tv Author Doug Stanton on Horse Soldiers CSPAN January 27, 2018 8:01pm-9:06pm EST
clerks been here since the beginning. >> be sure where exactly we are going. >> we are going to the mountains . >> the name? the name m. beginning. > 15,000 taliban. >> cannot believe you are going to do this. clerks stay there. oh god. clicks next, here from the author doug stanton with his conversation of the movie. it is from the 2010 tucson festival of books. this is about hour.
>> good morning, everybody. we're here at our beautiful sunny tucson, arizona looking out on a great looking audience. of course, everybody joining us at home on c-span. groggy having lost one hour of sleep except here in arizona were we don't have daylight , savings time. that is why i am looking at bright eyed and bushy tail so let's day gaulle of the people from the festival it is a two -- it is day two of the amazing event here in the tucson premier must festival in the at home on c-span. country. of course, the great part of what is going on here in arizona. let's give them a big round of applause. as i said yesterday, we ended us
to come up but there is a new streak of good book festivals that has just begun. maybe just as important. we are lucky to have doug stanton here with us today. take a like to moment of personal privilege to introduced someone who is here in the audience. i got to know him when i wrote a book about his background. the original, berlin candy bomber. during the berlin air raids, he and his wife, lorraine. [applause] and he is a truly great historic interesting book and to our conversation about today's american military, and some of the differences and molarity. alex, we are very lucky to have you here. doug stanton is a master storyteller and is had a pretty amazing career.
bringing people together many places around the world. he is a writer who has worked on travel, adventure, he wrote his own book about world war ii, he has done things like play basketball with george clooney for a story, or taking acting tips from harrison ford. and of course, his book that we are here on stage to talk about, about thediers," opening days of the war in afghanistan. time after 9/11 which we have been living with for the better part of a decade to read we are very lucky to talk to him, so please join me in welcoming doug. [applause] thank you. we are all here and excited to hear about the horse soldiers in afghanistan. here infor the reaction the audience, they want to hear about playing basketball with
george clooney and getting acting tips from harrison ford. talk later today, about how to make a living as a writer, which may be an oxymoron. do that i attempted to by working for magazines for a number of years and traveled around the world. writingfacility for celebrity profiles,, and you always want to do something with the cover start. something that you think they may have not have done before. i reached the apex for that when asked harrison ford teach me how to be angry on screen. in the process of telling me that he did not want to teach me how to be angry, he got very angry. [laughter] on purpose. and i thought, it is quite amazing to see someone who is no in control of their own facilities and voice -- but how
did i get from that to afghanistan? that is the thing i am still trying to figure out. i think what it was was that i never treated those famous people -- i always wanted to know what they looked like when no one was watching them. that is how i approached my role as a storyteller, trying to tell stories to people about people that we do not often really get to see or glimpse. book,it was world war ii way." "in arm harm's experienceved by my working with those veterans who when i called up on the phone, were often home and it was not easy for them to talk about this very trying time. if you remember in the movie, , the cap teen quinn is a fictional survivor of the war. dropping anut
atomic bomb and then getting eaten by a shark read in my editor told me that i need to go to annapolis and meet these folks -- i thought he was kidding. i thought they were made up in the movie. that is how out of touch america was and how out of touch i was. essentially they do and the war by delivering atomic components which are drop over japan. so i should let you know, they really exists. and as you know, it into this world of your grandfather's generation or your uncle's, going to each kitchen table around the country and doing those interviews, telling them to tell me what happened. it is a story about these men, and later their wives, facing the team existential moment.
