tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN May 13, 2013 10:00am-12:01pm EDT
going to happen there has to do with what america wants to happen? host: we're just about out of time, so let's get a quick response. guest: turkey is a very large country that shares a long border with syria. it has concerns about the refugee flows. frankly, countries that are much smaller like lebanon and jordan have absorbed, in terms of the ratio population, far larger population of refugees from syria. they have gone above and beyond the resource capability to do that. turkey is a very large country of 70 million people. the south of the country is large. traditional trade flows. i think they can accommodate far more it they had bigger numbers. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] host: thank you so much for joining us today. we
we're headed to an event at the museum. you can see here that 84 journalists in 25 countries died in 2012. many were in stereo. those highlighted in syria were killed and the line of journalistic pursuit in syria. we will go to the newseum now. todaycome to the newseum for the rededication of the memorial. since is open in 2008, 3 million visitors have seen this memorial that paid tribute to 2444 journalists who have died covering the news. world, a journalist
placed himself in danger every day. some are deliberately targeted. others get too close to danger. while some may be in the wrong place at the wrong time, most are professionals taking calculated risk. they pay with their lives for doing their jobs. the memorial bears the names of reporters, photographers, editors, and others who have died in the line of duty. each year this dedication renews the newseum's commitment to make sure these brave journalists are remembered. this year we have the regrettable task of adding 88 new names to the memorial. 82 were killed in 2012. an additional 6 died in previous years and they are also being
added to the memorial this morning. friends andamilies, colleagues to have traveled thousands of miles to join us this morning for the remembrance of their loved ones. we also welcome back the family and friends of journalists who were added to the memorial in previous years. we thank you for helping us pay tribute. they are among democracies he rose. i would now like to introduce our vice chairman of the board he will introduce our very special guest speaker this morning. brokaw of nbc news came here two weeks ago for a program about our new jfk exhibit creating a camelot. took to speak about
two things. the first was to salute the career of his friend al new tom brokaw also took to speak of engel. a praise, it is an understatement. richard is now the chief correspondent for nbc news. his face has become indelibly associated with 100,000 american viewers with coverage of the iraq war. with the arab spring and the tumultuous scenes in egypt,
libya, and syria. he has 17 news and documentary emmys and is the winner of a special citation for his personal video diary of the iraq war. even these laurels do not get the full story of the self-made correspondent me see today. he is surely one for the history books. said historyhill would be kind to him. he intended to write it. richard did the same. not that he needed any action kindness. he wrote his first book about his life before and after the iraq war. the book drew praise from chris "chriss of msnbc, saying is hemingway country."
struggled with dyslexia. he went to stanford and then in a burst of intuition he decided to become a foreign correspondent by moving to cairo with out really knowing a lick of arabic. he settled in a poor neighborhood to help build a street from the ground up. instead of enjoying the lap of luxury, richard taught himself the culture and language bit by bit. he renders the common people of cairo with a maintenance and compassion. early him struggle with newspaper gave in freelance pieces like some latter-day benjamin frankly. he finally wound up in jerusalem with abc news before nbc in
2003. setreporting from baghdad the standard. he was the only american to cover it all. he tells this story and another be studied byll historians decades from now. at one. keynotes the four psychological stages that all reporters go through while covering war zones. these four stages seem particularly relevant and poignant. stage one, i am invincible. nothing can hurt me. i am superman. isge two, what i'm doing dangerous. i might get hurt over here. i better be careful. stage three, what i'm doing is
really dangerous. i am probably going to get hurt over here no matter how careful i am. stage four, i have been here too long. i am going to die over here. it is just a matter of talent. i have played the game too long. journalisticthe world health care brought word that maybe he had reached stage for m. appeared in syria, richard and his crew were taken captive. after five days they were free relatively unharmed. when a warrare thing correspondent brit in the story. when he went back to syria in it is a storyn the
nation's capital and beyond. .e both want worked for abc it at a famous a news conference long ago, david brinkley was introduced to the network. we are in the presence of greatness. that we to you today are also in the presence of greatness. havesignal honor it is to richard engel. thank you, richard. [applause] >> i am sure the with out words. that was too much. we are focusing not on me. i am very lucky i am still here. we are talking about the people who are on this list and
thinking about their lives and what they did and why they did it. good morning. it is an honor to be here today. this is a somber task but one that is dearly important to me. our little tribe that goes through the war zones is getting smaller. we are being killed off. great for correspondence light marie colvin are no longer with us. she was smart and funny and good at what she did. i remember her from everywhere. while it may seem there are many foreign correspondent running around the world bringing the news, that there are not. the ones that last and stick it out are a small group.
wasmember marie as tripoli falling and gaddafi was on the run and the city was not functioning. we found a hotel in the center of tripoli. it was an air of a mansion with a famousrd next to statue. we decided to rent out the entire thing. there were shortages. phones and network. there is very little food and water. there were gunmen everywhere. it was an exciting but chaotic time. hotel andken this stockpiled it full of supplies, food and gasoline and generators. we have fresh fruit. tv people tend to know how to take care of ourselves. we put up the internet. one day emery and others came knocking on the door their radically to come see how we were doing. they wanted a meal. we let them in.
a big dinner that night. everyone was having a lot of laughs and smiling. this is the most important thing. we were all in our element. we were there. we were among friends and probably the most important family that we got when we are on the road. anthony shadid was also there. it was about a year later that syria andkilled in above zero. i like to of knowledge of family who are here tonight -- syria in aleppo. i would like to a knowledge of her family who are here tonight. if there are other relatives here, i am sorry. i did not know you. i apologize for not recognizing you personally. that iconicfter
dinner about a year later. to give you an idea of how small this community is, i was on my way to the same state costs -- state house that had just been attacked when i got the call saying it had just been bombed, marie has just been killed and remi ochlik also in that state house. we got the notice to not go. they are dead. just been a horrible experience for the country, for our community, for the world. friend war that took my anthony shadid. i think was probably the arabist oferapist -- our time. he was a national asset. what upsets me the most is that he was at the top of his game when he died. he had a new job.
