tv Washington Journal 03182018 CSPAN March 18, 2018 7:00am-10:01am EDT
at the vietnam war as part of our new weekly series 1968, america in turmoil. by author joined david marinus and former senator and vietnam that are webb. ♪ host: good morning. the flags over the u.s. capitol continue to fly at half staff in honor of louisiana representative louise slaughter. she represent of the rochester, new york area since 1987. congress facing yet another deadline this friday to pass a spending measure and avoid a government shutdown. lawmakers will be voting on a spending plan that would fund the government through september 30. later on in the program, we
begin our nine part series, looking back. 1968, a year in turmoil. we begin today with analysis of and why 1968 was a turning point with the announcement that lyndon johnson would not seek another term. first, the president, the mueller investigation and the firing of the fbi deputy director. want to get your calls and comments. is our one for democrats -- is our line for democrats. (202)-748-8001 for republicans. (202)-748-8002 for independents. the president seeing the mueller pro -- saying the mueller probe is a witchhunt. thank you so much for being with us.
let me share with you the tweet from the president. the mueller probe should never have been started and there has been no collusion or crime. it was based on fraudulent activities and a fake dossier paid for by crooked hillary and the dnc and improperly used in the pfizer cord -- in the pfizer sa accord.fi this is the headline, trump lawyer saying it is time to end the mueller probe. we will get to your calls and comments. (202)-748-8000 for democrats, (202)-748-8001 for republicans. first up is joseph from new york, republican line. caller: it is a witchhunt. it has been a witchhunt from day one. directornd the cia have been involved.
a bunch of guys who think they are smarter than everybody else. the people voted, continue from there. host: what would you tell robert mueller or andrew mccabe? caller: i can't tell them anything. it is up to the government. i would tell robert mueller to sit down and cease and desist. host: your final point? final point, they are looking at the wrong people. this should be looking at themselves. we have found the enemy and he is us. the president's lawyer saying in part, i pray the acting attorney general will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the fbi office of professional responsibility and the attorney general and bring an end to the alleged russia collusion investigation. next is our democrats line.
caller: i follow politics closely. i looked up the word politics in the dictionary and it means people. if i had to summarize this administration, i would say that it will turn out to be the most corrupt in modern american history. that is all i have to say. host: thank you for the call. day in russia and joining us on the phone from moscow is new york times reporter andrew grammy. we know the results of the election. be thestion is what will percentage of the vote for vladimir putin and what will another six years mean for the russian people? guest: thank you for having me.
the voting has been going on now full day,for almost a considering the time differences with the far east and first turnout figures. it suggests that turnout was above 50%, so enough for mr. to win-- for mr. putin in the first round of the selection. turnouts.uestion was there have been efforts to get polls to appear in the were the outcome of the election is known. you have a lot of apathy. there was a gymnastics class andide one polling place other activities to lower voters in. votersr -- loure and. host: -- voters in. host: the turnout was heavy and
crummy. can you explain -- heavy in crimea. could you explain? guest: putin was running on this record, the record of having reintegrated crimea as russia sees it. this is an important element of his campaign and may also point to what we are going to see in the next six years in the absence of much economic growth in russia. onin's popularity rests nationalism, populism and the idea of restoring russia's greatness including his expansionist projects like what and syria andea actions in europe. the russians have denied any involvement in the poisoning of a former spy, but this type of
assertive russian foreign policy is also underpinning his popularity at home. host: what type of opposition is he facing in the polls? guest: there are a number of canada's front against him, but none of them stand much chance. there is the perennial candidate from the communist party which is not likely to be very successful and interestingly, the daughter of putin's former boss, but also not likely to win a significant amount of the vote. the main opposition candidate was banned from running and his supporters have found to boycott, but early results suggest it will not be successful in terms of disrupting the election. it is not clear how many people are boycotting. host: andrew kramer, so much
attention on what is been happening in the u.s. -- ce, germany is that getting any attention in russia? guest: it is, and i think it inyed into putin's hand domestic politics because he has been running as a defender of russia, as the figure who can best man the walls of the as he presentsss the position of russia and this came up in the week before the election. in as a chance for putin final move before the election to show his strength and his resolve against the west. host: moving ahead, six years will be the next term after winning, today.
what is his objective, domestically? what does he want to do? guest: he has stated goals, including improving economic growth in russia to above the average in the world, and adding gdp by 2024. it is not clear he would be evil to achieve either of these in the economic sphere. in foreign policy, it is anybody's guess what will happen ,ext, but what we can count on an aggressive and antagonistic foreign policy. host: and with regard to syria and north korea, what does it mean for the u.s.? guest: it means that russia's position will have to be contended with in syria, in particular. earned a place at the
negotiating table through its military intervention in syria. in north korea, i think russia's interests align more with the nnited states in preventing a escalation of conflict. what time is it now in moscow? guest: hello but after 2:00. host: and the voting will wrap -- it is a little bit after 2:00. host: and the voting will wrap up when? guest: it will wrap up in the westernmost region of russia, around 8:00, local time. host: andrew kramer, the moscow correspondent for the new york times. his work is available online. thank you very much for being with us. guest: thank you for having me on. host: back to your calls and
comments on the miller probe, the president called -- the mueller probe, the president calling it a witch hunt. there is this tweet from bill king. as far as the mueller investigation goes, it ain't over until it is over. president trump does not seem to understand that, but he will in the end when he ended -- when he is indicted. from robert, mccabe is a condemned liar. he has no credibility to testify against anyone. senator charles schumer calling for an end to the investigation, he says mr. dowd's comments are another indication that the first instinct of the president and his legal team is not to cooperate with special counsel putin but -- special counsel
mueller but to undermine him at every turn. the president, the administration and his legal team must not take any steps to with or anderfere the special counsel's investigation or they will be severe consequences. is it time to end? that is our question. mike on our republican line, thank you for waiting. caller: thank you so much for c-span. your ghosts -- your hosts, your guest and her audience. i think this -- and your audience. i think this mueller probe is a witchhunt and i think it is very unfortunate how what has happened here, and i think they have continued to go down different roads and paths just to get him. if you look at the people that mueller has on his team, they are all solid democrats.
this weisberger such an aggressive prosecutor that the supreme court had to admonish him a couple times. -- time in a 920 decision one time in a 9-0 decision. it is very unfortunate that they get go after anything to him, including looking into finances. have absolute power, unlimited resources, it is a waste of taxpayer money. i do hope that they have a second special counsel because there are things that have been going on in the fbi and the department of justice that are completely an american. when you can go after a political opponent with impunity and a lie and put things in that arefisa court
unsubstantiated and not reveal them and have people like mccabe out there who has accepted money and not even reveal it energy is himself when he should have, these are things that are making us look more and more like russia. host: we're going to move on. we are going to davis from north carolina, democrats line. caller: good morning. trump did a witchhunt on obama for years, telling a lie that he was not born in the united states. nobody trying to stop it. he knew it was a lie. that man is so comical that they made an episode of the simpsons about him becoming president and the people in this country voted to put that man in office. that man cannot talk about obama because he is an idiot compared to obama. host: thank you for the call.
aaron blake of the washington post, this is the headline, trump calling for an end to the mueller probe. it is all about the aftermath. saturday was a day in the russia investigation that we pretty much knew would come, just not necessarily when. it was the day when one of president trump's lawyers said that special counsel robert mueller and the russia investigation should be shut down. insisted that he was speaking only for himself and not as trump's lawyer after initially saying the opposite to the daily beast. the practical difference is nil. this is a member of trump's legal team floating a reversal of the team's long-standing policy of cooperating with robert mueller's probe while suggesting it would find nothing. dowd implying nothing valid could possibly come from the investigation and it seems to lay the groundwork for either firing robert mueller or political clash over anything illegal that mueller does find. the full essay is available at
washingtonpost.com. jay from kentucky, independent line. to say thatst want from the start, the democrats have been playing on the ignorance of the american voters with these charges. one somebody comes candidate for the two major parties, either one of them, they get approached by business leaders and members of state and local governments and foreign governments and if you read books dealing with relations with russia, you will that other candidates have been approached, too. most americans don't read a lot of books on russia, so they don't know that. host: from pennsylvania, john, republican line. caller: good morning. i called then almost immediately when trump announced his presidency and said i would never vote for him. i am a registered republican and
i went to the casinos, two trumps casinos in atlantic city and he filed for bankruptcy at all for those casinos and yet he to hise to hold on helicopters, his jets, his yachts. the people that built the casinos were never paid. he is a lying thief from day one and if you look at the election election,om the past in new york, where he was well-known, where he lived all of his life, he could not get have as many votes as what hillary clinton did. in new jersey, he could not have gotten elected dogcatcher. he had to go to states where they did not know his record to get elected president and then get help from vladimir putin. let me just give you an idea of
what trump was all about. when you went into the trump plaza, you went up a long escalator to the get -- to get to the casino floor and there was a big sign across the escalator, toll out -- total payouts for today. it would be at $5 million according to what time of day and gamblers would be saying if i could just get a little bit of that payout. let me tell you what a payout is. that meter that was recording those payouts. if you went into that casino with $100 and you played that $100 and you at $80 left, then you put the $80 in and when you were done, you had $50. $100, you knowd you have lost $50. recordingeter was what hundred $30 and payouts. $80 when you played the first
hundred dollars and then $50 when you played the second $80. host: we go to james in california, the question is the president calling it a witch hunt and time for it to end. your thoughts. james on the democrat line. caller: i don't know any more than anybody else about whether or not it is a witchhunt or not. hopewant to say that i trump goes down in history, that is the worst president, because we have the teapot dome scandal, we had jackson disregarding the orders from the supreme court with regard to the indian problem. i hope and pray every day that donald trump goes down in history. host: a couple tweets. this is from jan. if there is nothing there, how
-- how come there are guilty pleas and a grand jury? this referring to a former caller -- an earlier caller who said he does not remove or watergate which took years to get the facts out. the hill newspaper has published a statement by the president's attorney, john dowd. hopeads in part, " i rosenstein will follow the example set by attorney general jeff sessions and bring an end to the alleged russia collusion investigation manufactured by andrew mccabe's boss james comey based upon fraudulent and corrupt aussie a." -- corrupt dossier." next is frank from pennsylvania. caller: good morning. aboutd the fellow talking mr. trump's bankruptcy and in business, sometimes that happens.
