless, as we take that in mind we would say there is a general positive feeling on the part of the population towards relations with the u.s. in general. >> thank you both for your service.
>> thank you, senator weicker. >> let me add my appreciation for your service and the men and women in uniform who served as well as the civilians to serve the interest at the present time. i find the discussion about good, better or best in terms of security in iraq as to how we provide its and which will work best, but the amount of our presence and the nature of our presence is an iraqi decision more than it is hours. having said that, in the discussion of good, better or best security, isn't a question whether or not the state department will be able to provide adequate security? >> i think that is one of the
important questions. we could do it better. we could do the belt and suspenders approach. i understand the level of providing even more. i would appreciate the fact that you feel the military can do it better. we should all feel that way, but it is not about better, it is about adequate. let's get it on the table. you said they had not asked for any continuing presence at the present time. this is a tough question because you don't have a crystal ball. do you expect they will ask for some continuing military presence after the expiration date? do you expect it? >> i cristobal does not reach
that far. i expect -- my crystal ball does not reach that far. i expect them to talk about how their security needs can be met. this is a country with security forces of 650,000. they have beaten and insurgency and are doing well against relatively small compared to the past terrorist threat. >> they probably have a reasonable understanding of their capabilities. we hope they would have a reasonable understanding of their security capabilities at the point of departure. it is not unreasonable to expect if they are inadequately resources in security that they might want to have additional help. we are not anticipating that, but that is one of the plans we ought to have in mind.
is that fair? >> we are already preparing to provide that help. police training, fms funding and that sort of thing. the multitude of security and military assistance of various forms is required, particularly to turn them into a foundational defense force which they need to be and where they are not now will require a great deal of help. how that help is construed and whether it will fall into the program we had set out is something that they have not talked to us about. >> this would constitute conditions on the ground at the time. is that fair? >> that is what will drive their decisions on talking to us about this. >> in terms of turning over equipment, i have been concerned
about the fact that we don't want to be the kind of military that we are bought and paid for by a foreign country. as we transfer e equipment are we finding ways for them to pay for the costs of that equipment either at the current time or with some future of arrangement for them to pay us back, rather than providing it and leaving it free of charge? >> some of the equipment will be paid for. it depends on the category of the equipment. the answer to your question is yes. >> i know some time ago we entered into an agreement with them where they were having trouble acquiring equipment because of their own internal
inadequacies and procedures. we acquired it on their behalf with their money. my hope is we will be as careful with the taxpayers' dollars as we should be a, recognizing that we are paying for a great deal of the war in iraq. it has a tremendous impact on our budget. it is not the driving force in whether we do what is right, but it is a factor. i hope everybody will be focused on that as we create this transition. can you assure me, not out of the goodness of our hearts but recognizing the importance to doing this in a good way that we will try to recover as much of our costs in the transfer as possible?
>> we have been pressing them to increase and they spend $8 billion a year on their security forces. that has been going up. the percentage of how much they put into their equipment purchased externally has been rising very much in their favor. this is not a long-term program we are envisioning. >> in addition to that, they have about $13 billion worth of foreign military sales cases that we are working with them. they are not only investing in their own future but we are paying a large part of that. >> said this could be the third leg of that to recover our costs. it is consistent with where the trend is. we have to make sure that is part of this trend. >> yes, sir. >> if i could clarify something,
you said the percentage iraq is paying is rising in their favor? you mean the percentage they are paying is rising? >> they are paying more. of the weapons systems that have been flowing in to them the% of the total cost they pay for has been rising consistently. >> it is rising in our favor and not in their favor. >> exactly. >> thank you very much. i want to commend both ambassador jeffrey and general austin for your distinguished service. i want to thank our men and women in the armed forces for their sacrifice and the project's -- process we have made in iraq. i wanted to ask the ambassador,
can you think of another circumstance where the state department has had the security responsibility -- you said we will have at least 5500 contractors, perhaps another 1000 security personnel, where you have had that type of security responsibility and have had success in transitioning from a military security basis to that much security responsibility? >> again, back in 2004 when i was there before we provide it our own security throughout operations through iraq. it was significant. the state department provides security for all our personnel in pakistan. while it is unfortunate analogy, but i was involved in the transition, we turned over to
the embassy in saigon tremendous equipment delivery in february 1973. >> ambassador, i believe you testified when you are in iraq previously it was rock and roll in terms of what you were dealing with. one of the concerns i have is we don't want to put our personnel in that position as well where those are the circumstances under which they are working. what circumstances do you anticipate you will recommend to your superiors that we approach the iraqi government to ask for an extension of the 2011 deadline? >> let me put that differently. the assumptions i have made that we can do i would go beyond adequate. we can do a security based upon