he had a wife. he had a new book. it still sits on my shelf. his work was finally being recognized. him, too. these are greedy wars. they take and they get nothing back. i knew them personally. most of the journalists killed in 2012 did not work for big news organizations. they lost their lives, many of them in places like somalia and syria. if you look at what is happening, we can understand why. somalia has not had a functioning government that is able to dominate all of its territory for decades. syria is the opposite. it had a very strong central
government that is not collapsing into anarchy. i understand why walking around trying to get stories can sometimes cause your lives. i was also held hostage in syria last december. as i sat there, i thought i was going to be added to this list. i was lucky. after five unpleasant days, i got out. there was a gun battle and a rescue and i managed to escape. i was rescued and escapes. weekurned to syria last for the first time since being kidnapped. name added to my this list, i have the honor of paying respect to my colleagues who did not make it. i would like to thank the newseum for that privilege. why do we do it? why do we take the risks?
is it for fun, the venture? is it for the money? there are easier ways of making a live in. thedo it to understand how world. tensions build and snap. we go to where the cracks are, to see how the plates are fitting together. we do this so innocent people have a voice. we show tv pundits that they are usually wrong. we decided this is what we want to do with our slice of time on this planet. there has been some controversy surrounding this event. i would like to address that. there have been some critics who oppose the inclusion of several people who were killed while working for a hamas run televisiontations that
broadcast propaganda. there is a distinction. several people are not strictly journalists. but political activists who worked in the media. just because you're carrying a camera does not make you a journalist. the journalist has a responsibility to seek the truth no matter what it is evenf hurts your cause. they should have principles and beliefs. this is where it gets tricky. who gets to draw the line? several reporters or syrians who worked for media outlets that were actively trying to topple the regime. were they pure journalists? no. but they wanted to bring down a dictator with words and images and that dictator silenced them. outy were speaking against oppression. every year i look at the number of journalists killed and always seems to go up.
i think it is because the media landscape is the coming so much more confusing. in world war ii won their only a handful of journalists. they wore uniforms at the time. more often than night they were tasked to document a military campaign. the british army often called them officials i witnesses - ey e witnesses. the uniforms are gone. it is hard to know who is fighting for what. every camera is a cell phone. today is somber. getting no other way of around it. there is another way of looking at all of this that is not quite so sad. i know a lot of journalists. i spent all my time basically with foreign correspondents in
the act of news gathering. none of them could think of doing anything else. they do not know how. they do not want to do anything else. the people we talked about died doing what they loved. anthony but the middle east. marie ledger reporting. they died in their element. the line of duty. celebrated and honored for that. thank you for mucvery much. [applause]
>> the 88 individuals we honor here today were brought together in a fellowships none of them would have chosen. a fellowship created by their commitment, courage, and ultimately their sacrifice. they spoke different languages. they w in different spheres of news gathering. some of them were known to millions on the nightly news. worked inem anonymity. some reported from their own communities. some of them were on assignment far away from home. some of them a new oven pending danger. some of them were surprised. the common thread that united all of them was their commitment to journalism and the fact that they left us all too soon. toa journalistic mission is
shine light on places where there is darkness, then let the light that emanates from this memorial be a testament to the 2156urnalists and the others whose company they doing today. we will never forget them. and in support of journalist working into the plus situations around the world, i will now read the 80 names of our colleagues who lost their lives and the country somewhere they report it. amamhed.ni in bangladesh, jamal udin. michael cornett.
we thank you all very much for joining us today. richer, we thank you especially for your gracious and inspiring words. we ask that you please allow a few moments for the family members to place roses in front of the memorial in honor of their loved ones. thank you. >> we are goin gto hold an informal support. anyone is welcome. members at anyly time.
>> as this family comes to a close, the associated press is reporting the museum is revaluating its plan to include the names of two people to the journalist marmara today -- memorial today. the are not being added today. several groups have objected to the inclusion of apparently worked for the anetwork related to hamas. at the white house this morning, president obama meeting with david cameron. the talks are likely to center around u.s./u.k. relations along
with syria and north korea. coming up in about half an hour they'll answer reporters' questions during a news conference in the east room of the white house. we will have that for you live here on c-span. also at noon, and look at the prison at guantanamo bay. we will examine the prison as well as mistakes made with interrogation techniques posted by the heritage foundation expected to get underway at 12 noon eastern. the u.s. house is that today at 2:00 for a brief session. business will continue tomorrow. members are going to call for the full repeal of the 2010 health care law. the senate is back today at 2:00 p.m. for morning business only.
it tomorrow they will continue working on the water infrastructure bill authorizing dozens of waterway projects around the country. let coverageweek, is on c-span and c-span2. we are standing by for a joint news conference from president obama and david cameron. it is coming up at 11:15 a.m. until that time, a discussion on syria from this morning's "washington journal." are going to focus on the current situation in syria. joining us is an expert in the country's military capabilities. we begin with a look at the diplomatic challenges in the united states possible role. thank you so much for being here.
the stories that you have been reporting, russia is in a lot of these headlines. cautioned russia over arms. and as the u.s. to lead on syria. let's start with the diplomatic big picture. russia, why. assadsia has been the family biggest benefactor. portstill have a military on the coast in syria. bigia and iran are the backers of the assad regime. moscowave gone to mas appeared his trying to get the buy in and ease him out.
key player that can decide whether the family goes are not. >> we saw an announcement that he plans an international conference to meet with the russians. where does this stand? analysis and in moscow last week. the details are still sketchy. there was an agreement called the geneva accord which is supposed to be the base of a transition away from this government and to bring in a transition. the russians and the americans still have a lot of differences. the russians believe that assad has a sizable support. we want tore saying transition with assad in not being a part. there are still decisions in that part and an uncertainty about what role they should play. .> how does secretary car
manage this? >> it is interesting. senate was headed the foreign relations committee he had a very personal dialogue with the sauce. he would come around the united states. key has been vested in this issue for a while. he is very much talking about a diplomatic solution. is more talk now of providing arms to the rebels. there's more talk of possible military support of some limited amount to deal with the chemica.