facing who they are and how they are going to survive this. and they accept this for the rest of their lives. some of these guys were 16 years old, left for five days without being rescued by the navy and pacific, finally picked up after 900 men out of 1200 were killed either by sharks or two p doing. -- torpedo in. some of them were court-martialed. one of them committed suicide in 1968. the story lived on and on. but in the kitchen tables, it was always the wives standing at the sink doing the dishes, it turned out, doing my interviews. interesting.is is the reality was that it were actually hearing the stories often for the first time as well. so one of them in florida would say, i think i got out of the
navy, then i moved in -- then his wife would interject and say, no holland, that is completely wrong. and sometimes it would tell me what is going on when the ship sunk in 12 minutes -- it sounds quicker than it takes to get money out of the atm machine. go quiet, and the story would begin to emerge of how this -- who these men were as human beings, as american citizens, our fathers and grandfathers. i really tried to show their point of view. 2001,t when it came to that challenge has set for myself is whether i could do that for modern soldiers as well. what i did not understand, and you may have found some of those challenges as well, when you interview people of that generation, they are typically retired. . they always took me to dinner and paid for it at the red lobster, whenever i went to interview them. it was like interviewing my
grandparents -- [laughter] calling a man in his early middle age, a part of his special forces group out of kentucky, a part of the u.s. military that has never cooperated with any writer in any kind of way that i wanted to do it, like i had done with a world war ii veterans, which was -- i don't care what kind of batteries you use, the caliber of the alamo -- i wanted to know what did you do it for you deployed that day on october 19, 2001? were taken aback by this, because it was a question about their humanity and how this change them as fathers and sons, and citizens. theuse to me, that is central thing that we need to digest and ponder, as we are, our own citizens and taxpayers -- which is, who are we sending overs these to fight these wars?
-- overseas to fight these wars? pointthem from our of view, but what is happening on the other end of the world? what do the afghanis think? what do the pakistanis think? in a big nutshell, it explains how you can move from writing magazine pieces to world war ii and modern soldiers, to tell a story as if you were hearing it on the kitchen table. and it was epic and yet very intimate and personal, about a subject you probably would never let up on the magazine to read about. this special forces group from , united states academy, centcom, aspects warfare -- the impersonality of all of this, i wanted to strip that away and this story somewhere else,
to the hearts and minds of all of us. i think after 9/11, i know where i was, you probably do as well, i was getting coffee. getting out of my truck, and i stopped. thisand i thought, how do i tel this to my children? is no way soldiers," is a way for me to articulate my century.e, in how was it created? how was it stopped. -- too you do to need a neutralize it? host: you do that, very well. do you remember where you were in 9/11? i am sure everyone at home watching us remembers.
for these group of people, the afghanistan when the invasion was not in the hundreds of thousands, but in the hundred. their lives were about to change, where were they on september 10 to september 11? what was going on in their lives? what were those days before they deployed like for them. doug stanton: it is a great question. it is really what we are reading about now, and where our tax dollars are going. likeay things "unconventional war, or ." onventional troops ,"oving forwardness symmetrical lines and fighting an enemy -- "symmetrical forces ," are an untold part of our
united states army. instead of being dropped behind enemy lines to foment resistance among disparate groups of people who might not have similar aims but have a common enemy, as we did in world war ii, just to overthrew the nazis, they were dropped into afghanistan, to try to get these warring tribes to stop fighting each other long enough to point in one direction, at the taliban. their mission was very clear and very big, and kind of unprecedented. for two reasons. special forces had never been deployed as a lead element in the united states history, ever. i mean, they always were an add-on, the thing that came in offr you read they operated to the margins, certainly out of the spotlight of the news. so everything you read in the book we didn't know was going on at the time. this means on september 11, they are training on a river in
-- their training in a river in kentucky, doing an infiltration with a show next helicopter from the 100 xt national operations 160th special operations aviation, their blackhawks were really the best in the world. they were doing this routine mission, dropping the zodiac off the back of this chinook helicopter, and this guy, cal --ncer -- he is deployed now maybe 11 or 12 times since 9/11, well over 40 years old. the chief foreign officer, smart. they get caught in the fog in this river, and they almost get run over by a tugboat and they
have to anchor. they forgot to bring their winter clothing, so they were basically hanging onto the raft trying to make it through the night and get home and get them coffee. and cal wanted to go home and have a martini, it on the couch and watch his favorite tv show. in some ways, they were headed for this philosophical boneyard in the united states army, there was really no place for them in the world of tanks, armor -- back in the truck entering on the radio and the hear this thing happening. and they know immediately that something is going to happen to them. but they do not know what it is. if you remember back then, if you looked in the pentagon on how to invade a country, there was no plan for afghanistan. plan b would have been to a mass 60,000 troops from a neighboring country and send them in the red
the invasion of iraq in 1991 -- like the invasion of iraq in 1991. so there was pressure for them to do something soon. it seems to be that america was behind this move, and they had to do something. so tommie francis's plan was thrown out the window. they had to do some engineering within this russian forces community and these guys got the job. -- the special forces community. there were told that their job was to go into afghanistan, kick the taliban out of the country safe, capturelace the city of mosul sharif in the north, then they can go to kabul,, kandahar -- safe kandahar, and then off to the next. he forgot to mention that he was talking to only 12 guys.