the continuation of the current security trends. that is, with a tax down 90% from the high point -- with att acks down 90% from the high points. we are the inner security. most of the time de fend off most of the threats, particular the the bigger military threats. we have to worry more about bombs, ied's and that kind of thing as opposed to platoon- sized ambushes. if the iraqi security forces could no longer control large forces were we are in moving i would be considering options at that time. there are many options, but i would like to wait until those circumstances arise. i do not expect them to rise at this point. >> with that many contractors
you are currently relying on, and probably relying on additional contractors as this transition is made, are you confident there is sufficient oversight to address waste, fraud and abuse with taxpayer dollars funding those contractors? >> in large programs, it requires oversight. it requires people on the ground who follow up. we had a very active program at the embassy. we are under constant supervision by the chairmen of the special inspector for iraq. our own inspector general's, military inspectors general for their side of the operation and our own internal controls. my deputy for assistance particularly watches over that. >> general, a question about our
forces in kuwait. they are offering logistical support in iraq and afghanistan at this time. do you anticipate any enhanced force presence in kuwait to insure in case there is an emergency-iraq either i iranian aggression or some other -- where security regresses in iraq? >> actually, positioning of forces in kuwait really falls in the domain of the central command commander and the commander that he has on the ground there, general webster. in support of our operations in iraq, i would not want to speculate we would want to increase the amount of forces in
kuwait. that is not a part of the plan as we look ahead here. >> thank you very much. >> senator webb is next. >> thank you, investor jeffrey and general austin, i would like to thank you and the people working with you during this transitional time as we climb out of a whole that we dug eight years ago in the view of many people, including myself having come from an enormous strategic blunder. we were worried and we were saying so at the time that this endeavor would harm the country's economy. that it would blow the top of the price of oil. i recall when congress voted to
go to war in iraq oil was $25 a barrel. it went up to $143. today it is $102. we were concerned this activity would in power rather than contain iran -- would empower rather than contain iran. it would encourage activities of al qaeda where it had not been active. it had the potential to destabilize a region. most importantly, there were concerns and i wrote about them before the invasion that this invasion of iraq would create the temptation or the possibility of a long-term occupation by the united states in a part of the world where we should not be an occupying power. i think this last point has been
the underlying premise of a number of questions that have been raised today about what will happen to the military presence in iraq in the immediate future. i have read the strategic framework agreement. they are not airtight in terms of the requirement for the united states military withdrawal. there are people on this committee and the senate who have argued that the u.s. should remain in iraq in the same sense it has remained in korea as a projection force. some arguments were made during the past campaign we should be there for another 50 years. there are two different questions when it comes down to whether our military should remain in iraq. the first is whether they are needed in domestic terms which
is what a lot of the discussion has centered on today. but the most important one is beyond this transition period, are we discussing the notion of providing bases in iraq as a projection force that could be used externally from iraq war -- or the domestic concerns we are talking about. >> we have not but to go back to 2008,i was involved in these agreements when i worked at the national security council. the iraqis made it clear at the time, and it is in black and
white in the agreement, articles 24 and 27, that we are not have permanent bases. we are not used our presence to project power of any sort outside of iraq, and that was the understanding that the administration at the highest levels, and i was present, that our presence in iraq but when we move forward toward 2011 would be solely to help the iraqi security forces and the general stability of the country. i believe, senator, after 20 years of having highs of 500,000 troops in 1991 was that securing iraq, making it a relatively peaceful place that was not requiring these kinds of military commitments, large or medium-sized, that many
administrations and both bodies have supported for 20 years was a great security benefit. we decided to keep the forces on to finish the fight, and we think we are pretty close to their by the end of this year. the iraqis have no intention of having us have bases or project power, and that is not our intention at all, sir. >> let me clarify something. there has been discussion this in a previous hearing and the formulations in this one as well that iraq is not at present capable of providing security against external threats. i assume we are keeping military forces in iraq to address that issue for some period of time, or that as part of the plan? >> i am not going to keep under the current agreement -- we are
not going to keep military forces in iraq after 2011. what we will do, given the fact that iraq does not have the foundational conventional defense capability, it is just beginning to develop that, because its focus has been in on the internal security, we will continue training and equipment program about which accent's of -- which will be extensive. programs that they will purchase for battle tanks, armored personnel carriers, howitzers, aircraft systems, and other systems. we will help them develop this in an extensive way, but not with combat troops on the ground. >> in an advisory capacity, as opposed independence units? >> that is the plant exactly.