.ut to the united states your to was an interesting interview. did they do not believe all this bluster. he must have a reputation of telling people what they want to hear. he is an interesting character. they think you have in the west, there was a hope when he took over from his father that to move be more willing his country away from its task. that has not been the case.
the town is the entryway into lebanon and the valley. for the syrian regime for hezbollah, it is a really important battle. iran strategy has always been to put pressure on israel. as that the syrian regime lange down a marker. they're making sure they fold this area into the valley. this is the main way to pressure israel.
the syrian regime gained ground. guest serves as chief foreign affairs correspondent. he was awarded a press club award last year. let's go to the phones and hear from brian. caller: good morning. i believe that we are already forming the syrian rebels. arming, the syrian rebels. syria is going to end up like regime. an islamic i think all of this will come out. guest: thanks. it depends how you define our mean them. secretary -- arming them.
as of now isry a they're transferring arms to the syrian rebels through jordan and turkey. there has been an arms flow into fighters. the criticism has been that some of these are going to militia groups that are not aligned with the united states. there is some al qaeda elements we believe have gotten. you can have this and egypt.
this has a suit against -- significant influence. was on the cbs program. he talked about the administration's position on libya,places like egypt, and the picture of the region. [video clip] >> i thought it was a mistake in libya. i think it is a mistake in syria. we overestimate our ability to determine outcomes. even if we intervened more six months ago. i think caution in terms of farming these group and in terms of the u.s. military involvement is in order.
>> what should we do? >> why should it be us? arguments one of the we are hearing. what are the incentives and disincentives for getting involved? to be very cautious. the bigger concerns are starting to be clear. this starts to morph with bombing attacks that killed dozens. we have seen elements of the starting to spill into jordan. a conflict contained in syria, and that is horrible itself. the question is how long can the united states not get involved? also the questions of the chemical weapons is a huge beer. there is still a lot of
uncertainty about the government using them and the rebels. huge is still the stockpile fear of it ended up in the hands of al qaeda. the syrian regime does not just have weapons, the have missiles, artillery and ways to deliver them. and a lot of ways it seems like a conflict that is not to wreck this directly, but when you talk about it spilling over, it becomes a true problem. host: rayn of the democrats lined-- ryan on the democrats line. caller: i am calling regarding the geopolitical aspect with syria being his flaws biggest weapons backer.
what with the political impact be if the regime were to fall and iran could not funnel weapons to use against israel? and also, the air strikes in syria that israel carried out to eliminate some of those weapons the israelis are saying they absolutely will not allow the syrians to transport and 11 on? basically if the regime or to fall, are the iranians during to prop up has blocked -- hezbollah? host: got your point.
guest: i think the calller made the point of many republicans in washington calling for much more robust u.s. response inside syria. they know over the past few decades the weapons come from iran, syria, as a tool against israelis. critics of the obama administration will say here is the closest ally in syria. and why aren't we doing much
more to take out assad and break this flow of weapons from syria into levitan to use against the israelis? that is and continues to be a major point that people make. the problem is, what will replace it? it is so unclear. you could have a worse government, and that is not in line with iran per say. they could be justice as a threat to israel or you could have, which i think is a big fear now, the splitting of the country. you have to ask arab analysts what they thought. barring some of huge and provide -- intervention, it will be the splintering of the state with the current regime and ethnically and and with support of controlling the coastal regions and them ability to attack. and areas of the north controlling areas. on the one hand, yes, you can break that alliance that would be a victory in some ways to the united states and israelis. if you have a government that is worse, in the end, it could be just as threatening to the region. that is a big point he raises. host: scott joins us. independent line. go ahead.
caller: the money that was donated, the $130 million given to the rebels, and now they're talking about 6000 or so taliban in with the rebels. i am curious to know who got the money? if we go in there to do anything, why not just go in there and seize or destroy the weapons and let them fight it out for themselves? why should we be involved with anything going on there? if history is any lesson at all, they were fighting over their 3000 years ago. i do not think much is going to change 3000 years from now. guest: you made a good point because that is why the administration has been so cautious, the idea that if we send weapons, money, and funds, who will get this? so far it has been largely humanitarian aid. there is talk of night vision goggles and body armor to the rebel fighters. so far it has guarded against
what you're talking about, is weapons moving to groups we did not support. there is a discussion in the administration about going in to secure the chemical weapons stockpiles. that is not we will walk in and leave. it is a difficult intelligence target to figure out where they are. and the regime, if you were to attempt something like that, you would basically be coming face to face to some of the most antagonistic voices in the united states, and that would not be a walk in the park. you talk about why are we involved at all or why we care? it is a balance between these
are our national interests, religious tensions playing out. why get involved at all disappointed many people in the administration are talking about to some extent. at the same time, if you were take this very hard line and say whether the national interest is there, there is still a question of the potential that this conflict could spell out to the very important area of energy. the close allies and israel and jordan. a very difficult conflict to just ignore, even though a lot of people would like to, i think. >> arabs ask the u.s. to lead on syria. why? and what do they want? interestingf the things and what makes it more
difficult for us to engage in this conflict is there is unity amongst the arab states and turkey that they need to go. they all believe this regime has got to go. he is killing sunis. there is deep divisions between our allies, arab allies, and turkey, about whom to back and support. you have rarely seen it splits. on one hand you have catarrh and turkey being the most aggressive as far as moving money and arms into syria, and the criticism amongst the allies about these countries is they tend to be supporting groups that are islamic in nature that these countries are strongly we have a separate block of jordan, the uae and saudi arabia that are the closest allies in the region coming to the white house. they met with president obama and leaders from all three countries to say you have to
unify much more aggressively all of the neighboring states against groups that will not promote extremism, that will not be a threat to the minority groups inside syria. and president obama needs to be much more in the lead to you by these countries and will not allow you to support groups that can be a threat to us in the future. so there has been tension between the obama administration and key allies since the arab spring because they did not feel they do not feel they did enough to support them. of the white house did not see it or appreciate it. now they say we told you you would have these problems and you need a much more direct leadership role to make sure some of these more threatening elements are kept in check. host: cheap corn -- chief foreign affairs correspondent for "the washington journal."