cnn had this fellow on that was involved in the bankruptcy and it was too embarrassed trump, about the bankruptcy but the fellow said they offered him $.70 on the dollar which tells me trump has some character. that is unheard of. if you get four cents or $.10 on the dollar when you go bankrupt, that is a miracle but $.70 on the dollar, why you go bankrupt i don't know, but get a thing i don't know what the problem is with trump. he is a businessman. and like thehings people that attacked him, when you were a kid and you had a bully and he kept attacking you, how do you stop it? you have to fight back. he is trying to get stuff done.
why don't the democrats say let me work with you? there are compromises. you have to make them in business. i wish they would just stop. is, he says god is first and that is what we need in this country. the democrats don't have a god. host: this is a tweet from former fbi director james comey. he says mr. president, the american people will hear my story very soon. kathleen from michigan, good morning. hi -- i worked with ross perot very closely and i saw the same thing with donald trump. what the trump does is he loved throw chaos out there. they arty know the answer when he does it. they throw it out there just to see how people are going to
respond and then he will step back in, he will back off of what he says like i am not going the tariffs. this is typical art of the deal, he creates chaos we arty knows the solution. -- when he already knows the solution. how people view this investigation and so far, 177,000 are saying that the president should fire robert mueller. that is about 78% of those who participated in this drudge report. andcan check out the poll participate. from georgia on our democrats line. is this a witchhunt? caller: it is definitely a witchhunt. drain the swamp and end the
and i will never vote for another democrat waiting -- wasting money for all these politics instead of helping the people. thank you for taking my call. host: charlotte, north carolina. also a democrat. caller: good morning to you. should beeller allowed to continue with his investigation. the president has the whole country in chaos since he came to power. every day, it is something. he loved the chaos and america will never know peace until he is out of office. doing what he not flynning, manafort and already for sentencing. the investigation should
continue. he has hijacked the republican party. he is like a double in the country. -- devil in the country. host: the trump lawyer says the special counsel inquiry should be ended. people close to the president were skeptical that mr. dowd was acting on his own. president trump a history of using advisors to publicly test a message, giving him distance from it. mr. dell's comments came at a time when members of trump's regime team are jockeying to stay in favor. -- legal team are jockeying to stay in favor. mr. trump's lawyers have urged a strategy of restraint in which the president avoids discussing mr. mueller or criticizing him and the lawyers have done nothing publicly until now that could agitate the special counsel team. comments by mr. trump and mr.
dowd led credence to mr. mccabe's assertion that the president sees his firing is directly tied to the mueller case. you can see the headline. from windsor, connecticut -- caller: mr. trump is not above the law. everything has to go through court systems and things like that. he has to go through the procedures. that's about it. thank you for c-span. host: kathleen from chicago, democrats line. my favorite commentary,
how are you doing? around.s around comes where were these republicans when president obama was in the white house for eight years and hillary clinton was his secretary of state. they spent thousands of dollars and found out there was nothing obama and clinton had nothing to do with benghazi. it was just something that happened. to the same man, when he was running against hillary, all russia, go get her emails and when she gets in office, she is going to be investigated day in and day out. some it is like that cannot even run for president. all of a sudden, what you wish for her is happening to you. put in your -- put on your big boy pants. you are getting just what you wished for somebody else. if nothing was going on, this is
not a witch hunt. every other day, mueller is finding somebody that is doing something wrong. this man is not being president. mr. mueller, go on -- go all the way. if nothing is wrong, then so be it and then trump can do his six years without any investigation. mr. trump, go be a big boy. described inr ,ichigan as woefully uninformed ignorant or they watch too much fox news. breaking news on sweden on its efforts to free three americans being held in north korea. this coming at the same time
that the u.s. is planning a potential summit in may between kim jong-un and president trump. we welcome our c-span radio audience and those listening on sirius xm. c-span's washington journal every sunday morning. we are asking about the mueller probe. the president calling it a witch hunt and saying time for it to end. the daily beast mark the first time a member of the president's legal team has publicly called for the special counsel's firing. the statement confirms andrew mccabe statement from last night that his 11th hour termination fbi was directly tied to the russia investigation for which mccabe is a crucial witness. the is the perspective of vice dean at cornell law school and also an expert on criminal law. thedaily beast which broke
story of john dowd calling for the investigation to come to an end saying it came from the president and then backtracking. michael on our republican line, good morning. caller: good morning. i had a tough time getting through the other lines. i am actually a democrat. here is my point on the whole thing. they want to shut this investigation down. i don't think they should because mueller seems to be uncovering one thing after another and it is coming out. the republicans want to for this and stop this because it is a political game for the republican party, for their agenda. i don't think their agenda is for the country. neither is donald trump. he creates this allusion like he is doing really good but in actuality, he is not doing a good job. he is failing miserably.
i am not buying into anything he says because usually when a man gets up on the pulpit, it is already written down by him and he is telling a lie to the people. when a public official lies right through his teeth in public. why can't people come together because the country is so divided. , trump has divided this country worse than obama ever dreamed of .oing the tax cut was for the corporations, not for america. show me evidence. one last point. these lawsuits that have been brought to donald trump. let's start seeing some of the decisions from those judges come out and show the truth of the character. host: thank you for the call.
america in turmoil, 1968. we hope you tune in, beginning at 8:30 eastern. series, we will be focusing on the dominant issue of 1968, the vietnam war. joining us at the table, disco guests. david from the washington post and the author -- david maraniss from the washington post and jim webb. we begin a nine part series at 8:30 eastern time on c-span's washington journal. we begin in about an hour and we hope you tune in. next up is william joining us from michigan, democrats line. caller: hello.
i was recalling a time when america would set a puppet regimes around the world and in other countries and i never thought i would live to see the day where we would have a puppet regime here. if you look at everything that donald trump does on a daily basis, it is everything that vladimir putin has on his christmas wish list and it is obvious to anyone paying attention that is what is going on. that's it. host: from new jersey, daniel, republican line. i don't know if the mueller probe should necessarily end because it is unlawful, but there is a lot of emotion and partisan views that are fueling this. even the people who keep -- who want to see trump impeached for some reason don't really have a specific high crime that they can put, just the fact that he
does not like his tax plan. it just seems like an emotional reason to me and i don't think there should be a reason to keep this program if there is no real evidence that they found yet. it just seems unnecessary. host: rich is next, in maryland. does this need to come to an end? caller: of course not. i want to thank you for the call. i listen to your show every morning. the environment i work in, i hear both sides of the story and if you get four hours a night of or thes complaining conspiracy theories based on the assumption that the dossier is flawed, but when you read the minority report from the house committee, it is all based on these guys were working with the fbi.
they were working with russians who were known criminals and that is the fbi's job, to listen in on people who were doing illegal activities with foreign agents who could be trying to hurt america. if you assume that the steele dossier is the only bit of fact, sure it is an outrage that the problem is people are getting set up by fox news who has a real dog in this hunt. they don't want to see their guy hurt. the key people afraid and riled -- they keep people afraid and riled up. they are trying to attack -- the reason they did it with the firing of mccabe yesterday was because they wanted to discredit him as a witness. anytime somebody is caught up in a lie, if you look at the process that the fbi uses to keep their agents impartial,
they have an incredibly low bar for lying. you can't get away with little things. you can even take your fbi id and get it to use -- and get it to get a free meal at a restaurant. if you think the 30,000 fbi agents that work for our government, that every single one of them is completely politically neutral, that is the furthest thing from the truth. they have processes in place to keep their agents functioning in an unbiased way and their work is verified by internal checks and balances. otherwise, they can't be trusted by america. host: what is your occupation if i may ask? caller: i would rather not say, given my occupation. host: thank you for phoning in and thank you for listening to washington today which is our afternoon program on c-span radio. it is also available on the free c-span radio app.
a tweet from robert. the majority of the american people know a charade when they see one, russian collusion. -- this fromby bobby, the dems have shown more hatred this morning that i have seen. the president's celebratory tweet suggests the worst. a marquee of bullying and unseemly behavior. mr. trump acts like a nasty small minded desperate. -- desperate -- small minded despot.
this is the language of a banana republic, a nations without a strong democratic foundation, tyrants cling to powder -- power by belittling perceived enemies insulting and co-opting other institutions. with that, we go to william in los angeles, independent line. caller: thank you for letting me speak on your show. my comment was that i don't think the mueller investigation is going to come to an end before the midterm elections. i think that when the democrats sort of snapped out of the election, the 2018 they came up with a strategy that when they would get a flip in the house, that they would be able to get an impeachment process going on trump and they
were going to use all of this stuff that has been floating out and what the media has been doing, kind of like this ongoing circus about the mueller investigation. by that time, if they get the house, the country would have already sort of developed a sense that an impeachment was likely and maybe even deserved. host: thank you for the call. , the former cia director with a tweak the came out yesterday morning. tweet that came out yesterday morning. you may scapegoat any mccabe,
but you will not destroy america. america will triumph over you. that from john brennan. next is derek joining us from virginia, republican line. caller: good morning. this was all started by obama right after he realized that hillary was not going to win the election. got pulled together and kicked all the russians out. it is all political. it is a witchhunt. it should never have been started. i guarantee if hillary had won the election, that we would not be talking about this. we would be doing something else. u.s. ambassador to the u.n. with a response to the tweet we just read a moment ago by john brennan. not a good idea to pass off john off john- to piss
brennan. caller: what a joke. it's a joke. when the democrats take control of congress, it is time to get rid of this president. firing is a cover-up for the stormy daniels story. that is all that is. it is a disgrace. have a good day. host: we should point out that a number of members of congress are offering to put andrew mccabe on the payroll, to allow him to keep his pension. he was fired on friday. he turned 50 today, serving 22 years in the fbi. this headline, andrew mccabe kept memos on the interactions with the president and those
memos are part of the robert mueller investigation. a photograph of andrew mccabe. we will go to sharon, joining us from indiana, democrats line. caller: thank you, good morning. let mueller finishes investigation and we will see where everything is at. he was going to drain the swamp between the white house and his cabinet, it looks like the okefenokee. host: front page of the washington post, trump escalates the attacks on the fbi. the president through his lawyer called on the department of justice to end the mueller probe . obstruction of justice is no less a threat to our democracy.