>> just so i understand -- it has been some time since i read that strategic framework agreement, but there was -- i can provide it for the record -- there was was language in a further agreement been possible if the iraqi government decided that it needed help beyond a period of time. >> in the first agreement, that strategic security agreement, there is an article that says either side can ask to extend just as they can ask to terminate it. there is a section on security, section 3, section 10 basically states that additional agreements within the framework of the strategic framework agreement can be set up to the one of the many purposes of this strategic framework agreement --
culture, energy, or security. >> so, just to clarify a point, it is your understanding that as of the end of 2011, the formal commitment of the united states as ground forces per say, or combat forces per say, well have ended and the transition would be into an advisory role as we have been discussing today. is that correct? >> it is our plan to have a security relationship, possibly, and follow on the agreement under article 10 to talk about how we would do that, but that it would be advisory and trading function on tiller title xxii as opposed to a combat force.
>> thank you, senator webb. >> the senator rains a decisive set of impressions and analysis -- the senator brings a decisive set of impressions and analysis leading up to the invasion of iraq. i was in the house at the time and asked many of the same questions. the chairman was deeply involved in those considerations. it is at great peril that we forget as. good morning to both you. thank you for the hospitality that you provided us senator white house and myself. your service personnel showed us
the country. ambassador jeffrey, your hard work paid off. we were pretty with your assistance to a series of meetings across the spectrum, and your analogy of mixing bitter tea with sugar so everybody could drink out of the same pot of tea in the end previous out. congratulations for those successes and for the establishment of a government. i also want to acknowledge the partnership that you have. i think it models the partnership that ambassador ryan crocker and general david petraeus who have preceded you, and the joint list that we had in our civilian and military operations is key to the success we have had. i know of the challenge that you have discussing that the day, and you have explained, the this -- the success of the transition will depend on a number of
factors, many of which we have no control over. again, we are engaged and your leadership is very poor. i would like is the civic -- i would like to specifically moved to -- there was -- in your written testimony you assess that aqi will remain capable of signature attacks. are there conviction -- conditions were public support for aqi would increase? >> i will offer by thoughts first and then offer the ambassador the opportunity to provide his thoughts. i did not think so, senator udall. the people do not want what aq brings to their country. they had a good look at that a while back and a couple of years ago. they decided they wanted
something different. aq does not enjoy the support of the people. i do not see them returning to prominence to the degree that they were a while back. i think that people have seen better times and they want different things. they want a greater sense of security in the country. i do not see it returning. >> i agree with the general, sir. >> referencing the image that you continue to share with the iraqi leadership with bitter tea sweetened, the sadrs are now part of the ruling coalition. he returned to iraq earlier this
year. is their significance to those developments? -- is there significance to those developments? >> as a general rule, senator, it is good at all at this time in iraq, it is not just our assessment, but it is the assessment of the iraqis that an increase of government that brings in all of the political actors is a good thing to allow inside the government and inside the coalition and the parliament people to work out compromises and a move for. so in that sense, iraqis believe that than being in the government is a good thing. many iraqis that i talked to also are quite pleased that their role in government is not particularly large. i think that i will just stop
there. >> we have had a conversation this morning, including senator nelson's questions, about the transfer of equipment authorities from the dod to the state department. we acknowledge the will be some other bombs in the role of as the trick -- in the road as the transition continues. is there more we can do in the congress to expedite this transition? i was also given in-, a likelihood that there has to be a similar transition in afghanistan. dec 84 a set of authorities to guide such -- do you see a set of authorities the guide such a transition? >> i will turn over to the general because there are off are the questions on the dod side. it is a question of the funding.