frank in longview, texas. caller: thank you for taking my call. i appreciate you being on. i wish we had more channels like this to which we can put in our opinion. i think sending arms and food to the opposition, they should know exactly where it is going and who is getting it. everyone expects the united states to do it. i am a full-blooded american. i just did not understand people. i just do not understand people that get on this thing and get the black start talking about
this discrimination and all that. my parents came from the old country back at the turn of the century. if we are quantico in there, we need to go in there. if we're not want to go in there, we need to back off. to go just to be clear our callers were talking about the question of race and the imf. there were just making comments about the perception. we appreciate your point of view on syria. guest: that is a big issue the white house is grappling with. we have fought wars in afghanistan and iraq. there is a real wariness for another conflict in syria and is this something that is really in our national interest? can we afford it not? the point he raises is something that is legitimate and goes back
to the last question, which is we have these extremely wealthy states that have a more direct challenge, whether it is study arabia, the uae and are asking us to lead the conflict. if they cannot unify amongst themselves, how are we going to go in there and bring about a stable government when the neighbors are divided. it is neither here nor there. there will not intervene at all. there is talk about some sort of escalation, particularly because of the threat of chemical weapons.
at the same time he still did not feel there is a question any shape or form to do what we did in libya, and a lot of that is because we do not feel it is a unified front amongst the arab states. we do not see unified opposition and there is not a sense of who would benefit from what we were to do in the country. host: jay solomon wrote about president obama and his comments on syria. he wrote the president said the white house needed to further prove serious security forces gased security forces and rebels. tell us about where the president stands right now and the concept of a red line and how significant it is. guest: i think it has turned into a pink line or disappeared. last year the president was very much if we see movement of chemical weapons, that is a red line, even though he never defined what it was. the use of chemical weapons. now it is a massive use of chemical weapons.
when the intelligence committees, the white house sense -- send this letter to congress saying there is a belief or there is evidence that the regime had used chemical weapons on occasions, i think this is a point where a lot of syrian rebels or opposition said now is the time to get the support, the red line is crossed. you get a sense it is becoming much more unclear. you did not hear the chemical weapons debate as much as you did a few weeks ago because there is more evidence it is so murky about what would actually in the white house mind be a conclusive proof there was chemical weapons used. you had one of the u.n. investigators say she believed or there was evidence opposition used it. i think the president was very
strategic in saying -- answering in a very big way -- vague way. i think that red line of the chemical weapons usage has been very muddied now. unless there is an explosive conclusive report, i did not see that being used as a might have been in the past as a justification to do more. host: fred and pennsylvania. good morning. caller: a few calls back he dismissed the idea of splintering syria. i think he used the word splinter. and why not redraw the boundaries of syria based upon the reality of today's ethnic and religious realities? after all, syria is an artificial creation of the end of the first world war 100 years ago. why not accept the realities today and end the bloodshed by
dividing syria as did the great powers divided parts of africa and asia in the 19th century? that was my question. guest: interesting question. in some ways what you described is not happening without us micromanaging or overseeing it. we're seeing it different parts of syria breaking it down. this is powerful in the coastal areas, and you see that as becoming the space. so in some ways that is happening. i think if you take a big setback like the calller did,
are we seeing a breakdown of the system that was set up by the europeans after the empire? that is why it is so dangerous, whether it is this bill into jordan, and jordan splits up along ethnic or tribal lines, in the same with levitan. this is something the calller would have to answer later. who will pay for this massive, or how will you unified the community to enforce -- you would have to go in and police what will be a fractured state, in some ways what happened in the balkans. that could end up happening by necessity. it could still take a while before that happens. i do not see us going in and setting new lines. the reality is, i think you look down the road a couple more years, you could see the u.n. backed by the western powers and the only way we will stop the carnage is to police the country along the lines that the civil
war dictated. the falcons took four years -- balkins took four years before there was intervention. i think the a administration is embarrassed that they have not been able to do anything to stop it. the conflict basically bleeds itself out. we'll see the country emerged in a fractured state. at that point the international community is forced to create a new reality in syria. it may not be drawn up by us, but like the calller suggested, it may end up being policed by what emerges after more fighting. host: she foreignness bears -- chief foreign affairs correspondent at "the washington journal." the last american newspaper reporter to interview president
assad. last year got the national press club award for interviewing him. caller: i want to tell you a few points. obama is a weak man. no. 2, i am a syrian. i am a doctor. i am a former professor. we lost faith in obama. i am a muslim. the man is we, and when she washy. the iraq war he did not have the balls and find to say yes or no. god love him. he vote against the war and wanted to impeach bush. and i do not think he has guts. obama is weak.
either leave or we bomb you. and clinton had results. you know what? miller said it more rigid former communist is russia i am a syrian. my family is slaughtered every day. the united states government not to you or me once syria to be destroyed. if you mixup between ethnic, the arab muslim are suny. -- or suni. you know what? i am open-minded. my favorite saying --
host: you have given us a lot there. let's get a response. guest: stressing what the calller talked about represents the real frustration. -- i think the calller was talking about represents a real frustration here did you spend a lot of time among the refugees and there is a real frustration with the united states of we are being massacred, the united states is not doing anything. just on the humanitarian level there is a rage that is horrific. the united states is not doing anything to stop the tragedy. some of president obama is close eds -- close aides, whether it is mrs. rice or others that need to protect civilians. it is interesting to watch.