cal spencer, who just a few weeks earlier had thought he was getting too old for this stuff and was just on a training mission -- in the end, they plannershed what thought might take 1.5 years, and they did it in a little more than six weeks. involving about 300 personnel. it is not exactly accurate, the reality is that thousands of conventional people followed shortly thereafter. the reality is that it costs roughly 100 million dollars in the beginning. they pushed the taliban out of afghanistan and they went to the training camps and did it in a way that all of the none of us in this room know or don't really know much about what these guys do. or cannot talk about. the point of the book is to make that real. andrei cherny: they've literally were horse soldiers, that is how
they did it. in a time of tanks and technology and planes, they were writing on horse back. it is interesting, when we think about americans fighting in the world, large numbers of american forces fighting guerrillas out there, this is the reverse, right? .e were that guerrillas we were the insurgents in afghanistan? stanton: we do not like to think of ourselves that way. there are some very important people in this story, part of the cia and paramilitary teams who had gone in earlier and make things happen with these disparate warlords. we had some lines of communication still open. without pointing these people in the right direction and getting them to stop fighting each other, you could not have received this resistance among the local grassroots level to go
after a common enemy, that taliban. so it was true, the united states and the afghans were the underdogs. he did not have the armor, and the air. that came later. so how they did this is the story of the book you read if you look at this room, we would come in here you and i and a, we are going to take control of this room. in a benign way. [laughter] say,uld look at it and this gentleman here, his issues are this. he wants that. he is fighting with this person here, i would want to know what language you speak, what language you speak's, who your children were -- i would know so much, and that is what the special forces are trained to
do, the area of assessment and language skills are my two basically walk into the language space and be able to understand what the centers of gravity are. it really means that this is a social -- that you approach conflict and violence from the point of view of a diplomat, anthropologist and sociologist. , as manyou understand people in the book told me, that it is the roots of this violence and this insurgents, they are social in nature. it person in the book said is more like teen pregnancy and drug abuse, then it is, they, bank robbery. which also has its roots -- you rob banks because you need money. that, asu understand readers and as americans and taxpayers, you can stand back is not, the goal here just to go in and kill everyone and bombed the country back into age, is it worth it in
afghanistan to create political and social change? that is a question we have to ask ourselves. and if the answer is yes, you need to take a look at some of the new thinking coming out of the military and the army. i have to say, it was interesting, andrei to talk to these guys, some of their thinking was so forward. it was so leveraged in the worlds of anthropology and sociologist, philosophy and language awareness and we had the theme -- they seem to be missing in our parts of american sociologist. abel who say, get out of afghanistan immediately, and that is the debate nowadays -- have they really stops to ask, what would happen if we did that? who is the person living on the other and of that idea? i mean, what do the afghans want? went to the women want in afghanistan? that is the key
question. what do they want? what wethe end state of are trying to achieve here? andrei cherny: another question i would like to get to, 2010. let us talk a little more about the book itself, before we get there. what we are trying to achieve here? andreihow -- you talk about goio these people's homes and sitting with them and conversing with them. of had access to a lot social information that is things like nobody else had before you came along. talk about the actual research project of leasing a book like this together at a time when we are still at war with afghanistan. doug stanton: it was a challenge. it took five years to write. i thought i would be going to interview people at red lobster and going home. i was naive. but there is no simple question when you are a writer and journalist. it is not a stupid question. general, it was clear to the
people, that i was trying to interview, that i was truly interested in the character, the humanity and the nature of their ideas and their mission. that it was not just about a book. them up," it was aimed at men and women in the country who is they read it would understand something that was important that it happened after 9/11, in a way to neutralize the conflict. here we are in 2010, still talking about afghanistan, but at a shining moment in history, it did work, and i thought that it was an important story to tell. people always ask me about the mechanics of being a writer -- i have been in harms way, -- i wrote "in harms way, which was successful. it was adopted by the united dates navy in their reading list, and i thought that the book had done something in the waysuccessful of something that,