-- caller: you had a call or a couple minutes ago who was a democrat but called on the republican line. what does this tell you? mueller, fire him. that there is something going on, the democrats are offering him a job to save his pension. if this is not tell you something, he better start looking. why would they even offer him a job? they are all tied in together. when nixon had all of his problems, they could not keep their mouth shut. only one who was a really good american was g gordon
liddy. it is unbelievable to hear these people turned turtle and that is .ll i have to say tom has the last word from sussex, new jersey. think it should end if they are going to try to dig deeper. everything they do like what you did in 2005, that is crazy. thing ishat this whole a sham, just to try to get him out and that is all i see. theve been watching it and
thing is, i see corruption in the government for quite a while and i think it is time for it to end and it is on both sides. when you start nitpicking and -- youike that, you get could just kick every one of these people out. host: from -- some tweaks -- ee ts -- some tweets. you can continue the conversation on our facebook page at facebook.com/c-span. we will turn our attention to russia in just a minute but first from last night's weekend
update on snl. >> welcome to we can update. -- welcome to weekend update. unemploymental rate held steady at 4% while the white house unemployment rate rose to all of them. the crazy thing is i'm turning to feel sorry for all these people trump is firing even though i thought they were terrible other jobs. could you imagine thinking hang in there jeff sessions. the latest victim was former fbi director -- to be director andrew mccabe, fired two days before he was set to retire on his 50th birthday so he could not collect his pension. you and the joker is like you don't treat people like that. i love the trump's being extra mean to the fbi guy who is definitely about to testify against him. it is like announcing to a restaurant that you are not tipping anyone before they don't -- before they make your food. trump fired the
secretary of state rex tillerson and will replace him with cia director mike pompeo. major staff shakeup could be coming to the white house. trump is firing people like he is trying to get us under the -- cap or something. it is like those dominoes commercials. at dominoes, we are making some changes and you are like yeah, but you are still dominoes. host: some political humor on this sunday morning. newsmakers follows washington journal. a reminder that jeffrey edmonds is going to be coming with us, discussing policies towards russia and the ongoing investigation into russia and the poisoning of a number of spies. later, 1968: america and turmoil. our focus on vietnam and the vietnam war as you begin a nine and series here on c-span live on c-span3's american history tv.
john yarmuth, democrat of kentucky, ranking member of the house budget committee, he is up on newsmakers. we focus on other -- among other things, politics, the special election, conor lamb. that conversation part of newsmakers. >> one of the more notable elements of conor lamb's campaign was that he directly said he opposed nancy pelosi. do you think we will see that strategy replicated by more democrats across the country and what does that mean for the minority leaders stature -- minority leader's stature? >> i think some candidates no doubt will. i don't think that issue has much traction anymore. it did not seem to move any voters and it did not seem to energize any voters.
you will see some candidates try to distance themselves from leader pelosi, i don't think that is going to be an issue that is at all pivotal in this campaign. future, we will see what happens. -- understand that they have been around a long time and that they have taken steps to kind of elevate some newer members in different areas and i think they see that the light at the end of the butel for their careers, what will be interesting to see, and i have not heard too many people talking about this, that you need to hundred 18 votes on the floor to elect a speaker. if we were to return to the majority, they could end up being a very interesting election as people would try to assemble 218 votes.
the caucus vote for minority leader, she got about 130 votes and there were 60 votes it would be interesting to see what it would be for speaker, particularly if you have candidates fighting not to vote for her. the most important thing is what gets us into the majority. i don't think policy campaigning against nancy pelosi is going to be effective. host: john yarmuth of kentucky, he is our guest on newsmakers. it is at 10:00 a.m. eastern time . you can listen to it on the free c-span radio app and online at c-span.org. theelcome the graduate of u.s. military academy at west point and the wilson center. let's talk about the situation in russia and the poisoning of
that russian double agent and his daughter. what do we know about the nerve agent? guest: the nerve agent was produced during the soviet era. it is a reference to the products themselves that were put together to create the poison. it is a standard nerve agent that inhibits nerve -- inhibits brain activity. host: do you have any doubt that putin was behind this effort? confidentcan be especially when you have statements coming from the united states, france, germany and the united kingdom condemning this and say that they believe it was led by the russian leadership. condemnation,t what will that mean for russia? does it make any difference for vladimir putin? guest: i don't think it does. the intended assassination, any
ifders on the road that even , thatraitor company doesn't mean the russians cannot second,k after you? there's a signal in this to the russian diaspora. you can go to london with all your money and support opposition figures, that doesn't mean the russian leadership cannot come after you. this goes back to the 1920's and 30's -- 1930's. ,he soviets infiltrated kidnapped people, assessment people. this is a trend. seeour point, the flagrant with which this was done signals that putin is not playing by rules that we recognize. host: what is his motivation? guest: about those three reasons
, the russians see themselves up against an international order that they believe seeks to surround and weaken russia. there are no rules as to what they are willing to do to bring themselves back to the table, to be recognized as a superpower, and to have a voice in international affairs. they believe they deserve based on the history, their size, their nuclear weapons, their military. host: you can get more information at wilsoncenter.org. ,ikki haley said this past week taking aim at russia and vladimir putin. the group if the russian government stops helping its syrian ally to used chemical weapons to kill syrian children and if russia cooperated with the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons by turning over all information related to this nerve agent, we would stop talking about them. we would take no pleasure in
having to criticize russia. we need russia to stop giving us so many reasons to do so. russia must cooperate with the uk's investigation and come clean about its own chemical weapons program. russia is a permanent member of the security council. it is entrusted in the united nations charter with upholding international keys and security. it must account for its actions. if we do not take immediate now,res to address this salisbury will not be the last place we see chemicals used. they can be used here in new york, or in cities or any country that sits on this counsel. this is a defining moment. , number time again states say they oppose the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances. now one member stands accused of using chemical weapons on the
sovereign soil of another member. the credibility of this counsel will not survive if we fail to hold russia accountable. the united nations, nikki haley, and a couple of points. first of all, how do we connect the dots between this nerve agent? these poisonings in the russian government involved? guest: i cannot speak to any information that may be classified. the biggest indicator is how difficult it is to produce these types of weapons. 2006,ou see, like in there was a man who was poisoned. weaponnd of material and really suggests a state sanctioned act. host: as we heard from nikki haley, the u.s. is a potential target. how real is that?
guest: i don't know of any threats to the united states from russia for poisoning. demonstratedave they don't play by the rules. what i will but out? absolutely not -- what i rule that out? absolutely not. host: we put in place sections toward russia. will that work? guest: sanctions are the only way you can go. during the obama administration, we crafted careful sanctions to impose some pain. we need to look at that again. i don't think the kicking out of diplomats really has much impact. this is an international system that i don't think vladimir putin wants integrate. versions this now a new of the cold war between what we saw in the 1970's and 1980's? guest: i think that the threats
are not new, the types of instability we have in our relationship is new. there are new dynamics. it is not as ideological as it was. my worry is if we job in analogy with the cold war is we are going to think like we are doing the cold war, we need new ways of thinking about this problem. host: it is election day in russia. what does that mean? guest: vladimir putin is to be the next president. the other candidates run on an implicit agreement with the kremlin. the russiant seeing media come after them. you would see the kremlin clamping down on that. they have to maintain some veneer of fair and free elections. host: my guest is jeffrey edmonds. -- an army veteran.
let's get to your phones. we are focusing on russia election day. the investigation into spies that have been poisoned. steve is joining us from massachusetts. republican line. caller: good morning. let me try to understand this. we have the russian state taking the spontaneous, 100% risk with zero benefit assassinating a washed up long out of service, retired double agent spy in a foreign country using a unique chemical directly traceable to a 30-year-old russian -- preceding the russian election? russiansow that the aren't yet involves -- are in the end results.