some of the officials have this history sitting on a policy that is sitting it out as this horrific violence goes forward and this humanitarian tragedy. there is still a question that the iranians, the bush administration and the obama administration have framed hard conflict as a regional conflict, a battle for influence. and the iranians are actively inside syria. they are providing trainers, but soldiers, technological support, funding. they are shipping and arms, energy. they are heavily involved russians are antagonist of the united states and continuing the shift of ballistic missiles -- strategic missiles. in a world where we have this
nf it out when in a country like iran is heavily involved? i think the speaker reflects the tension. a problem if you go in there, it will not be an easy conflict. i know there are many people in pice whremember whereagan the end of the civil war. and you saw the bombing of the u.s. embassy in beirut and the bombing of the marine corps barracks, which was housing the u.s. headquarters in the deaths of to wonder 41 americans. the conflict, the people we would face, very similar to what we rick bass and other non. they are a mix of agents, and a conflict with them would be very bloody.
takeover code to john mccain, a former presidential candidates. -- host: we go to john mccain, a former president attended it. he accused the joint chiefs of staff of looking for ways to avoid imposing a new -- no-fly zone in syria. >> they took out assets in syria, which is what we could do with patriot missiles. and that obviously close of hold a mile wide and the joint chief of staffs. if you do not want to do something, they can find reasons not to do it. >> he said that israel provided strikes last week. shed light on that for us. what is his perspective? who agrees with him, and why is israel involved? guest: i think what he is referring to and what we've seen since march 11 is the pentagon is urging real caution. of first there were reports
saying we do not see any real evidence that the rebels are holding ground. you can talk to journalists who say they are holding real ground. then there is talk about air defenses of syria and how difficult that would be for us to attack or take out syrian assets because of the sophisticated air defenses that the russians helped develop. one of the big stories last week was the israelis have been telling the united states the russians are getting ready to sell anti-missile, anti air- defense systems to syrians that would make it much more difficult for us to do for intervention and this is a big issue with the russians. if you are going to argue we cannot do it, what the israelis have done over recent years is suggest they have been able to
penetrate the air defenses. the syrians have got much better. the most famous was in 2007 when they took out the nuclear reactor being built. i think there is still a question of the israelis seem to be able to penetrate to some extent, and so can we. the broader point is what could you hit? what was the result be when you became a party in the conflict? even the senator is not saying we should -- he is the buildings. he has said you should go in and secure chemical weapons sites but not sent in u.s. american troops. that issue is still very unclear. i think a lot of talk is that we have to go in. we do this with jordan and some of our allies. when you get down to the nitty gritty, it is still very unclear. >> our guest had a story this
weekend. and russia will ship missiles to syria, something he was just talking about. the story says the russian announcement comes as a snub to the u.s. and allies. what are you going to be watching now in terms of diplomacy, the involvement, the potential u.s. russia meeting. what is next? guest: the secretary says he is committed to hosting or co- hosting the conference at the end of this month in geneva to bring together regional powers. an outstanding president is whether the iranians will be involved. to bring in the regional powers of the various opposition groups. what i am watching is negotiations back-and-forth between the americans and russians. the news of the system being sent to russia. a lot of analysts think they
want this news. it is a way to say where supporters of the regime. maybe we will not send these in there, but what we get back? do you agree with that? even many critics or enemies of the regime believe they may be hold a third of the country's support because his own clan, christians and minorities are very nervous about the government coming to power. i think you will see more of this, this kind of negotiations or haggling with the missile system. and this is something discussed between washington and moscow. the british prime ministers in washington just came from moscow last week. i think they will discuss a bit more about rush show and what they will or will not do. it will be interesting to see if
the united states invites them into the conference. i think they are seen as the biggest benefactor of the regime. can you create a diplomatic path without bringing in the iranians? the interesting thing is they brought in an ambassador to be did you head on afghanistan and pakistan. he was the first u.s. official after 9/11 and the strikes in afghanistan to really work on setting up a post-taliban government. he worked very closely with the iranians. he was out of office the last pass -- the past few years. he is been a big and critic of not bringing them in. that is another thing we will watch for. will they try to bring in iran and what is the debate between russians and americans, and how aggressively does president obama try to get him to force
the arabs to a unified front and force turkey to not support groups we think could be hospital or could be problematic if it will go? i think these are the key blocks to watch in the next few weeks. the other question i find really interesting is how the regime will continue to finance itself. this is not an oil-rich country. the estimates are 3 billion-$4 billion. that is it. how do they keep going? we know the russians are supporting them, but we also know they have their own financial troubles. will it be a situation we're he basically -- people try to wake him out and wait for funds to dry out. and that it will all play out. host: david and all pass so, texas. democrats. -- david in el paso, texas.