my magazine pieces never would do. it showed me that being a storyteller, you can actually move people in a way that i found important to read a book about community, ultimately. countrypped that to the inn and suites off exit for, in kentucky, and i got on post. i called the special forces officer for the press and they did not have one. this was how unprepared they were to even be in the spotlight. after a while, -- and i made repeated trips there. -- i a while, you show up have to say, when you are a reporter and dealing with people like movie stars, you can never really figure out everything that will happen, or that based day. dealing with the united states military, if they say that they will be there at noon, they will
be there. it was very refreshing to do these interviews, and i kept showing up. i thought that i was not crazy. the adjutant adjutant in the headquarters, which is right off the church there, he said, just walk around. go into the room and you say, i am looking for so-and-so. i would go into the team room and knock, and i would say, i am looking for so-and-so -- the guy said, he is not here. who are you? said, -- i liked to tell them what my goal was to rid and after 10 minutes, he would say, that is me. [laughter] he goes, you found him. and i say, ok. so, it was a lot of shoe leather. i asked questions that i think
-- i remember asking: oh mark mitchell, he was a major back then, i said, what did you do on the afternoon before you go on the plane to fly away? and he said, we went to burger king, then i went home and watched the tnt channel -- watched the tv with my daughters . and i thought, i did not read that in the paper. that made him real to me. it made this whole global conflict, this sense of bloody chaos really -- i wanted to know the character and nature of this man. group of people, americans who answered the 9/11. and in preparation before he gets on the plane to fly overseas, he goes to burger king and watches the disney channel with his daughters. if you can touch on those
something, does don't you think, mysterious? it shows us our commonalities. even something as innocuous as that. andrei cherny: absolutely. i think it shines a light on making these people real. when you look back over the past 10 years, we have seen everything that happened. for all of these people, when he was staying at home watching the disney channel, he had no idea what was going to come next. and this was the number into october of 2001, all of this was just beginning. part of the book about the special forces, a big part of that is the cia, which you mentioned briefly. i think when a lot of people ," they think "cia of analysts somewhere sitting kind of computer or james bond. but as you said, these people were in their bitterly days
there thatre in early days after 9/11. talk about their story as well. doug stanton: they had these language skills and had opened these lines of communication with that was backs and the zbeks and thehe u tajiks who were operating in the north. and they said, if you cannot get everyone to get along, you cannot from a unified front and overthrow the bad guys, in this case, the taliban. the afghans do not want to support the taliban. even to this day, they have maybe 5% or 10% support in the country. thethey are there ahead of military by days and weeks, then these errors, people talked about mitchell -- he comes in later -- they get in the
helicopter in uzbekistan where they are based, and the connell says good luck -- the kernel says good the colonel luck. they knew that it was real. these guys were trained to actually not need the strongest people in the room, although they often are. what is interesting about their training, is that they are really trained to recover more quickly than the other person from failure. it is such an interesting idea, which is why i thought the story was interesting. if you keep putting a person into situations of failure over and over and over, and you watch how they risk want to that, do they just crumble and collapse or do they rise up and prevail on those circumstance, that is the person you want. in some ways, it felt like
eating a writer -- [laughter] mean, i remember driving from takingcall after part in something known as robin sage, which goes back to your question about what kind of business you do. almost all of the special forces teams said that "robin sage," prepare them for what happened in afghanistan. i started to study it, it is about two weeks, 24 hour live action scenario of being in a foreign land called "pineland," with its own and some, its own politics, operating as wide a guerrilla camp. chiefu have a guerrilla which translates for an afghan were lord, or someone in bosnia, a professional belligerent whom you have to get along with, in
order so that one, they do not kill you and two, so that change happens. so i am reading up on this and the hear that if the warlord or ief, likes to be given gifts. lantern, because i was going to live in the camp and examine them and watch this and learn. i wanted to serve the central idea, on an emotional level. inns, is setg cap captains, their job is to navigate the woods. this is taking place over a large area, thousands of acres. they have to navigate and it feels like a real war. the former will drive in on an
atv and bring news from the outside world, and the special forces team along with the local resistance was it, what is going on? what is president so was so doing? what is happening in pineland? medics,ame time, the who has never done this in the real world, is doing fake dental work on the kids. in the mountains, and the farmers son or daughter, they have grown up doing this summer they go along with it. even though they do not really understand. so they say oh, you have a cavity here. well, i can take care of that. tell me, we hear that so and so on this part of the county is creating problems for us to riyadh what do they want? so they are gathering intelligence at the same time as they are giving active the community to read so their inns are all as one. -- they all have the same aim.