we need the funding, and as we talked earlier, this will be a substantial part of the state department budget, but a very small part of what we had been paying just a year before overall from the federal budget for iraq. we're hoping that people will focus on that latter point, that it is a big department -- a big part of the state department's budget. >> it was a big decrease from 85,000? is that accurate? please correct me if i am wrong? >> i cannot give the military figures kumbaya many times -- military figures, but many times --
>> we were drawing down quite some of complete. >> the u.s. government footprint will be a dramatic decrease of weigh more than 90% from its highest point. >> when we were operating as a coalition force, had upwards of 160,000 total people in the country. we drew down to about 100,000 or so when the u.s. began to provide the majority of the assistance there, and most recently, we have drawn down to a little less than 50,000. that is a pretty significant transition over time. back to your question on off hardy is. we do need additional -- on
authority's. we need additional authorities to fund the office of security corp. we would look forward to working with the congress to be able to obtain those authoritties. >> thank you. i look forward to seeing you in the country later this year. >> senator manchin. >> thank you. as one of the new people, i am new to the senate. i want to thank you and the defense department for bringing us up to speed as you -- as quick as you possibly can. general, i will start with you. as a person who comes from the state of west virginia, extremely patriotic, we thank you for your service. the attack at 9/11, we pretty
much at that time knew that al qaeda was our enemy and that was the direction of the force, if you will. whom have you identified as our enemy today that we are fighting in the middle east, whether afghanistan or iraq, and what is the strength of the force of that enemy? >> iraq remains a very complex environment, senator, and there are a number of elements at play in iraq that oppose not only our efforts, but most importantly, the government of iraq's efforts. the start with, we had spoken of al qaeda earlier. al qaeda is much diminished in terms of capability. if we look at it today, versus what it was a couple of years ago, our forces have had tremendous impact reducing the
capability of the network. we have taken off a number of their senior leaders off the battlefield over time. we have reduced their capability to finance themselves, and we continue to place pressure on al qaeda. >> what is the number, just for my information, as it would be the number of their strength? >> i will take that crest -- that question for the record but it is in the several thousand, but certainly not 10,000. again, their ability to do what we saw them do in the past is somewhat diminished. having said that, they have the capability to conduct high- profile attacks. we've seen that most recently during the operation celebration. we saw shia programs march down
toward karbala. we expected a cut that to attack some of the pilgrims, and we -- and they did. there are. sunni urgent elements. their focus is currently on the u.s. forces. again, we believe if we are no longer there, they will turn and focus on the government. shia extremist elements, there are three major elements that we focus on on on a daily basis. the first is as block -- has blocked -- hezbollah, a couple of thousand, and then the promised date brigade, who has -- that element has been associated with sadr.
it remains a complex environment. each of the elements have their own focus. shia are primarily focused on us. there is no question in my mind that they will turn and focus on the government of iraq. >> trying to get a handle on this, the amount of forces we have in the middle east right now is at what level? 100,000? >> in the entire list -- middle east? there are 90,000 troops in afghanistan, and our current footprint in iraq is less than 50,000, a little above 47,000. >> less than 150,000? >> right, and we have forces in
other parts of the old east as well. >> for those of us who do not have military experience, and it being such a military might, having such forces for such an enemy identified? >> i would say when you look at the numbers, it could be misleading to compare numbers of friendly forces to numbers of enemy forces. you have to take into account the type of operations, the type of warfare you are conducting. the types of things we are doing in both iraq and afghanistan are a very difficult operations. in iraq we are focused primarily on advising, training,
assisting, and the clipping iraqi trained forces. we are partnering in conducting counter terrorist operations. we have shifted our focus from combat forces back on the first of september. >> what changes d.c. in walt -- you see in the soviet war? if not i would refer to david petraeus and his leadership to provide his comments -- >> they have overwhelming forces and security in comparison, correct? >> there have been a number of attacks to compare what the soviets did with what we are doing in afghanistan. others would draw parallels and others not. we're taking a different approach to what we are doing there in terms of protecting the people and working with the people. it is very difficult to draw a
direct -- to make a direct comparison from the soviets to us. >> there has been a tremendous amount of resources that the american people have invested into the war in the middle east, especially iraq and afghanistan, a tremendous amount of resources. these are resources that could be abstracted, also in the development of the oil fields in iraq. it is hard for a lot of west virginians, americans understand, is there are return on that for us or any sharing, or we are all in with nothing in return? >> senator, it is a good question, and it is a question that is both about my pay grade and a question that every single citizen needs to look at. the logic of what we have been doing since world war ii and everything i have been involved
in the last 40 years is that if we can maintain international security, freedom of trade, promote democracy, we will not ever have to go through something like we went through in the first half of the last century, world for roman one, world war ii, the advent of the nuclear threat. that brings to mind is benefits to the american people and to the rest of world. it is not a zero-sum game. everybody benefits together. the system is stable. we're able to deal with the threats to it. when we are dealing with the middle east is dealing with one of the threats to the system that has been in place for the last 60 years. >> basically, what we are doing as a country, it gets no return at all in the investment we are making.