routinely probe ask inebriated with vodka. give me a break. there is nothing in the story that is not similar to saddam's bio weapons and anthrax in a six-month timeframe for nuclear launch. this is ridiculous. this many other countries have much more motivation than the russians. thank you. host: your perspective? guest: to the timing, i think even this narrative, is not just couldn't that believes the west is trying to conduct imaging change. change, manyregime believe many are anti-russian. i think you cannot discount as to why this was done. the diaspora in london is quite large with a lot of money. from the russian leadership perspective, they are worried about the diaspora with all this
money and machinations toward the elections in 2025. what that could mean for opposition figures. they are try to send a clear signal that you -- no matter where you are at, we can come for you. host: this is a piece from "foreign policy" magazine. the saints to be desperate seems to be the method of choice. guest: when you go back to 2004 and look at victor, the candidate who is running for ukrainian president, fell ill. when he came back to the camera, his face was horribly disfigured. he did go on to be president. russian response was he ate bad sushi. to someone getting stabbed by an umbrella in london. it is a technique that we have seen. will nato hit back at
russia for the poisoned? is anything the alliance could or should do? guest: i am not sure there is anything that nato alliance could do. the eu and united states need to look at additional sanctions. to impose some kind of punishment. host: what do you know about this agent who is still hospitalized with his daughter? guest: the timing of this, he ended up working for mi six. it came over. i don't think this is assassination was operational come in that they were worried about him getting over additional secrets. i think it is a signal to anybody who would go down that line and become a traitor in russia. putin just said that the one thing he will not forget his betrayal. host: this is a picture of him.
york. joining us from new caller: thank you for taking my call. i wanted to comment on the recent administrative moves toward russia. rex tillerson came out against russia. he was gone. nikki haley at the u.n., steve mnuchin. it never seems that president trump is the one coming out and directly holding russia accountable. i was wondering if your guest putiny comment regarding is a former kgb agent. we know the kgb's reputation for recording the five-star hotels. the own them in moscow. i was wondering, if he could make a connection between the fact that this is a way that would not rates. president trump has never come up directly taking on the russians. thank you for taking my call. i would say, i cannot
speak to president trump's own behavior. what i can say is the administration itself, mainly the pure cats -- mainly the bureaucrats have taken a pretty hard stance of russia. when you look at the nuclear posture review, the national security strategy, all of those things reflect a more competitive view of russia and one that betrays that is not the serial role. that is a space where large parts of the government are taking the actions they need to take. virginia.andria, good morning. yes, i am a veteran from the korean peninsula. spent 13 months there in the early 1960's. nine months in vietnam during the height of the offensive.
it is when i was let go from the service. what i would like to say about the russian collusion in the spies. i think the first color made the most intelligent comment -- first caller made the most toes and comment about the situation. for some reason this country wants to make russia a big enemy and a big monster. they want to vilify russia when russia is really not our enemies. we get more people internal in this country and if we focus on people who have committed treason, like hillary clinton and people in the democratic party and stop distracting everything toward russia, maybe we could clear up a whole lot of problems concerning our country vital survival. we don't have to do it militarily but we can make
compromises. host: we will get a response. guest: the leadership in russia wants to undermine western democracy and hours. in that regard, they see as as an adversary. i would characterize the relationship as a necessary one. we need to contact ourselves. guess we need to protect ourselves. -- we need to protect ourselves. it doesn't appear -- i don't think the russian leadership really want that kind of role. host: we are talking about russia/the u.s., our nato allies in the poisoning that took place. the history of this type of technique. our guest is jeffrey edmonds. we want to get your reaction from great written. first from the british prime minister last wednesday. >> following the murder, the
u.k. expelled four diplomats. under the vienna convention, the united kingdom will expel 23 russian diplomats who have been identified as undeclared intelligence officers. they have just one week to leave. this will be the single biggest expulsion for over 30 years. it reflects the fact that this is not the first time that the russian state has acted against our country. through these expulsions, we will degrade russian intelligence capabilities in the u.s. just in the u.k. for years to come. they seek to rebuild it, we will prevent them from doing so. second, we will develop proposals for new legislative powers to harden our defenses. this will include the addition of a target power -- at the u.k. border. this power is only permitted in relation to those inspect --
suspected of terrorism. i have asked the secretary to consider if there is a need for new espionage powers to clamp down on the full spectrum of hostile activities and our country. mr. speaker, as i set out on monday, we will table a government amendment to the sexes bill to strip and out of -- to the sanctions bill to strip in our powers. in doing so, we will play our part in an effort to punish .hose responsible for those demandthat this will cross party support. we will make full use of existing powers to enhance our efforts to monitor and track the intentions of those traveling to the u.k. who could be engaged in activities to threaten the security of the u.k. and our allies. we will increase checksum hybrid sites just increased checks on
private sites -- increased checks on private sites. they may threaten the life and property of u.k. nationals or residents. host: that was last wednesday. this wednesday will be the deadline for those russian diplomats expelled. guest: they can be replaced over time. certainly it might degrade russian intelligence collection in london. i do think some of the steps she mentioned about border control and monitoring russians, that is helpful. we need to look at sanctions. watch thatan exchange tonight, 9:00 eastern time here on c-span. steve rosenberg is a reporter for the bbc. he was asked about the poisoning. --president clinton
president clinton, is russia behind the poisoning? [speaking russian] host: we apologize but those subtitle sing the russian leader focusing on agriculture and refusing to answer the question. guest: of course he is not going to acknowledge that. they may suspect that he may have done that. that could be seen as a show of strength from him. it is a kind of tongue-in-cheek aspect. host: we will go to california. good morning. guest: thank you for taking my call -- caller: thank you for taking my call. my take on this is it looks to me like this has been in operation from our cia trying to
make russia to be the bogeyman. just smells totally of a cia op. host: why do you say that? caller: because that is the way the operate. changes by going in and starting trouble. the next thing you know you got al qaeda trouble. look at the middle east. -- you got all kinds of trouble. look at the middle east. try to do it in russia and russia stopped them in the ukraine. guest: i worked for the central intelligence agency and i am fairly confident saying that the cia was not involved in this. from as af joining us venue. -- joining us from sylvania. -- from pennsylvania. caller: i was raised as an army brat in europe.
there is one constant in my lifetime and that is many countries in the world, the europeans, the eastern europeans, the chinese, whatever seemed to hold on to history much better than us. we are driving every thing in society -- the white male this monday. the soviets. not the russians. if we want something done, it doesn't have to get done today or yesterday or tomorrow. they will wait 100 years. if you have something in mind, they wanted done. the chinese are the same way. they are very patient people. this is not out of the realm. this is something that is going on as far back as there has been the soviet. putin gave a quote, he still lives -- he looks like a modern man. he is a 1950's cruise ship.
ruschev guy. guest: i think there is a sense of history and the russian leadership mind about where the trajectory of russia is. know that for putin in particular, he has had a longer rise than any person he has been given with. it does provide certain challenges. host: we welcome our c-span radio audience. edmonds ais jeffrey senior fellow at the wilson center. we will go next to chris joining us from kansas. caller: yes. the same want to take track as the last caller. except with a different point. the current russian government is not the soviet union. the soviet union which had the
uper states which was backed by the warsaw pact, that seems to be -- we are trying to complete the former soviet union with russia. we are trying to give them the same objectives. we are trying to act like they are the same nation. they are not. creating in the minds of the american people, the soviet bogeyman but we are using the russian government. it is completely different. they don't have the same military might. they don't have the same influence around the world. they are a powerful, rich nation. they do have all terrier motives to the next -- they do have all terrier motives. this is what they are using as a backdrop to all the truck
collusion and all the things they are trying to tackle to the trump administration. guest: a great point. it is a good point to not conflate russia with the soviet union. many people are saying that the russians are try to become a superpower. that is not the russian perspective. the russians are try to remind us that the have always been a superpower. there is a believe that they deserve a spot at the table of international affairs. their military is increasing. we have to be very careful and nuanced in detail about what exactly, what kind of threat russia poses. as someone who is studied russia and putin, is anything about lottery putin that ship -- about vladimir putin that strikes you about his character
and who he is? had a verybackground big impact on him. he is rational. rational. is very i think he operates under false assumptions about what u.s. intentions are. we are not seeking regime change. i think he believes that the exit away the counters that. i cannot speak too much as to his personality. it was shaped by his former service. host: j is joining us from georgia. caller: good morning, steve. say, as far as the hypocrisy level of some of the stuff, you know. it is really mind-boggling. really. i'm glad that finally sanctions
were ratified, but, you know, look, chop's cabinet -- trump's cabinet, they are not on the same pages him. i don't think he is going to be cabinet.et a qualified i would like to make a point, the was missed on some of -- i'm not sure it was on the access hollywood tape but this old pension that our president has of chasing after married women of his buddies, i really think that points out a serious character flaw. i wish people would consider that, that this is the kind of guy that we are given with. thanks a lot. let me take his first point in asking about mike pompeo, the incoming secretary state.
to ourange will he bring policy toward russia? guest: i think you will see some continuity. secretary tillerson became rather -- really pushed back against russian attempts to undermine our democracy. host: he probably knew vladimir putin that of anyone else in the cabinets. let's go back to your calls. barbara is joining us. steve. hi, all i want to say is once the kgb operator, always a kgb operator. putin's mindset was set years ago and i cannot see him changing. always up to no good. thank you. host: our viewers from the bbc parliament channel. guest: i don't think i would agree with that.
he has become even more aggressive. with the operations in syria, it has emboldened him to push against international order. with oil and energy being number one, what are the leading exports in russia to europe and elsewhere? russia to europe and elsewhere? guest: there's food exports. energy is the primary export. i don't know we would go after that. sanctions have to be tailored to the situation. you don't want to increase instability in russia it yet to find a way to increase the costs for russians conducting this kind of behavior. host: from alabama, michael. caller: good morning. i have been listening to the calls coming in. i am a most amazed -- i am almost amazed. looking away from president
trump. we are gettingy so many calls in favor of the soviet union or russia. putin himself is a kgb guy. they have never been a friend of the united states. fromu look at the change the soviet union to where they are today, it is not the average american or russian. putin and the top group is nothing more than a mob group that is taking advantage of the country, taking advantage of our political atmosphere here to try to bring us down even more. there is even rumors about how much is he worth? he may be the richest man in the world because they are stealing the wealth of the country and feeding them garbage. we are starting to believe the garbage.