are moving all. it is much different than going in and knocking in the door and saying, tell me what is happening. so, the paramilitary teams had that same rapport. rapport is a very big word in this world. building rapport with the people around you so that you are on the same page. so, the paramilitary teams had part of these people that they were encountering in afghanistan of course, where the taliban. one of the characters in the book which was fascinating to many of us was the american taliban -- john walker lindh. you really tell his story as well. andrei cherny: at the same time as you are telling the story of the folks fighting on our side. who was he? doug stanton: john walker lindh grows up in california. it is interesting you asked that, if you saw the news today about the jihad jamie, following
on the hills? jane? heels of jihad and the young men from new jersey who was i think somali, who went to the same town in yemen to study -- he told his parents that he wanted to go to yemen to study the real arabic, getting it straight from the horses mouth so to speak. so, john walker lindh was far ahead of the curve but he does the same thing and ends up in the crosshairs of the afghan war . he had gone to study arabic in yemen and he ends up, because he does not -- he actually ends up laden's brigade. he ends up in this fortress in maz-el-sgarif.
and he is discovered there. shocking the world, how laden'ss california and ended up in this fortress. so he is in there because he represented -- at the time that book, hising the story is less unusual, is what i am trying to say today. the are finding out now that will seem to be attracted to this trajectory, it is interesting that he left a very permissive environment, in california, and ran straight one ofe arms of probably the least permissive environments in the planet. this, speculate on all of tragically, one of the first people to be killed after 9/11 was an officer named mike spann. he comes face to face with john
walker lindh. that journey is one of the arcs in the book as well. andrei cherny: i have many questions from the audience and i would ask able to start lending up if they could. at the microphone here to my right. as they do, let me fast forward a bit. you end of the book with a quote from one of the sergeants, who says, "you will not be able to say today or tomorrow, if it was thing, as they did in 2001. you will have to go back in afghanistan, 10 or 15 years from now, and say, was this right? next year, it will be 10 years from the initial invasion. talk about what is happened in the past 10 years, and when these guys look back on it, what are they saying now about whether it was right? doug stanton: i think they would
say, yes. some of the people who started talking to me about iraq, whether it was going right or wrong, whether special forces. in other words, they were very in tune of the session -- with the social nuances of this problem. a social group of people around the globe who want to do you harm. if you want to boil it down, this is what it is about. i think more people need to be leaning in on these ideas if we are going to solve -- i think people who want to work for peace, need to study war as much as the people who study war need to study th -- peace. it is like playing only the lack or white keys on the pr now. this is a problem, to say that war --not believe in >> i would like to write an op-ed about this. it is like saying, i do not believe in fire but yet the
house is burning war -- down? doug stanton: it does not matter if you believe in violence and the war. it exists and we need to come to terms with it and do something in our own way to move the needle in one direction as the or the other. what has been fascinating when dealing with this community is that these people have thought deeply about what people fight. i think that is on the journeys of four soldiers, my own education in that. today, if you look at december 1, president obama's beach, the announcement of 3000 more troops, general crystals earlier request in august of those troops, the waiting out of the counterinsurgency program -- you do not eat in that program upfront, headlined, much of this talk of the unconventional approach to this as a "social problem here: i think that those things are there.
problem." l you have to remember, this would be -- i do not even know how to describe it -- the fact that these people are fighting with the taliban, is because they do evenhink that fmap karzai knows that they exist. the folks he has empowered they feel, are so corrupt. for him to show up, it is a symbolic act. to sit on the floor with 400 of these guys and tell them, tell me what problem you have, it is on earth-moving symbolic gesture. we are hearing from the foreign that we needo said to start dealing with the taliban, the ones that work for dollar ideology. the 500 million dollar package which was announced in london with members of 70 different nations to kind of work on a
peace and reconciliation fund, there is another community defense initiative going on, all of these things are trickling. when you leave here and start reading the news, you can heighten your reader a little bit. ask yourself, what is the nugget of what is happening here? how is change that in created, and what do i need to know, what do any to do, to grasp of the situation. andrei cherny: i know that there are questions coming. i would like to pick up on the last point, it brings it back to when i introduced someone at the beginning of this program. when i was writing "the candy bombers," i was writing it at the same time that we were watching what was going on in afghanistan and iraq. i got the sense that there is a difference between winning a war and winning eight nice. -- winning a piece.