that will be returned over to the private sector? >> as i said, we as a nation benefit tremendously from international security and not having to spend 20% of our gdp on the military. >> thank you. >> take you, senator. >> thank you, and i want to join in thanking both of you and that men of women who served with you for your service and particularly to you, general austin. many of your soldiers and others who serve in our military are from connecticut and have been to iraq, not once, but twice, and some three times. and i would guess that very rarely in our country's history has so many individuals borne much of the burden.
so few of the total of the people live in the country have borne so much of a burden for the military to this country. to you, ambassador, my thanks on behalf of connecticut and our country to the members of the foreign service who are in not only in iraq, but other dangerous places in the world. we have only to look into the's headlines to see how dangerous this places are to civilians. i want to focus my questions on an area that has not been covered and perhaps would seem to be outside this committee's jurisdiction. i think they are very relevant to the transition you have been describing, the economic progress of iraq, which, in the long run, maybe in the short run, will make possible its funding for the continued protection of its own citizens.
perhaps, a bastard, if you could give us your analysis -- perhaps, ambassador, if you could give us your analysis of progress in iraq, making further progress, and funding? >> certainly, senator. briefly, iraq has a population of about 27 million people. it has a per capita income of $3,000 per person. this puts it roughly on the level of the republic of the condo. it is a very poor country today. it is naturally a rich country, but in will, agriculture, it is a result of a horrific andership by saddam hussein' his predecessors.
the bulk of the economy over 2/3 is in it will the extraction. they are improving things with the help of international oil companies that were brought in a year and half ago that are doing well, and we anticipate will production will be up perhaps as high as 2.6, 2.8 million barrels. that is the equivalent of kuwait or the uae. by the end of the year, with exports over 2 million barrels a day. that is their main foreign exchange earner. the known oil economy is growing at 6% to 8%. over time that will begin to deal with the unemployment program -- problem. unemployment is high and has a
security dimension as well, because next to the unemployment, there is a higher level of underemployment. this is the target of many programs that we have done through usaid. terms of the oil, the iraqis have had considerable success with the international oil companies in the increasing up to 10% of the oil fields. this could go up as high as 8 million barrels a day. some people see even higher, putting it in the range of saudi arabia. there are major, major breaks such developments. there is the in first archer factor. they will be slowed down in terms of continuing to export their add additional production because they have to repair the offshore terminals which will not be complete at the end of
this year. they will then have before them major employment -- improvements to the storage tank and pipeline infrastructure that it's the will to the terminals. they will have to repair the pipeline that goes to turkey. that will take them an awful lot of their oil earnings and will have to be poured back into repairing the infrastructure in order to prime the pump, if you will. likewise, the oil companies are on cost-plus contracts, and they're starting to recover their costs. many of the increase production profits will go to covering the costs of the oil companies. it is going to be a number of years before we see a sea of impact on the iraqi budget of these increases. the very economic activity associated with that, and the general slow improvement in the
economy augurs well for the next five years, if we can get over the remaining security and economic problems. >> at what point do you envision that the iraqis will take over the funding of their own security? >> there right now funding the vast majority of the security. $8 billion a year, and we have about a billion dollar police training program. right now it is 2.5 billion, plus the cost of the u.s. military being there. within a few years, our programs will basically terminate and they will be on their own, and we think they are in a position where they can continue at that level. >> what is the current level of security of the iraqi oilfields, its production and a half -- its
protection facilities? >> the outer perimeter is provided. the inner perimeter is the security companies. they provide security contractors. there is overwatch by general ustin's people in the south, which operates with the iraqi forces. you have three separate levels of security. >> thank you very much, and thank you for your service of the country. >> thank you. we will have round two for those who want to ask questions. i just have a few. general austin, you were reluctant to speculate as to what your recommendation would be if there were a request from the iraqi government for the military support beyond the