that is just my statement. russia is not our friend. they have never been our friend. that is what he went to syria. i believe he is involved with north korea because their missile program took off. i will go now elect to talk about that. that the kgbe helps to inform and form -- informs putin's personality. i think that his experience as president is what is really formative. when they saw nato actions in yugoslavia and early on right after the cold war, he became convinced that the western powers were not good to take russian security concerns seriously. that is what he operates off of. it is more to it than just the kgb portion. he is incredibly rich. those around him are rich. they are not the same thing as oligarchs.
they are people in russia now who have power and that is led to them being wealthy. there is a very large wealth gap in russia. -- wewe are talking to have another 10 minutes. our phone lines are open. this headline from bloomberg news. russian hackers allegedly attacked u.s. aviation as part of a series of breaches back in 2017. guest: i don't know the specifics of that. it doesn't surprise me. it doesn't surprise me that the russians would try to find ways and our critical and for structure. not necessarily to do anything now but during a crisis, that might be useful. i think we have to be careful about protecting and denying russian ability to get into our if the structure. host: what would have the objective have been? guest: lets we get into a
conflict with russia, they can signal that certain actions on our part might lead to them degrading power grids or disrupting transportation in such a way that people here might think, was this worth it to get enough conflict -- was it worth it to get into a conflict with russia? host: it seems, as you look back at history, there was a cordial relationship between makela gorbachev and ronald reagan. was that the case? could we ever get back to that point with vladimir putin? guest: we don't want to take that too far. warships and toward the end -- boris yeltsin was quite dissatisfied with u.s. actions. and really started to believe that we were not going to take russia's security concerns start. i did not see any way around --
there is no opportunity for resets. there are deep fundamental differences. this is not an international order that putin wants to integrate with. they're been previous times in his presidency that he could integrate and have a more beneficial relationship. the russians believe there is a large body of anti-russian sentiment within the united states, and there probably is. i don't see the possibility right now for any kind of reset. doesn't mean that we should not continue to communicate and try to figure out what actions see as destabilizing. we need to keep that kind of dialogue going. i don't think there's going to be any kind of positive reset. host: our next caller is from lexington, kentucky. caller: very insightful
questions, very insightful answers. two quick questions. that mr. consider putin is as much compromise by asanized crime and in russia david k johnston? president trump is compromise by the mafia here in the united states? who is the equivalent investigative author in russia doing good work? even if we got to get it translated? who a great investigating reporter in russia that we can rely on? host: thank you for adding your questions. guest: on organized crime, i'm
not sure that would ms. controlled by organized crime -- i'm not sure that putin is controlled by organized crime. he is aggressive and cutting out anybody who does not fit with what his agenda is. those around him, he has put in place, they are extremely loyal. that is not the same thing as organized crime. i am unsure which russian author to want to do because that is not something that is encouraged in russia. the media in russia is largely controlled i government. -- by government. host: in addition to the military background by our guest, he served in the cia. he is a part of the u.s. army reserve. sarah from england. that afternoon.
here in england we have been following through with russian madness for the last 18 months. this whole situation with sergei and his daughter. we have seen photographs of these people in hospital. -- [indiscernible] qs chemical weapons factory. who knows what is going on there. killed kim jong-un's brother. seems a bit of a strange logic to me. an accuser is deemed to be the person in the right and you have to prove that you are innocent. i think we are endangered -- we are in dangerous territory. are notestern powers using things like nerve agents to wipe out political opposition. i think that is something unique
that the russians are doing. i also do not think we had any role in the assassination of kim jong-un's brother. host: good morning, independent line. caller: i am an 80-year-old junkie. --ave been watching it host: you sound a lot younger than 80. caller: have to go back to 1953. i am remembering very intelligently having the great honor to be able to interview lee begins pledges but the communist party -- quit the communist party. yet been the editor -- he had dailyhe editor of the worker in new york. .e stressed patients
he said the bolshevik revolution peopleshed a group of that were going to take over the world and the world would be communist. he said it didn't really matter who was in charge of the soviet union. they were single-minded. they were going to do one thing, and they would accomplish it. they were going to take over the world. host: paula, thank you for the call. think the are any designs in russian leadership to take over the world but they want to change the rules of the game and bring down or we can -- or we can russia. host: what worries you the most? as we're stumbling around in places like syria, the russians are pushing back on our ships in international waters,
no worries our next event. -- my worries are an accident. interactions between their ships and our ships. is something could slip sideways and you can have some kind of military conflict over an accident. host: with regard to this president trying to pick up the red phone, is it such a thing? guest: no. host: if he needs to get in touch with vladimir putin, what is the relationship like? guest: if you wanted to talk to president putin, how could he do -- it was an interesting -- some's messages were interesting. -- trump's messages were
interesting. nothing groundbreaking. it was kind of a meet and greet. there wasn't really much there. those are pretty standard protocol. i'm certain that putin would pick up the phone. host: jeffrey edmonds, thank you for being with us. we begin a nine part series today here on c-span and live on c-span3's american history tv. we are focusing on 1968, america in turmoil. installment, we are going to focus on the vietnam war and some of the events that 1968.lace 50 years ago in we are going to begin with two experts. and jim webb. thise going to begin with u.s. marine film that was produced by the navy in 1967. you will organize the voice,
jack webb. these marines have just returned from a tough battle in the north. their weapons are clean and care this is neither a clean or easy life but they have learned to accept the hardships of the battle as a father's day before. -- as their fathers did before. ♪ in this famous him, here in fromam, except for snow, the soft blues of the rice paddies. then they pushed forward into the jungle that -- where elephant rest has of the skin. giant trees cut off the sun.
♪ >> it is not just a matter of long walks, each and every step must be a cautious one for the viet cong repair the way with mines and booby-traps so watch your step. your ankle is. by a trap that only -- your mine.is trapped by a shells waiting for the unwary foot and you will never know what innocent piecing -- innocent looking piece of grass contains bamboo spikes. marine engineers said the roads and trails in search of color minds. -- killer mines. the troops provide a screen of security in which the americans can assist the vietnamese. it is necessary to control the outline villages and countryside
to deny reentry to the viet cong. -- throughout the i corps area each week. one of the more difficult jobs in this war without a front is the distinguished friend from foe -- is to distinguish friend from foe. each person must be searched and vc orfied, whether captured in combat, they are treated with fairness under the geneva convention. marines have found that such treatment of a cruel enemy quickly results and information they reveal the whereabouts of the enemy. in possession of such knowledge is come marines react quickly. as they move in, they
are met by small arms fire the results in some casualties. -- that results in some casualties. host: that film from 1967 and the narration of jack webb as we begin our conversation, welcome back 50 years ago. 1968: a year in turmoil. we are pleased to welcome, jim webb, the author of "i heard my country calling." senator, thank you for being with us. david, he is with the washington post.
let me begin with where we were early in 1968. who was winning the vietnam war. guest: no one was winning, everyone was losing. for different reasons. the united states government without telling the public face had decided that they did know how to win the war. public still supported the war. it was completely unknown what was going to happen next. i would say that everyone was losing at that point. host: you read it now academy in the 1960's, what was that like? >> i got to the naval academy in 1964. 1968 and people seemed to understand pretty clearly that there were objectives.
is what place to start is it that we were attending to achieve? and how could you measure that now? we saw how the war ended but what was it looking like in 1968? they were strategic reasons for us going into vietnam. if you look at the east asian region as a whole coming out of world war ii, it was torn apart by war. japan had receded back into its boundaries. the european colonial powers had left and there was a lot of turmoil in terms of governmental systems and economic systems. we had the korean war. there was a legitimate, international communist movement. we can smile a little bit about that now. trained in had moscow for years.
was how do you fight the war? and what was going on back here in terms of articulating what our objectives were? when i was in vietnam, on any given day we were fighting three different wars. we were fighting a conventional war against north vietnamese and viacom -- viet cong. and we were fighting a terrorist war. this country really did not understand at the time. that was the reason that john kennedy decided to put american troops into vietnam in 1961. the communist assassination squads were killing 11 government officials today. how do you take all of that and see who was winning or losing? that is sort of turmoil, it is hard to say. host: let me take senator webb's point about the objective. if you look at conference that
commit tree shifted from the time of truman through conch -- truman through john kennedy. >> 1967, the policy that shifted, yes. mcnamara, theary pentagon papers have not come out yet but they decided that they were not going to win the war. the best thing to do was a stalemate. that is what they were dealing with. the war has to be dealt with in three ways. the military which jim was a part of. one was the policy. the third is society. host: that is outlined in your book, "they marched in the sunlight." yet the antiwar demonstrations around the country. you had dow chemical.
you had the horrific deaths of 70 people in vietnam. -- horrific deaths of so many people in vietnam. tied to three together -- tied the three together. >> the protest at the university of wisconsin was the first student protest that turned into a violent confrontation on campus. it was against dow chemical company recruiting on the campus at a time when most students were opposed to the war. there was a connection that you can only make in retrospect which is as much as the students were protesting the war for a combination of idealism that he does want to fight in the war. toy were also opposing chemicals which had a profound negative effect on the soldiers and all the people in vietnam. destroyed debts was
agent orange had the most long-term, debilitating affect on the people in vietnam and the soldiers. many of them i have dealt with .ver the years they are dying of bladder cancer in the -- in their 60's. host: did you see that? >> agent orange? i did see that. let's take a look at the framework under which this war was being fought. it was the most complicated war that the united states has ever had to fight. a negativeecessarily thing to say but maybe a given thegiven circumstances and the power of the antiwar movement was an acceptable goal. just like north korea versus south korea.