a peace.g it was more complicated then winning hearts and minds, it was about changing a psychology. and it's seems like one of the things we have not been able to do in afghanistan, has been to change that psychology. do you think the reason we are still in the situation that we are now, is because of a lack of work on the security side, pulling away troops from iraq, and not being able to change the conversation really? >> number one, when people say that we have in in war in afghanistan for 10 years, the reality is that it is not true. we have been in war for the past few months in sporadic periods of time. even in 2008, no one seems to be complaining. then suddenly, when the
president asks for 30,000 more troops, everyone wakes up and says, what has been going wrong there for so long? why are we doing this now? often when people say, are we even in afghanistan? it is hard to think of now, the guys it is dominating the news. the question is, what is the end state? what was interesting about "the the cialdiers," and personnel, and the conventional troops who were there later, they did not want to turn the place into annapolis. that has never been the point. the point is that this is afghanistan and they do not want the taliban in power by and large. what is going on is that it is picturing a country where girls can go to school in. greg mortensen has done them fascinating work in this area, he is basically a civilian special forces kind of person.
in other words, if you read his looks, understand them, distill them -- his books. they distill what some parts of the u.s. military is using to create change. of idea is that instead going from the top-down, hitching your wagon to a corrupt government in kabul, which for a number of reasons cannot reach the hinterlands, you go tribe tribe, valley by valley, person by person. it is very time intensive. you the to speak the language. you need to know a whole bunch of half which we are not really training as a matter of course in the army. but we need to catch up to that. how long did it take for anyone to march to selma for civil rights? it took years and decades. the question is, what is our timeline here? what are we willing to do as taxpayers and fellow citizens to support this? i do not have an answer.
that is how i think people should look at it, it is generational. notional. it is not going to end up looking like minneapolis. little girls standing on the side of the road will not have to shield their eyes because somebody in a black truck is drive-by and throw acid in their faces because they are young girls going to school. that gets me hot. that gets me angry. andrei cherny: clearly, we have gone through this situation in a there is are i think lot of discussion right now about our role in afghanistan. that was not even true a couple of years ago. a lot ofhere was a division about iraq, about whether we should either or not. there is a fair amount of unanimity that afghanistan was the right war, the just war,
that we were bipartisan on that issue. president lead up to obama's decision in december of 2009, and in the months since, we have seen this rolling debate. what do you attribute the change to? doug stanton: a lack of understanding what the real problem is to react that it is not -- war is politics by other means. what americans have to come to grips with is that war is also political change, and there are certain parts of our society that use violence and chaos to create that change. but that is not what this problem is about. it is about a country that is strategically placed on the globe, which the whole globe has in it not devolving into chaos.
and that the people there would like it to be different as well. it is getting stuck in this -- when i hear some of the debate on both the left and the right -- we either need to bomb it into the stone age, or we need to pull out. week.ut next fine. what about the little girl standing on the side of the road, what are you going to do about her? do you have responsibilities? that she does not getwhat aboutl standing blinded eye a cup full of acid to ask ourselves, what do women want in the country? they probably want the jihadi's out, they want karzai out, they want the misogynists out of their life, which week them as chattel and so on. andrei cherny: question. guest: i have a simple question. who are the taliban? controlhey get to be in
, how are they different? are they indigenous to afghanistan? how is it that they are different? how did they get to be such in oppositional thing to what you describe as the majority? doug stanton: the taliban, it is joining the club of , that you believe that afghanistan should be governed by is certain set of laws. not only are students -- not only are they pashtuns, but we are talking about other ethnic groups in the country. you have to ignore orders for a moment and think about the border of pakistan for example, the border is irrelevant there. they are being fed either from pakistan or growing within afghanistan. they are afghan citizens, but your question really is -- if
they are not popular, how are they in control? what we used to say about vietnam, adjust your preferences at night. they come into your house mumperg the throat of a of your family, or slitting your throat, terrorizing you -- a member of your family. if you read that david rose peace in the new york times after his release from seven months of captivity, he was shocked to hear that the taliban an-arab impulses, and that they were providing goods and services in the hinterlands, that the hamid karzai government could never do. so i am going to come in and terror rise and at the same time i will run a legal system and banking system and employ you, and you will live with that. until something comes to neutralize the death grip of that i have on your life.