december date. my question is, and it relates to that question, but it is a question which is asking their personal and professional military view, from a military perspective, as to whether or not you agree with the current policy of the administration to remove all u.s. military forces from iraq by the end of this year sure it -- by the end of this year. >> senator, the agreement that i think that we are referring to is between our country and the government of iraq, and it says that unless the request is placed by the iraqis to extend
the agreement or an accord -- a or a request for assessment is made, our mandate is to reposition or reposture of all forces. so we are on track to do that. i think certainly if the iraqis decide that they want -- they need further assistance and a request is made to our government, then i think secretary gates has been clear. he said certainly we would consider that. that is the policy, and policy is in the the main of our leadership. i really would not like to speculate -- >> i am not asking you to speculate. i am asking for your personal, professional military of view on whether or not you believe that we have the correct policy now, which is to remove all our
troops, combat troops, from iraq by the end of this year. that is a question that you are obligated to answer under the commitment that you have made to this committee and under our rules. >> right. as i said earlier, i believe that ambassador jeffrey and his team can provide adequate security for their elements that they will have remaining. i do believe also that it can be provided better with the help of u.s. forces. i also believe that, as i stated earlier, that the iraqi security forces will have gaps in their ability to defend themselves in the future. if the request and our
government agrees to provide assistance, then i think that it is absolutely the right thing to do. >> you say it is always true that our troops can provide better security, and as a military man, that is understandable. but that is not my question. my question is, what is your personal and professional military of you as to whether or not our policy is correct to remove all of our forces as provided for in that agreement by the end of this year? if you disagree with that policy, the better say so right now. >> my personal opinion, again, i think the iraqis will require further assistance. >> military combat assistance, by the end of this year?
>> assistance to develop their capabilities. >> that could be training, equipment? >> training, equipment. >> i am asking you be on that. i am asking you whether or not our decision, president bush's decision to implement it by agreement, to remove all our ground forces by the end of this year, is the right decision for us to make. or do you believe is wrong and we should offer to keep our troops there whether or not we get a request, that we need to get our troops there, all whether or not we get a request? >> we should only offered to provide assistance if requested by the iraqi government. >> and your recommendation if requested, the you know what that recommendation would be right now? >> it would be based on the things they requested assistance
for or with. if that is training on counter terrorist forces, combined arms training, assistance with logistical support, whatever it is, it would be my responsibility to look at what is being asked for and what we agreed to do, and then provide an assessment of my leadership on what that would require in terms of forces. >> i will ask you that question again for the record, because it is incumbent on you to give us an inch to the question of i aske. i will ask it of you for the record, and you will decide whether or not to respond to that question as i ask you. >> yes sir. >> another issue, and the
iranian dissident group. ambassador, i want to know whether you believe the government of iraq has the obligation to provide adequate protection for these people and whether or not they are doing it and whether you're -- whether you are confident to provide adequate protection that they will continue to do so after december? >> first of all, they do have obligations, under international law and under a specific written agreement with us from 2008, to provide adequate humanitarian protection and care of these people and not to force them to go to a country where they could legitimately expect to be mistreated. the iraqis generally are providing adequate security and protection for these people. we have had a number of unfortunate incidents.
we're on this. the united nations and we go up there every week. we are in constant contact with the iraqis. we talk about this all the time. >> how confident are you that they are wrong to provide protection after december? >> i absolutely think they will continue to provide. i mean, there are no u.s. forces there, senator, and i do not think whether we are present or after we are gone that will change their position. the international community has a certain basic exhortation of all members of the international community, and one of them is not to mistreat people who are in these conditions. >> can you give us the confidence level? are you very confident they are right to provide protection? >> i am confident on the scale of not confident or very confident. i am confident. >> on a scale?