caller: you are letting this guy give a lecture on u.s. policy that is retarded. host: let's not use that word but you can still express your opinion. caller: syrians did not call the u.s. president a coward and everything else when he sounded like a terrorist trying to get this country. if he feels so strongly about syria, he should go back to his own country and fight in the civil war and set of hiding out in this country and calling this president a coward. host: what do you think? caller: i disagree with him saying iranians are the enemy and that we have some type of duty to go to syria. if those terrorists and extremists and even the willing
people trying to get rid of assad, let them do it. that is what happened in this country. others came to help and were giving support. it will be another arrack. nothing can be determined by us. we are not gods of the world to tell people what will be in their country. it is not going to work. guest: i think the calller misinterpreted me a little bit because i was not in any way advocating we go in there. i was trying to describe how complicated and complex any intervention inside syria would be in describe why there is this reticence to go in there. at the same time, i even tried to describe the carnage continues and still over the
border, there is a high likelihood at some point there will have to be some sort of international intervention to stop the fighting. i agree with him that it is a very complicated crisis and very difficult. this is also a big debate inside the administration. the power that is pushed to engage the iranians to negotiate on nuclear programs, to get some sort of cooperation and a rock in afghanistan and maybe syria, so far it has not worked out. -- corp. in iraq and afghanistan and maybe syria. you look over the relationships over the past 30 years, it is hard to say we're not enemies with each others, given the amount of conflict that has taken place. there is a debate, which he discusses can they be brought
into the fold? that is still an issue that is being discussed. host: 80, republican. -- andy. caller: when obama asked -- talk about going into afghanistan as being one of the legitimate war in the arab spring and everything happening over there, i was wanting to ask the question, i was wondering if your speaker has any thoughts about how egypt and everything else going on, how his role in history would play out, and how everything that was going on in
the middle east and everywhere that is going on over there, and all of the things that were going to play out over there, how everything will play out, how he was actually going to end up having to turn out to history. if he could have a comment for that, i would like to hear what he has to say. i will listen to him off the tv. guest: that is an interesting question. the past 10 years you have had the invasion of iraq, that ended the regime. there is a respect -- perspective that removal of saddam hussein and a shifts are the precedents that sort of the era of the spring -- of the arab spring. when you look down the road 10- 15 years from now and try to assess how well president obama did this, there will be huge historical changes going on in
this region. internal conflicts, a change from the system of the strong man that had run the place in the last century. i think as you step back, the question of how much one president could really change what was going on in such a historical level might be questioned if it was even possible to have that much of a say on who was gunned to come from power in egypt. it was clear to come to power in syria. i think they will probably be criticism on a micro level of there has been so much bloodshed in syria. there has been -- the egyptian economy is in a shambles. i think there will be a criticism that there was not a more active role to a least manage it, to a least try to
keep some of the more realistic approaches for a buffer zone or no-fly zone or at least humanitarian aids where people could go to areas they will not get killed. this is something not rebid -- rebuilding the whole country like we tried in iraq. similarly with egypt, you just did not see it after these revolutions much financial support or engagement as all -- at all like you did in the cold war, and as a result, at you do not see the islamic government really coming through and understanding how to manage the crisis. you do not see the opposition there. i think that would be the criticism if you took a step back. maybe the wider trends were
something that no president can dictate to, but at the same time there has been a more activist role to try to shape things and keep the death toll lower and manage the economics of this in a better way. host: a couple of people riding in and saying this -- tweeting in. jim says do not confuse a revolution with a civil war. and former defense secretary gates talked about question of revolutions and reference to the american revolution and other revolutions that have happened and said they're often -- attracted and incredibly bloody and use the american one as one that happened in a comparatively short amount of time. we have a definition of what is happening in syria? when we use words like revolution in civil war, does that change how we look at it? >> it is a civil war. it started as a my old uprising that the president is widely
seen to of this managed. but this was not necessarily going to be a national revolution but crack down so hard that it fed into it. now a civil war, but even more nasty because it is a regional proxy war. use all the arab states active in funding certain groups. you see militia inside it. a civil war that has taken on a brighter -- broader conflict already. it says you cannot manage these things and do not want to get involved. i think because of the regional implications of will be impossible for the international community to stay out for the long term. it is already bleeding over the borders. >> steve in lawrenceburg, indiana. go ahead. caller: yes, i would like your guests to explain the difference
between sunis and shiites. host: the differences between them and why it is significant. guest: the split goes back thousands of years. he wanted a different line. basically it is from real centuries old splits of the power after the profit, died and who would lead an islamic state. what you have seen is particularly in recent years, real battles for controls. they are shiite-dominant country trying to split and spread the influence us major backers. they are major backers of the militias and political parties
inside iraq. the conflict, while so old, if you trace it back to the real crucial point in the past few centuries, it was the work where you have the united states in the gulf states backing saddam hussein against the iranians. that was right after the islamic revolution inside iran and that fed what we've seen since 1979 in the rise of the islamic republic. we have seen them really try to spread the influence. levitan and the palestinians territories and a rock and syria. -- iraq and syria. you see them try to push back the influence. that is why it is such a nasty conflict. it is a secretary and regional conflict, that has ethnic and
tribal elements. the united states is in the middle of it. it is not something that will be solved in a few years. it has been playing out for a long time and is likely to. when secretary gates talked about getting involved in the cereal war, it is more than the just that, getting involved in a regional conflict. and how much can we really shape it. and a lot of ways we are still trying to police it. because of the religious element, there is no easy answer and a lot of ways. host: david from arkansas. you are talking to jay solomon of "the wall street journal." go ahead. caller: as an individual watching things happening in washington, i would never forget
when barack obama made a statement that i did not really quite understand, and that is he was going to transform america. when he said that, of being conservative and not supporting his liberal viewpoints and looking back at the people that taught him, the communist, there is no dispute about this. that is the way he was brought up. it worries me because i never really thought he could have with as many elements of government, i never thought he could have the impact he has had on the entire world. now in studying these things and listening to book reports and watching c-span and reading different books about this, it is shocking to me. not only is he transforming our country, destroying our economy,
running the country, but the worst part is that is not bad enough. host: going back to syria. do you take issue with that? detail that for us. caller: on c-span last night as sell a book, i think it was the forgotten nation. it talked about the history of the middle east and how the obama administration has pulled as back and basically let the middle east a story itself. that is what is going on. host: ok. david think that is what is going on. the present is ok with flooding the middle east the story itself. guest: that is in the criticism we have heard, but there has been a huge shift in the arab spring.