>> i am not sure you can answer this, but you probably have an opinion. in view of the success of the cia and the best russian forces troops after 2001 -- special 2001, troops just after why wasn't this strategy followed again when we went back to afghanistan, when the idea is to win the hearts and minds, especially through a recent salish and, instead of sending in 30,000 troops? doug stanton: it was not employed before the planned for 30,000 troops, it is because -- this,e been talking about and it has continued to sound fascinating to me, but it does not sound fascinating to a lot of people in the military. because what you're really saying is that this kind of thinking is not about being conventional in your approach. it was a hard sell, is what i am
trying to tell you, as a doctrinal end of approach to solving this problem. people say, what happened? resources to iraq and elsewhere, a power vacuum opened up and the taliban rushed in. so now they control about 30 of the 34 provinces. adjustingjust about everyone's preferences than creating a shadow state which allows you to kind of live and breathe another day. say, it seems that we may be tilting back to what we have been talking about. if you leave here today and you start to read the newspaper, look for this stuff. people say that it is a social problem, a political problem, we went to work with the taliban, we want to stop working with the taliban, at $10 per day folks. again, it will take a long time. the question is, what is our patients? and the answer is, i do not have
an answer. i could ask you about 16 questions, but i know that i am not allowed to. doug stanton: keep it to 15. [laughter] couple. will just ask a the first one is about the language, when these special forces first went there, how they dealt with the language problems. the second is about tora bora. we have a correspondent who was in the midst of the battle a few years ago and he gave a talk here, a first-hand account of what happened there. third, charlie wilson. one degree of separation from him, i know someone who knew him. that we have been involved in afghanistan a long time, before 9/11 and before
anything else. about women.now is i feel very strongly for women's rights. egypt wasin demonstrating in the 1920's for women's rights. but her great granddaughters now, have hijabs. toas on my way to kuwait visit the university there for a ank and on my way in, i met american engineer from texas. it was the time of saddam hussein. but heflying to iraq couldn't, he had to fly to kuwait and then from there, commute to iraq. i met him on the way back and he was there to fix their offshore rigs which had been damaged by iranians. he came back, and he was amazed by how liberated the iraqi women were.
he had an iraqi woman engineer in blue jeans, and a t-shirt, running in front of him up and down. not like thats any longer. while we may have fixed some things, we have really damaged a lot of other things. andrei cherny: that is a very good question. bora and the, tora language. guest: you can pick which one you would like to answer. doug stanton: language. the cause it a good question. the truth is that there were not darilly large amount of speakers, they spoke arabic and french and other languages, so they used translators. there tokey in being read helping out this way.
let me jump to the women's thing. half the population of amazing -- -- it is why are they being treated this way? let me ask you, how do you stop this? the question is, how do you create change so that women are not treated as second-class citizens in that country? we are not going to get to the bottom of this right now, i just so that some of you know, in some parts of where sharia law is being enforced, you paint your windows black so that men walking outside cannot see the women inside. it is akoni and, it is -- it is draconian. it not even in the last five centuries -- --
>> i tell you, it is a very complex question. the reason that egypt went to the way it did and what became more conservative, is that it was on the long way to progress and was very european. moving that way, then instability happened, the war and once that happened, the army took over basically. it interrupted or disrupted the progress of what was happening. so i think, stability is a very important thing. stanton: someone asked earlier about the taliban, where they come from. basically, they arise out of the cold drawn of the hellacious civil war that vaporized the social fabric of the country. after the u.s. and the soviets pulled out in 1989. >> you are right. in the absence of stability, the
ironclad rules and laws and akoni and measures put into place -- draconian measures it place, to control people -- anyway, it is a good question. host: thank you. place, goe more question ahead. guest: you were talking about what we can do to help out standard is that to send everyone over there who believes in the sharia law, they need to get over themselves. that is the snotty answer to react now this is my question. not everybody there must be so intolerant. i wonder if it is possible to draw something that someone here suggested about how to lessen
the influence of right-wing radical thinking people, is to draw the moderates of whatever group you are looking at, into some kind of project, where you share valleys. i wonder -- where you share values. actually my original question was, is anything that you were mentioning working from the bottom up, is that still going on? doug stanton: it is going on more at the hyper level, yes, thereforces in thei working. afghanistan is a country built on consensus. they have the leaders sit in a circle and figure out what they are going to do, then they try to do it. often it changes and then people to not do what they are going to do but it is a country of consensus-making.