just like east germany versus west germany. that was the way that a lot of people looked at what we were trying to do. can you preserve a portion of the country? and develop a democracy? and at something different come out of it? thing that should be remembered is there were of the extreme left, there were people who had revolutionary goals in this country that did not connect with vietnam at first. the great example, the students for a democratic society. in 1962. formed that the race would be the issue with which they could galvanize america into revolutionary change. the war came along and affected everyone potentially.
it folded into these other issues that they were debating. the north vietnamese -- i spent a lot of time in vietnam since the war. i've written 10 books. i have met with the leaders in the north and the people fought. he was the kernel who was on palace grounds in 1975. he later said that the rear front of the commonest effort was here to galvanize the antiwar movement and to demoralize the war. that folded into a lack of clarity on the political and strategic objectives. the other thing that needs to be
said because it isn't talked about enough is the policy of the communist government since 1958. a classic policy of tracking communism to have assassination as a key element of a strategy. they will go after people who were a part of the leadership of south vietnam. by 1960 whentoday john f. kennedy decided we needed to do something. we didn't know how to do that. we had incidents that were regretful and discussing. generally they were the result peopleional overload and -- they were aberrations from what our policy legally -- that is not true on the other side. when you look at the way it was
use as an example in a number of these recent -- 2000 south vietnamese people assassinated when they had temporary control. we don't hear them talking about that. there is a number of ways for the audience to engage in our conversation. if you are a vietnam veteran, we would love to hear from you. you can follow us on twitter. we had a poll that is now underway on who is winning in the 1968. we would love to have you participate. >> i would like to disagree with some of that. and theyou take scf revolutionary guard in the united states as one thing but that doesn't represent the antiwar movement.
it was a more diverse and more oriented toward other things. >> i would agree with you on that. >> i think that was a little bit of a stretch to take it to that place. there were very valid reasons to opposes war. .- suppose this war on the media me side, the warwar -- this was a civil and it was involved in the south and the soviet union were controlling it. nonetheless, that doesn't make the war itself valid just because of that. it doesn't make what the response was as we would see an engine 68. objective bys the the military? >> there was a debate in the north vietnamese military whether to do it or not.
there was a general who opposed it. year, generally 31st, 1968 just january 31st, 1968, they would have a massive attack -- every worker they could to discombobulated the americans and to have an effect on everything. they knew there would be a lot of casualties which affect happened. then witt, and north enemies lost in terms of military aspects but one in terms of plasticity -- in terms of publicity. host: the tet offensive. of january, 1968, saigon was alive with the festive spirit. the people of vietnam, tech is a
joseph--joyous in sacred time of year. troops seem to promise the people safe holiday free from the ever present anxiety of war. at the temple, people gathered to pay respects to the ancestors. on the eve of the new year, thousands of saigon families faced before the offer -- faced before the altar of their families. additional firecrackers of the celebration became the fireworks of war. the viet cong was taking advantage of the celebration and lost a savage attack on saigon, violating the truce. areas became a blazing inferno. block in ther
capital city burned with the fires of viacom treachery. this viet cong treachery. taking place in january 1958. president johnson addressed the nation claiming he would not seek another term. said march 31j 1968. >> their attack during the tech holidays failed to achieve its printable objective. collapse the elected government of south vietnam or shatter its army anti-communists had hoped. it did not produce a general uprising among the people of the city's, as they had predicted. the communist were unable to maintain control of any of the more than 30 cities that they
attacked. they took very heavy casualties. they did compel the south vietnamese and their allies to move certain forces from the countryside into the cities. they caused widespread disruption and suffering. their attacks and the battles oft followed made refugees half a million human beings. the commonest may renew their attack any day. they are, it appears, trying to make 1968, the year of decision in 19 -- decision in vietnam. turning that brings a point in the struggle. march 31, 1968. jim webb, your wrapping up your tenure at the u.s. naval academy. --
>> what was happening in this timeframe? >> this is a show about 1968 but it is difficult to talk about the vietnam war and freeze-frame it into one year are even a few months. vietnamwas born in during the tet offensive, 1968 and our family remembers it well. -- and her family remembers it well. one thing you will see in the communist strategy on the vietnam war is every presidential year, they were able to mobilize some sort of offensive them get the attention over here. the other -- this is interesting because we just showed a clip of a south vietnamese explanation. in so many of these other documentaries, you get straight propaganda footage out of hanoi
about what their soldiers were doing. the record interviews with the macon marines and soldiers who were reminiscing in a very personal way and they are sitting next to each other and people can be led to one conclusion or another. winning militarily, the 20th anniversary of the fall of saigon, 1995, hanoi announced officially that they lost 1.4 million soldiers. we lost her teeth thousand. that's we lost 58,000. our people did their job on the battlefield, in terms of articulating our message. it was very difficult. it was an evolving message. it was unclear as to what goals were going to continue as the situation changed. i can remember reading the
washington post. peter bracer than the vietnam war, and marine who had been wounded in korea. you can read the front page of the washington post and have factual reporting on the battle. you get to the editorial pages of the political people -- and i have been a political person over there. it was just, this is a working. it is time to do something else. difficult for the country to process what a win or loss was until much later. the tet offensive was a military failure, that was not what was being reported. host: we are going to go to your callers. ,et's put this in perspective yet the tet offensive in late january, 1968.
>> americans killed in one week during the tet offensive. over 500. host: yet president johnson speech. >> you had march 12, the new have your primary. he gets 42% of the vote against lbj. robert f kennedy enters the race. you have two candidates running against johnson. he is about to lose the wisconsin primary when it decides not to run. host: on february 27, while the concrete says this -- walter cronkite says this. how significant was that? >> there were only three networks. walter concrete was the voice of --al -- walter concrete
walter cronkite was the voice of middle america. walter cronkite was the entire army. host: our conversation with david maraniss. jim webb of -- jim webb, the author of nearly a dozen books. let's get to phone calls. james here in washington, d.c., a veteran. class fromf of my , 12 wereolina, 21 boys vietnam veterans. americans, 8000 marines wouldrs, volunteer for vietnam almost every year of the war. you can i get none of the president to move on the backlog of claims of over 400,000 people
, people waiting to in three years. infantry people like myself can i get our plans moved at the va hospital, year after year. that seems to be one of the legacies of those who served in vietnam. you dealt with that in the senate. firsto with that as the -- i have been working veterans issues all my adult life. i would like to say to the gentleman, and appreciate very much your stepping forward and serving. there's been a great misunderstanding in this country about how proud the people served in vietnam are. we did a survey when i was on the committee counsel in 1980, $6 million survey exhausted attitudes toward vietnam veterans. 91% of the people who served were glad that the served.
74% said they enjoyed their time and two out of three said even knowing the end result, they would go back again. a, i got tothe v the senate in 2007, the backlog was 600,000 claims. when i left, it was 900,000 claims. part of that was increasing difficulty of the system with attorneys involved in a way that they had been before. a lot of it was plain leadership. i worked very hard on that. one of the lessons from vietnam is the g.i. bill for the people served was miniscule, compared to the world war ii g.i. bill which enabled the futures of 8 million of our 16 million world war ii soldiers. i wrote and passed when i was in
the senate and 60 months, the post-9/11 g.i. bill which the best g.i. bill and the history of the country. >> i would like to say, everything that happens with the v8 is a reminder that war does not end when the battles and. host: joe is next, also a vietnam veteran. caller: good morning. how are you doing? the question about winning the war to me, the people who won who supplyer people the bombs and bullets in vietnam. incident, the gulf thatnkin, i double checked prior to the gulf of tonkin, the united states had advisers who were running with the south
vietnamese against the vietnamese at the time so the incident regarding the gulf of tonkin was supposed to be a push back. i work for the vna and i see disability claims and these claims are just fraught with incidents of undiagnosed illness, chronic fatigue, these are not bombs and bullets. this is the kind of stuff that us andr here brought to we don't seem to get the message that we've got to keep our young men and women safe, and not put them in this kind of harm's way. have a great day. host: thank you for the call. this goes back to your point about agent orange. >> very much so. there were a lot of different aspects to that. has a material aspect to it. people who benefited.
you can make the argument that the war is for because of that. i disagree with that. i think it is a byproduct of it. wars are for because of policy. just wars are fought because of policy. host: we are beginning a nine part series on c-span and we are pleased to be joined at the table as we look at the vietnam war. what the german said about who wins. issues like agent orange, i have worked on those since 1978. trying to find the nexus between -- bioxin.by oxen to gettaken a long time that to a place where we can resolve it for veterans who were affected.
there was a man who created modern singapore he was one of the most brilliant minds in the one of the most brilliant minds of the last 100 years and east asia. he repeatedly used to say the united states effort in vietnam actually created a win for the region because it slowed down the sorts of revolutionary movements. it allowed these other countries to invigorate new governmental systems and economic systems. i think when we put into the formula of the attempt we made to preserve in incipient democracy that there were strong positive long-term results out of that. >> also more than one million vietnamese depths and 58,000 american deaths. host: was the u.s. winning the war -- the vietnam war in 1958?