>> confident would be one level below very confident. >> and the question of violence against religious minorities. we have met with leaders with the iraq christian community. they are very concerned. you are very concerned as well. give us your assessment of the situation, but also whether or not iraqis are trained units that are comprised of these religious minorities who can be deployed to the areas where they come from and where their respective communities provide -- reside to provide security. >> yes, sir, i will take a last question first trip to the prime minister has directed that 500 iraqi christians be hired and incorporate it into the
administration of interior to provide additional assistance in protecting the christian neighborhoods. >> and villages and communities? >> yes, sir. 500 will be in the modal and baghdad and in other places. initially, there were applicants that were above the age limit, and the prime minister has come back and offered at andwaiver this applicants. we expect to see them on board in about a week or so. >> ambassador? >> senator, on my list of things that may be optimistic, i would say the reaction across the
board in iraq to the attack on the church on the 31st of october is one of those things that make me feel best about the future of iraq in terms of the inclusive society that can deal with violence and diversity. everybody across the board has been magnificent in out rich. they have followed that up with concrete actions. we have seen unfortunately a number of major attacks, partly by al qaeda, since that time, but no major attack by outcry that has been conducted successfully on the christian facility. and al qaeda would like to do more with their clinch -- christian facilities. it is also the sincerity with it that in the reaction from people from all religious groups in iraq. the christians are considered a part of the community by all of the other communities in iraq,
and that is a good model for people in other places. >> i hope that you will keep that real concern on the radar screen, because there may be a good intent, but they are having to do with some people there who are very malicious, and they are growing that the with the resources and implement their intent to carry out what he say is their belief that there is a history there of tolerance and participation by the christian community, that the leadership you believe in iraq once perfect. they need to put resources in order to carry out that intent, because of a threat that exists there. we will stand at george, with thanks again to both of you for your testimony and for your service, and we hope you will pass that along with the men and women with whom you work.
[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] guest: join us later today for a panel discussion on the role of the white house press secretary. watch that night at 7:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. tonight at 8:30, president obama cost speech to the u.s. chamber of commerce. we'll have those remarks for you at 8:30 eastern on c-span. >> tonight, former e-gover nment administrator karen evans and the impact of the internet on awareness.
>> a look now at opium production in afghanistan. this is just over an hour. draper has a piece in the "national geographic" in their recalled -- in february, called "opium wars." how big is this issue -- a much of our focus is on the war effort and the taliban and the insurgency. how big is opium to the future of afghanistan? guest: it is fundamental. the are two means by which afghanistan gets money. their are two revenue streams and they are competing. one of them is aid from the west. the other revenue stream is from
poppy cultivation, which creates opium, which is used to fund the taliban'sd's -- activities. this comes from subsistence farmers. nobody is getting rich in the farming community. they have on women -- they have unwittingly become the hinge on which national security swings. host: how did you even find these fields? tell us about your trip. guest: i am a photographer. -- i and a photographer went there last year. we decided to focus on three provinces outside of kabul. these have been the major poppy cultivation provinces. one is to the north, a very
rural pronce, gorgeous. it looks like nepal,ut no one can hear you scream, so it is pretty dangerous. spend time with the provincial chief of police watching poppy's been -- poppies being eradicated. to find poppies, you have to go deep into the creases of the country, well off the road, and do a lot of wandering about. because of the poppy-eradication program, those who still grow are very crafty about where they plant their crop. if you do t know where to look and you not want deeply enough, you will miss them because they are no longer vast stretches of acres. it is an acre here and there.
helmand province was the second area that we visited. their poppy cultivation has been in full bloom. it is taliban country. where are we traveled in h elmand, we traveled in the company of the marines. in the north, we had no security at all. we went east of kabul where poppies have been coletely eradicated. >host: the eradication efforts -- there is a htory of those areoppose it and there those who profit. you have written that this is the hinge on which america's national securities -- security interest swing.
on the ground level among farmers, what is their nion of why they are growing poppies and why people want them to be destroyed? guest: for the last couple of decades, it was the only way they couldake money. there is a history in afghanistan. these problems did not crop up overnight. copies have been cultivated for centuries, maybe even to the fourth century bc when alexander the great was there. he left behind the crop that may have conquered the country. it was only grown sparingly, for medicinal uses throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. in the 20th century, you began to seem more poppy -- opium production in the neighboring hunters like india and pakistan. still, afghanistan was not a major supplier. "national geographic" did a story on afghanistan and poppies
in 1986. at that time, afghanistan supplied 18% or 19%. i remember looking at the story and thinking, how could it be in 1986 that afghanistan was a minor player, and it is now a major player, providing more than 90%? when the soviets invaded afghanistan, that closed off a lot of their other opportunities for agriculture. they had been growing pistachios, almonds, melons, grapes. neighboring countries began to shut down -- began to eradicate their cultivation of copies -- poppies. the afghanistan farmers realize they had no market for other
crops. drug smugglers realized they had no place to grow opium, so they came to afghanistan. the taliban is more responsible for making it a cash crop than any other factor. host: we are looking at some images courtesy of "national geographic" by his partner in the project, the photographer. this is an image of the region you are in and reporting from. you write that the greatest factor in poppy production was the taliban.