a lot of people draw similarities between the end of the soviet union and the heavy involvement of the united states and europe in trying to manage what would follow the soviet union and heavy investment and heavy involvement of u.s. government agencies and you have seen talk from the obama administration of setting up funds to help egypt, and the big question is how much do we get involved to stop the civil war? i think obama has been in a difficult position and that you have a country very wary after three middle east wars to do anything that expansive that we did over the past decade. i think any president in his position would face the war weariness. then there is the economics of how to get involved and how much we can really pay for a heavy
effort to restructure the economy and help fund the egyptian economy. i think whether it is legitimate criticism, whether the arabs are very oil-rich have been pressing us to do more and we have not been able to do -- to get them to play a bigger role, or help finance the restructuring of the egyptian economy to at least unified syria on some policy and not choose different choices. i think the criticism of obama not being as active as the bush administration was, the first george bush administration, the fall of the soviet union, is a legitimate one, but also, if you look at the context of where obama sits in history with the financial problems, the fact we are active in libya, it is a very difficult sell in the united states for either party. even republicans are not calling for us to go in with troops. maybe air strikes, armed shipments, and more aggressive
diplomatic leadership role in getting the arab states themselves to fund or arms various factions. it is a difficult time to face the consequences -- crisis like this. take a some of the followers are talking about refugees and asking questions about what can be done. matthew asks, what is the u.s. during for jordan, turkey and other countries? give us a sense of where refugees are going, and what our role is? guest: the main refugees are in turkey, jordan, to some extent live and on. i think now jordan has 500,000 refugees and are worried if you go up to 1 million. for a country of its size, it is straining and such an important ally. the refugee issue is a real one. the king of jordan was in the united states a few weeks ago
with president obama saying what we need is a much stronger support to help the refugees because it could be a threat to our own systems because we cannot find it. you are seeing camps being set up. in jordan particularly. there are various arab nations that finance their own camps. secretary perry announced last week another $100 million from the united states for the refugees. -- kerry announced last week another 100 million from the united states for the refugees. erecting these camps being established on the border areas. and the u.s. and european and arab states starting to fund at the camps. i think the worry is there is still not enough money and attention has caused the bombing and has set of conflict between
syrian reduce and turks say in your presence with the bombings. the jordan -- and jordan there has been riots involving the refugees say we are not getting enough. that is a real problem and something that will play out for a while. and i think whenever there is a refugee crisis, you want to help them, but at the same time he worried these refugees can become permanent, can become a factor internally that destabilizes the country with jordan. i think is a particular issue because you already have a delicate balance between tribes and the palestinians and islamic elements to support the muslim brotherhood already having aggressiveness toward the monarchy there.
>> after the bombings in boston, we americans were grateful for the support of friends come around the world, particularly those across the atlantic. in a moment of silence, the race was dedicated to boston. it david will be visiting to pay tribute to the victims and first responders. . want to thank you our two people stand as one. david is here as he prepares to host the g8 next month. i appreciate him updating me on the agenda as it takes shape. the summit will be another opportunity to sustain the global economic recovery with a focus on growth and creating jobs for our people. michelle and i are looking forward to visiting northern
ireland. i know it will be a great success under david's fine leadership. on theussed moving transatlantic trade and investment partnership. our extensive trade with the uk is essential. it supports more than 13 million jobs. i want to thank david for his extreme support. i look forward to negotiations with the eu in the coming months. i believe we have a real opportunity to cut tariffs, open jobs, and make all of our economies more competitive. with regard to global security, we reviewed our progress in afghanistan were our troops continue to serve with extraordinary courage alongside each other. i want to commend david for his efforts to encourage greater dialogue between afghanistan and pakistan which is critical to regional security. as planned, afghan forces will take the lead across the country
soon. u.s., british, and coalition forces will move into a support role. our troops will continue to come home and the war will and by the end of next year. we work with our partners to make sure that afghanistan is never a haven for terrorists. given our commitment to the middle east peace, i updated david on our efforts and the importance of moving towards negotiations. we reaffirm our support for democratic transitions in the middle east and north africa, including the economic reforms that have to go along with political reforms. we discussed syria and the appalling violence being inflicted on the syrian people. together, we are going to continue our efforts to increase regine ton the assad provide humanitarian aid to the long-suffering syrian people, to strengthen the opposition, and to prepare for a democratic
syria without a sorrow shot -- assad. that includes bringing together people in the regime to agree on a transitional body which would allow a transfer of power from a sought this governing body. to thise, -- from assad governing body. where wesed iran agree to keep pressure on tehran for its continued failure to follow nuclear regulations. finally, we are reaffirming our commitment to global development, specifically we are encouraged by the ambitious reforms underway at the global fund to fight aids and malaria where both of our nations are
stepping up our efforts. david has made it clear that the g8 summit will be another opportunity to make progress. it so, david, q i very much as always for your leadership and partnership -- thank you very much as always for your leadership and partnership. it is clear we face a demanding agenda, but at the history of our people show anything it is that we persevere, as one of those on london runners said at the marathon -- we will keep running and keep on doing this. that is the spirit and confidence and resolve that we will continue to draw on as we work together to meet these challenges. david, thank you very much and welcome. >> thank you for the warm welcome. it is great to be back here in the white house. thank you for all you said about margaret hatcher. it was a leisure to welcome so many americans to her funeral in the uk i absolutely echo what you say about the appalling outrage in boston.
i look forward to going there to pay my tribute to the people and their courage. we will always stand with you in the fight against terrorism. thank you for the remarks about the cricket and the basketball. i have not made much progress. i made a bit of progress on baseball. i read a book about it this year. maybe next time we will go on that one. it is good to be back for the first time since the american people return due to office. as you said, the relationship between britain and the united states is a partnership without paradox. day in and day out across the world, our diplomats and intelligence agencies work together. our businesses trade with each other. in afghanistan, our armed forces are defending the stability that will keep us safer. in the economic race, our businesses are doing more than $17 billion of trade across the atlantic every month of every year. in a changing world, our nations share resolve to stand
up for democracy, enterprise, and freedom. we discussed many issues today, as the president has said. but me highlight 3 -- the economy, the g8 thomas and , and syria. this means dealing with data, restoring stability, getting our economy growing, and seizing opportunities to grow our economies. president obama and i both championed a free trade deal between the european union and the united states.
this a deal could bring will take ambition and political will. it is worth the effort. it could be worth up to 10 billion pounds per year. we discussed the g8 summit in some details. we met on the shores -- when we meet on the shores five weeks from today, i hope we have ambitious action for economic growth. we need to make sure everyone shares in the benefits of this openness. justin are advanced economies, but in the developing world to. -- in the developing world, too. we need to make sure that all companies pay their taxes properly and enable citizens to hold their governments. today, we have agreed to tackle the scourge of tax evasion. a new mechanism to track where multinationals make their money and where they pay their taxes so we can stop those who are manipulating the system unfairly. finally, we discussed the brutal conflict in syria. 18,000 dead.