1968?reciate -- in 38% said yes, 32% said no. .avid marinus and jim webb we will go to michael joining us from alexandria, virginia. a vietnam veteran, good morning. caller: hello washington and the world is listening to the station. i have direct knowledge about why the vietnam war went on. it goes all the way back to the turn-of-the-century when the french went there. the economists went there to take charge of indochina it was called. they utilized it as a stepping stone for their economy of rubber plantations and opium. host: is that correct? >> i would say when you go to vietnam, jim has gone there
almost every year. i've been there for my book. in thel see that perspective of the vietnamese today, the americans are the least -- the countries they think the least out of the french, the chinese and the americans. the french colonized them. that's a different thing than fighting a war. i think the french aspect was totally economic. those rubber plantations were a vital part of that. host: a key player in all of that, william westmoreland. how does history view his role? >> let me say something about those just said. it's an important part of how we process this war. i hope more people in this country will talk to the vietnamese-american community. you will learn about a lot of the stakes that were in play during this war that we never talk about.
vietnam.h colonized ,hen you talk to the vietnamese i speak vietnamese and i can get away from translators. the japanese were the worst -- of vietnam.e in th great have a long colonial history. the question in this post-world war ii period, how does vietnam , away from a colonial system. there were a number of anti-french political, away frol groups and leaders that were also anti-communist and a great percentage of them got killed before we got there. when ho chi minh was taking over in solidifying the communist system. a lot of vietnamese who were on them,de, we forget about
245,000 of them died on our side. 1,000,000% to reeducation camps after the war. 13.5 years in reeducation camps after the war, came here, rebuilt a life and system, if it had been in place over there you would see these are vigorous cultures. you would see explosions of -- very patient working with the vietnamese government to open the doors and re-create the the enemies in the communist government. thee was a lot at stake for m. >> wouldn't it be better to say --the united states >> i think both is true. i think there were common interests strategically for us and governmentally and politically for them.
they have host: been great americans. let me go back to my point about general westmoreland. how does history view his role in this? >> i don't want to some that up. it's just out of the area where i spent my time. the united states marines who were in vietnam, we sent 400,000, 300,000 were killed or wounded. more total casualties than any other war. war has its downsides but in terms of serving their country and doing their job, they were the finest people have ever been around. >> my perspective, westmoreland was a disaster. net october of 1967, westmoreland was the one pushing the hardest to say this war to one thing as a battle of attrition.
host: as you point out in your book lyndon johnson was saying give me numbers that will reinforce that. >> johnson was buying into that at that point. he had no clue how they were ever going to win the war. host: i want to get your cronkite.o walter it seems now more certain than ever the bloody experience of aetnam is to and in stalemate. every 90 to the eight, you are about to graduate from the naval academy and served our country. february 1968, you are about to graduate from the naval academy and served our country. walter cronkite made a different broadcast i don't dig was widely published, is saying something much more positive than that. in terms of a stalemate, here is what i was believing and i still believe. when i went into vietnam, first
, i adjust taken four years of education from for the naval academy to learn to serve my country. there were people over there, the war was not going away and they needed leadership. i took people on the political side of this, five years from now, six years from now come back and i will tell you what i really think. one of the things that i saw, we keep mocking -- these guys were not any good. i was a rifle team commander -- rifle platoon commander in a company commander. the belief that i had was the young artists that were coming, my age and younger that were being trained and learned different ways of military leadership are strong and overtime, maybe in the formula of north and south korea along
have we waited? someday korea will unite. i worked in europe as assistant secretary of defense and no one believed germany was going to unite as quickly as they did. you could have seen that same potential in vietnam. >> vietnam was united. it is a very different place today. >> there's no way you can wind back the clock. i started working with the inside vietnam in the vietnamese community here for many years. inside it not as i do here, sometimes i got mean trouble, the mantra from the communist on the cd american veteran is shake hands, makepeace. -- let'sshake the hand
all move together in the future. host: that your conduct of vietnam on occasions, other physical remnants of the war? >> as i was first going back in the committee 1, 1992, drove the entire length of the country. host: which took how long? >> about a month. we started in hanoi, drove near highway -- the national road all the way to cambodia. the agreement was let's treat veterans from both sides. let us help treat the amputees who were in the south vietnamese army and we will also treat the people from both sides. but bring them together. at that point, there were a lot of what you call remnants or reminders. some of them were deliberate. the communists are very smart.
would -- he would drive by and see the wings go up and you would remember those people left us. i went out to the battlefields. the first vietnam veterans go to the arizona valley where we thought and talk with the villagers. host: was that surreal? >> it was healthy to go talk to been underwho would fire from both sides. the hanoia good -- side, the communist side, built many cemeteries for their soldiers. victory monuments and those sorts of things. host: you were there in 2005 into this six.
it's available on our website at c-span.org. what did you see? >> we saw many remnants. . 44 miles northwest, met a farmer there would thought with the vietcong in battle. north vietnamese vision -- division commander. the commander of one of the companies of the first divisions black lions who fought in that battle. we met the farmer who'd been there at the time. we walk through fields out to the exact side of the battle and that one of his sons, who the year before had lost his arm when an american bomb exploded as he was working the field.
we also went up to hanoi. i'm short term has visited the peace hospital of their. these descendents, young girls 1314 years old with mutated limbs, largely from the effect. i've done ittext dozens of times without having to have a government handler come in and arrange prebrief the enemy on the other side so you can do nothing. i've stumbled on these, walk out in the arizona valley and deliver these other areas and bump in the who start talking
the who start talking about what they did. welsch, theyou one american tremendously -- walk arm and arm with the commander of the vietcong first division as they went through the battlefield together. ,id not speak the same language tried to kill each other some 40 years ago. we are respecting each other. that whole time as we walk the battlefield. host: a year in turmoil. driving issue was the vietnam war as we begin a nine part series part of c-span3's american tv. follow all of it on our website at c-span.org can't follow us on
twitter at c-span history. clyde joining us from minnesota. another vietnam war veteran. inc. you for waiting. -- caller: thank you for taking the call. i'm proud of the fact that my father served in world war i. i enlisted in the navy in 1967. also haved to performed and achieved conscientious objector show after enlisting in the navy yet i got orders to vietnam and i served in the rivers over there for one year. i could have refused orders but i did not. the gunboats were our escorts. i want to make this point. we need to be careful who we elect as leaders. in 1975. out nixon went to china. whose side -- was applied to
vietnamese? china. moral character, ethical character. very much matters. the truth, and i mean the truth, we need to get back on track with people we elect and the decisions they make that put so many people in families and harm's way. thank you for taking my points. thank you so much. host:'s service in vietnam and what he saw in the election of asian boys doead that and not american soldiers. >> i want to say how much i appreciate your call. there's a couple of important points that were made. one is, one of the things i learned during the vietnam period not just during my
service, was to respect anyone in this country who was operating within our legal system when it comes to you serve or whether you don't serve. there were a lot of people who felt very strongly on the other side. no question about that. respect the tradition of serving the country for those who step forward. the vietnam war has been characterized as a draft in war. i did a lot of work on this in the 1920's trying to say who was it, who served from a how does compared to other wars. two thirds of people who went into the war in vietnam were volunteers. 73% of the people who died were volunteers. my family has a history of volunteering. you asked me what was my political view in 1968, i was a marine. i wanted to lead people. , during the iraq period,
he and i both were very opposed to the strategy. i wrote a piece five months before the invasion saying this is going to empower iran and china. my son dropped out of penn state and enlisted in fought in ramadi during some of the worst fighting in iraq. served, not career people like the mccain family whom i admire and respect. when the time comes, we serve. that needs to be on the table where we remember these. host: you will also hear from senator mccain. johnson's chief of staff. he had said richard nixon undercut any efforts late in 1968 by president johnson to bring an end to the war.
>> there's a new biography of richard nixon by my friend jon notes -- found the writing about the way they were trying to undercut the efforts right before that election. through others working at that time. it is conclusive that was going on. could i make a larger point about the truth? -- you couldif you argue about policy. it's hard to argue the united states government was lying. wereok, that point there lying about body counts. they wanted to make the argument that it's going to win the war. the battle of attrition. if they killed enough north
vietnamese naval in the war. in this battle, that was a devastating loss to the black , general hay the first division commander lied. host: why did president johnson simply not pull the plug? since we say we are leaving. peace with honor. we will let the vietnamese deal with this issue. >> that have a long history to it and i would say it has to do it politics in united states and the way the republican party -- theed the notion of cold war through that period. in terms of body counts, there are two things that can be set. it was a war of attrition and ho chi minh used to say for every one of you, you will kill kind of us and in the end you will
get tired. -- came outnt pretty exact. one point 4 million soldiers dead weather one battle or another it was exaggerated and were losing an awful lot of people. that just needs to be sent. host: we will go to frank joining us and pau -- in palm bay, florida. caller: hello. i have a question for jim webb. i was with the fifth marines the same time he was. i know exactly where the village was where he was wounded. i wanted to know if he remembers the first test measures the frustration leads to feel -- remembers the frustration we would feel going to the same places taking the same wounded. they knew when we were coming and going.
it was the same thing day in, day out. hillot hit next anderson and please do go there all the time. it was in and out. frustration because we weren't getting anywhere. host: can you stay on the line, frank? senator webb. >> good to hear from somebody in the fifth marines. wasfirst time i was wounded off anderson hill. the second time was in the arizona valley. one of the things that was frustrating as a rifle platoon company commander, the lack of continuity of our intelligence. i was sitting with a good friend of mine years ago who got his eyes shot out in the arizona valley. we were sitting in his backyard. hesked where he was wounded
pulled out a map and said right there. i said i was wounded 800 meters away only two months later. is the inevitability of when you have these operations that are continually over the same areas trying to make contact with the enemy. find, fix and destroy as the fifth marines used to say. that was our job and we did it well. it was extremely frustrating. the fifth marines took a lot of casualties. host: did you want to follow up, frank? caller: thank you taking my call. really appreciate it. i really enjoy jim's books. hopefully he can make a bigger impact on vietnam veterans. >> semper fi. host: c-span brian lamb sitting down with senator mccain.