guest: of course, this is ironic because the taliban being a fundamentalist islamic regime would profess to say that the opium -- use of opium is forbidden. that has been debated by some loss -- mullahs. some say it is ok eat or use what is forbidden when starving. the taliban, frankly, was not interested in enforcing islamic law when it came to poppies. was interested in making money. they recognize omar mullah acknowledging that this was money by which the finance their operations. the story mentions that th would levy a 10% tax. they wouldork with drugs are
dollars. farmers came to learn that doing business with the taliban was not that bad. you knew that it in your crops to market would not be hazardous. there would not be bad cops along the roadway as there had been in the past. in fact, oftentimes the market would come to the farmers tetons on the by the taliban will come to the farmer, -- would come to the farmers. agents funded by the taliban would come to the farmer. it was a fairly free enterprise. host: dennis, an independent mind, texas. the morning. -- good mning. caller: i have a question. los >> we are all ears. caller: there was prior -- no
opium in the country prior to that. you have shown that the taliban has taken a bat and tax. after it they were inundated, you have the marines in helmand province actually guarding the opium crops. isn't that counterproductive in the drug war? on the one hand, we have some doing all they can to stop drugs from coming into the united states. on the other, you have the marines actively engaged in the protection of the opium crops in afghanistan. guest: and you he made two points and i do not think either of them is accurate. by 1999 or so, afghanistan was supplying about 90% of the
opium that was pduced throughout the world. the other public that he made, that the marines have been guarding the opium, could not be more untrue. they have engaged in a program that may or not be effected. that program is inducing farmers down in the south and helmand province and kandahar province to eradicate their own products, paying them $300 per acre, basically, to destroy their crops and then giving them alternatives seeds. it is true that they are not taking them to jail or burning their crops, but it is absolutely untrue suggest that they are encouraging for protecting the opium farme -- encouraging or precting the opium farmers. there are a lot of flaws with
the program, but it would not be correct to say the three marines are cobbling the opium farmers -- to say that the marines are coddling the opium farmers. host: we're looking at pictures from this piece on opium farmers in afghanistan. caller: i have a couple of questions for your guest. number one, he, lik e most other commentators- like most other commentators, refers to the taliban as taking profits from the opium crop and using it for the -- supporting -- [stammers] -- supporting terrorism.
how does he rationalize the fact that, like mexico, has legitimized the use of heroin and other illegal drugs and other rest of the world is engaged in seeing heroine as some kind of bogeyman -- boogeyman? guest: i am not sure of the connection you are making. the analogy breaks down. it is true that if we were to legalize marijuana, that would effectively shut down the power of one drug family south of the border. i suppose if we were to legalize heroin, the same thing would happen, except it would perhaps
reduce the power of the taliban, bui do not think it would eliminate it altogether. there are still plenty of other countries where heroin is not legal. i am not sure i quite understand the relationship in any event, i do not rationalize or view it as a bookigeyman. heroine, like it or not, for better or worse, heroin is illegal, so it is a black-market economy that afghanistan's farmers work in. 84% of afghans are farmers. it is a very agrarian economy. fundamentally, afghanistan exists due to a black-market economyhich is not legitimate. i interviewed one poppy former and ask -- former -- former --
and farmer. i do not encourage my son to go to vocational school. we have no engineers or doctors. we have sons who will end up in poppy forms like us -- farms like us. that lack of diversity is not good for the country. host: we are looking at images of a woman, a widow who says her husband was killed by insurance -- insurgents. this is a picture of her as police fought and her fields during a -- flatten her fields during a raid. guest: we went into this
area where there are still a lot of poppy fields, albeit hidden. we went with a group that had been attacked by roadside bombs just the day before. a number of them had been killed. it was nerve wracking to go in this convoy. we set out and it was probably an hour before we began to see various poppy fields. the farmers had vanished, leaving behind wives and children who would be screaming and crying, saying, please, do not do this. this is the only way we know how to make mone it was clear that a lot of the erratic peters, who were young policeman, felt a lot of sympathy. they did not feel like they were doing the lord's work. one of them told me he was engaged in cultivation himself because it was the only way they