to go back to the question about the taliban, typically in that society, you go with the winner. so what is going on right now with the counterinsurgency, ared karzai and the afghans seeming more and like the winner -- more like the winner then the taliban have. are seeming morethat is right you a0 troops? crackdown,d to the the police force and the army, and add security. then, from the grassroots, autumn up, working from tribe to tribe -- bottom up. is a tribent, there that said that they were so disgusted by the taliban a couple of weeks ago, that they were going to fight them no matter what. if the u.s. wanted to help out, great. they did not care. it turns out, just recently, in the last week, the two sub
tribes of this tribe are now fighting each other, and based stop fighting the taliban. this is again, a problem that they have to solve. what we have done throughout is that the little is that note of discontent would be ironed out by the special forces thinking. >> we will take one final question. another speaker will be speaking in half an hour over at the integrated learning center. >> i very much enjoyed it, thank you. how much is the opium trade having an effect on the economy of afghanistan and how is that intertwined with our task of changing the psychology of the people whose life depend on it? >> that's an excellent question. i mean, recently, there was a $100 million aid package to bolster pakistan and afghanistan
agriculture that some of the people who were in the book have been communicating with me about, and they think it's very important. here's why. like in marjah, opium is extremely popular as a cash crop. it does not mean everyone there is using it, just they are growing it. if you want to go back and look what happened when the soviets pull out and the discussion of agriculture in the social fabric, etc., etc. so if you can replace the poppy with something else and this comes from the government, you legitimize the economy, therefore you legitimize the government, and the people have to either get with the program or not get with the program, and that would mean they would start to cleave away from the taliban and the opium and get with a legitimate. so money, while it is very expensive, is cheaper than the alternative, which would be to hammer at this from the outside with bombs and bullets all the time.
so it's a two-pronged approach. so yes, the economy and agriculture, because again, you want to look at this in its totality as a society -- -- you want a whole societal snapshot and what is symptomatic of the problem. agriculture is illegitimate. the government is not providing goods and services. all the things we have talked about. when you read in the newspaper, they are giving all this money so they can grow wheat instead of poppy, your first response should not be, what a waste of time and money, how is that actually going to get rid of these insurgents? in fact, it is going right to the heart of the problem, i think. >> doug stanton is going to be signing "horse soldiers" in the madden media tent, tent b, right outside to your right. please join him there. if you are at home, go online or your local bookstore. "horse soldiers," a fantastic book. thank you for a fascinating
discussion. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] on newsmakers this weekend, our guest is oklahoma senator james and off, the number two republican on the senate armed services committee. he talks about the effect of short-term spending bills on military planning and readiness. and national defense strategy overall. watch the interview tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span.
pres. trump: where are you from? come here, come here. >> the moment itself, i describe it as a disarmament. it was a describes -- a surprise when he pulled me over, but he is the president and you are in the oval office, so if you says, who are you, come over here, you don't have many options. ," the irish on "q&a journalist katrina parry talks about covering president trump and his supporters for the irish media during and after the 2016 presidential election in her book. >> drain the swamp, three words, is incredibly evocative. ,t is what it says on the pin you know immediately what he is talking about, playing on the notion that d.c. was built on a swamp. by draining it, taking the horrible people that live there and replacing it with better people. that was something that either
-- that whether voters believed him or not or believed he could for phil that were not, they were prepared to take a chance. announcer: sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's q-and-a.org -- c-span's "q&a." >> the president of the united states. announcer: tuesday night, president trump gives his first state of the union address. previewon c-span for a of the evening starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern, then the state of the union speech live a 9:00 p.m. following the speech, the democratic response from congressman joe kennedy. we will also hear your reaction and comments from members of congress. president trump's state of the union address, tuesday night, live on c-span. listen live on the free c-span orio app, and available live on-demand on your desktop, phone, or tablet at c-span.org. announcer: a group of people were ie