5 million people forced from their homes. syria's history is being written in the blood of her people and it is happening on our watch. the world urgently needs to come together to bring mckinley to an end. none of us have any interest in seeing more lives lost -- to bring the killing two and and -- to an end. none of us have any interest in seeing more lives lost. we have an urgent window of opportunity before the worst fears are realized. there is no more urgent international task than this. when he to get serious to the table to a national government that could win the consent of all the syrian people. there will be no political progress unless the opposition is able to withstand the onslaught. we will also increase our efforts to support and shape the moderate opposition.
britain is pushing for more flexibility in the eu arms embargo and we will double support to the syrian opposition in the coming year. armored vehicles, body armor, and power generators are helping councils govern the areas they liberate. they are dealing with the influx of refugees. they are caring for trauma injuries. syrian families need clean water and access to food and shelter. there is now, i believe, common whatever our differences, we have the same name -- a stable, inclusive, and peaceful syria free from the scourge of extremism. we now need to get on and do everything we can to make it happen. thank you once again for your warm welcome and our talks today. >> thank you. we have time for a couple of questions. we will start with julie.
president.u, mr. i wanted to ask about the iris and benghazi. when did you first learn that the irs was targeting conservative political groups? do you feel that the irs has betrayed the public trust? what should the action be? i don't benghazi, e-mails show that that state department seems to be more closely involved with the talking points than first acknowledged. do you think the white house misled its public in shaping the talking points? or do you maintain the assertion that the talking points were not meant to downplay terrorism? is the eu -- if the eu arms embargo and---embargo lapses, are you encouraging president obama to take the same steps? irsets me take the situation first. i first learned about from from the same news reports that i think most people learned about
this. i think it was on friday. this is pretty straightforward. irs personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been and wereon intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that is outrageous. there is no place for it. they have to be held fully the irs as because an independent agency requires absolute integrity to rid people have to have confidence that they are applying it in a inpartisan way -- the laws a nonpartisan way. you should feel that way regardless of party. i do not care if you are a democrat or a republican. at some point, there will be
at some point there will be democratic ones. either way, you do not want the irs ever being perceived to be biased in any -- and anything less than neutral in terms of how they operate. this is something that i think people are properly concerned about. conducting its investigation. i will not comment on their specific findings prematurely, but i can tell you that if you have got to the irs operating in anything less than a neutral and nonpartisan way, then that is outrageous. it is contrary to our traditions. people have to be held accountable and it has got to be fixed. so, we will wait and see what exactly all the details and the facts are. i will not tolerate it and make sure that we find out exactly what happened on this. weh respect to benghazi,
this argument that has been made by some folks, primarily up on capitol hill for months now. , herehave just got to say is what we know. americans died. in benghazi. what we also know is clearly they were not in a position where they were adequately protected. the day after it happened, i acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism. what i pledged to the american people was that we would find out what happened and make sure that it did not happen again and make sure that we held accountable those who perpetrated this terrible crime.
that is exactly what we have been trying to do. over the last several months, there was a review board headed by two distinguished americans. they investigated every element of this. what they discovered was some pretty harsh judgments in terms of how we had worked to protect consulates and embassies around the world. they give us a whole series of recommendations. those recommendations are being implemented as we speak. talkinge issue of points, frankly, throughout his process has been a sideshow. this process has been a sideshow. what we have been very clear throughout is that immediately after this happened, we were not clear who exactly carried it had occurred, what
the motivations were. it happened at the same time as we have seen attacks on u.s. embassies in cairo as a consequence of this film. and nobody understood exactly what was taking place during the course of those first few days. the e-mails that you allude to were provided by us to congressional committees. they reviewed them several months ago. they concluded that, in fact, there was nothing a file in terms of the process we had terms of thein process we had used. suddenly, three days ago this gets spun up as if there is something new to the story. there is nothing there. keep in mind, by the way, these so-called talking points that 5,e prepared for susan rice
6 days after the event occurred, pretty much matched the assessments that i was receiving at that time in my presidential daily briefing. two toep in mind, that three days after susan rice appeared on the sunday shows using these talking points, which had been the source of all of this contrary, i sent out the head of our national counterterrorism center, matt olson, up to capitol hill and specifically said it was an act and that extremist elements inside of libya had been involved in it. so, if this was some effort on our part to try to downplay what had happened or tamp it down, that would be a pretty odd thing that we days later we end up
putting up all the information that, in fact, has now served as the basis for everybody recognizing that this was a terrorist attack and that it may have included elements that were planned by extremists inside of libya. who executes some sort of cover- up or effort to camp things down for three days? the whole thing defies logic. the fact that this keeps on getting turned out, frankly, has a lot to do with political motivations. we have had folks who have challenged hillary clinton's integrity, susan rice's integrity, mike mullen's integrity, it is a given that mine is challenged by these same folks. they have used it for youraising and, frankly, know, if anybody out there wants weactually focus on how
make sure something like this does not happen again, i am happy to get their advice and information and counsel. of the mattert is that these four americans, as i said right when it happened, were people that i sent into the field. i have been we were not able to perform their deaths. everything we can to make sure we prevent it in part because there are still diplomats around the world who dangerous, it difficult situations. we do not have time to be playing these games in washington. what are we doing to protect them? that is not easy. it will require tough judgment and calls. there are a bunch of diplomat who knows a