he was a prisoner of war in vietnam for 5.5 years. here's part of that interview. [video clip] >> one of the great things about being a fighter pilot, you are sure everybody else is going to get shot down but not you. >> and when that happened how many vietnamese were around you in that lake? , it's ai first went in long story but i was barely able to get back to the surface. a bunch of them jumped in and there's a picture which i'm sure you will show of them pulling me out of the lake. you can see my arm is broken. once they pulled me out they weren't very happy to see me. because i just finished bombing the place. we got pretty rough. broke my shoulder. hurt my knee again.
i don't blame them. we were in a war. i didn't like it, but at the , when you are in a war in your captured by the enemy, -- you cannot expect to have tea. pull me out of the lake, put me on the truck to mobile you a lot -- beat me up a lot and to the famous hanoi hilton prison. a five minute drive away. it's a very long story about how they found out my father was and decided to give me treatment and two wonderful americans moved me -- who thoughte they'd move me and to die in they nursed me back to health and after they saw me in better
health, they put me into solitary confinement. host: the full interview is available on our website. 45 years ago this past week senator mccain releasing this video on his twitter page. his release from captivity. you can see him walking to freedom. friend mccain is a great . i've known him since 1978. i tease him all the time because when i go to hanoi, if you drive to the west like you will see that memorializes were john mccain went into the lake. i like to tease john that he is the only american that has a memorial to him inside vietnam. morrison the guy who tried to kill mcnamara, also has a plaque. >> that does not surprise me. down, igetting shot
guess there are reasons the micro plaque there. -- they might put a plaque there. host: explain that story. >> i don't want to much about it. i saw the plaque of that, of an american who tried to kill mcnamara. considered a hero in parts of vietnam. host: let's get back your phone calls. fred from austin, texas. where and when did you serve? caller: i served in 1970-71. of combat infantryman out carried the m-16 machine gun in the bush, the mountains and the rice patties. who iscombat infantryman over there and suffer through all of that, the one thing that really irked me, the politicians
were making the rules of engagement. toward the end of my tour we could barely defend ourselves. coming back from admission to the rear for a couple of days, we would see that civilians that were working there in the mess halls that were hired, they were vietnamese. we carried the enemies scouts. these were captured prisoners that were converted into scouts to come along with us. they want the most trustworthy -- they were not the most trustworthy. we had our backs to the wall and we had no way to protect ourselves as the rules of engagement changed for political reasons. if you weren't there you put down on paper these rules. put the combat infantryman in a dire situation. that was the one thing that irked me. i served and i'm glad i served. proctor observed in all i want to do is say airborne all the
way -- all i want to say is airborne all the way. >> first of all i want to say thank you. i was in that first marine division. .he mountains separated us .e still see flares every night appreciate what you did. it was a very bad area in terms of combat in vietnam. out.oing to give one shout there were not many people from professional sports world who went to vietnam. one for this one was roger staab bach. bleier, greatcky back for the pittsburgh steelers. draft. he accepted the he might have volunteered.
wounded. a series of fights of june 69. always had tremendous regard for him. the rules of engagement were stretch. became more stretch. many times, very frustrating. the other hand, we are a nation of rules. while the great failings on our fault pointedd this out in 19 six the one -- in 1961ent in before we went in, we used artillery and supporting arms tactically, set a permit drop and you had on calls at night because the enemy would stage themselves and attack you. it was random in the villages they would seek stuff come out
of the sky. civilians were often heard. communists used assassination as a tool of diplomacy. the worst thing i saw was when people would say the south vietnamese district chiefs all corrupt. we make sure our company in herer said let's get and have a meeting with the villagers. we got 30 delegates and put in -- said the bottom of our perimeter 30 people in a small room. they came in with three hitmen, through three can -- through three grenades, killed 19 of the 30 people. up. need to own i say this to my friends. friends in the government in vietnam, he any to own up to the stuff that went on as a matter of policy. host: we want to remind our audience we're focusing on america in 1968.
america turmoil. the first nine part series. all of it available on our website at c-span.org. -- webb, niemi --y veteran, marine corps naval academy graduate, marine corps veteran. .nd david maraniss he wanted to follow-up. 1968.king about it was march 16, 1968. engagement,k about that is the worst that can happen when you don't follow rules of engagement. hundreds of old people, kids, civilians literally slaughtered by american troops. anaerobic american health -- a
heroic helicopter pilot stop them. it could've gone for longer. there have to be certain ethical, moral rules of engagement standards or that can happen. host: the objective of was what? and how many people died? >> several hundred. at least 500. host: the earlier point of the caller and what was happening on the home front. there was more additional oversight in 1968. how significant were that. ? >> every step of that was significant. you have to understand in 1968? , the war had lasted for another seven years. in terms of the turning point, congressional approval over the next two to three years, it changed the war considerably.
i don't know the exact number of people killed. whatever it was, it was atrocious. we recognize that. this is the most important point i can make. system of morality we declare this as an aberration. before communist cadre lined up about 2000 the 2000es and kill them -- and vietnamese and killed them. it was part of the policy. we can't seem to get that into the history. about --e are talking when we are allowing one side to cleanse the history of footage that was the propaganda footage mixed into her documentaries.
it seems that we were the evil source and that was all that was going on. i accept that there was a different system in vietnam that i would like to have seen. i brought american companies and to vietnam after the trade embargo was lifted. we need to have an honest discussion about our history. host: jensen is next from new hampshire. go ahead. caller: thank you for taking my call. senator webb, thank you for your service both in the service and afterwards in congress. -- i was at west point from 1968 to 1972. a classmate of mine wrote a book about vietnam in retrospect.
-- theof thesis general staff wanted to run the model of the war the europeans fought in world war ii. there were some pilot projects, what he called the inkblot approach, securing an area protections-hour for indigenous ash through indigenous forces as well as our military and spending those forces so people would see the benefits of a change of government. those projects, even though they had successes, they were abandoned because of higher level priorities. if you wed, i believe are a republican i would be addressing you as president
webb. [laughter] people during vietnam protested too much. i have different feelings about that. i now feel because people don't have skin in the game, don't have family at risk, people don't protest enough. if you still have the draft in people -- if military service was more widespread, we would have different policies in terms of iraq and afghanistan and elsewhere. host: thank you, from new hampshire. >> excellent points. one thing that i went through when my son was in iraq, it's one thing to go and fight in war, it's another thing to have your kid or your spouse over there. it's a different feeling. i used to say if one third of the congress had family members
, theyse people at risk would wake up every morning and wonder -- when you wake up every morning and wonder if your son is alive you have a different feeling. nothing this german said that i nothing this german said that i would disagree with. i'm not sure i would've one is in -- this gentleman said that i would disagree with although not sure i would have won as a republican. every young man of my age was debating with a reduced they were drafted if they opposed the war. their girlfriends and their parents -- it's created that atmosphere that led to it. him can protest enough. vital life blood of american democracy. .ost: you wrote about that
i want to click on the table this photograph associated press photo from eddie adams called a turning point in the war. 1968. photograph from it is -- capturing a moment beyond thef power reality of what was happening in terms of those two people. the nightly broadcasts in vietnam which were showing much more than universal in iraq in terms of the brutality of war. affects people in a more visceral way. host: when you agree with the washington post? eckersley photo of a saigon
execution that's shocked the world. agree or disagree? >> i would say the facts of that -- i knew eddie adams. he passed away. he is a friend of mine. he did the photography on a number of stories i did for parade magazine. he also was a marine in korea. individual who was shot had just killed family members of some of those people -- exactly what we're talking about in terms of just killing people. i'm not sure about the general. i know he was a police chief. maybe he was a general. eddie adams said to me pierce even award for that photograph. -- he received an award for that photograph and when they read this sort of comment about his picture he cried. intention of taking a photograph like that.
he was a professional photographer. host: the cut line describes him h -- yourut general and national police. from athens ohio, chester. caller: in reference to that photo, that police chief what he'd done, he killed several people in the village so he was a terrorist. he deserved to be shot. my point is -- host: you knew eddie adams. did he have any sense that this was about to happen? >> eddie adams was great photographer. i think he saw an event and started snapping. magellan makes an excellent point. that's exactly -- the gentleman makes them excellent point. cut: i did not mean t you off, chester.
caller: i think we should be allowed to protest. yet be careful of protest. on a protesting going on back then, their foreign-policy that controlled what we did -- by protesting all of this it handcuffed our troops. we could not go over to cambodia and chase people. they used it as a buffer and i think into be careful when you talk about protesting. i don't the goal ever forget with those people did. the policyit was that handcuffed the policy. host: let's go to bonnie joining us from bellevue, washington. hello. i'm the wife of a vietnam veteran. the war affected us at home in aly as those -- different way as those serving abroad. the point i wanted to make was
that in 1968 on only were the protests going on, april, may, --e of that year when we had my husband and i were 1964 graduates of high school, 1960 graduates of college. i don't believe most people were volunteers. my husband was a volunteer only because he was going to be drafted in three months. he walked in and volunteered because he wanted to choose the time to go. he felt he had no choice. , we had manylass who passed away, who were killed. ptsd. extreme cases of that from the class of 64 and the class of 68.
training. was in we had martin luther king killed, bobby kennedy killed. we had riots. it was a very tumultuous unsettling unhappy time. host: i want to jump in and remind you we are going to focus next week on those political events. but thank you for adding that to the conversation. all i want to thank you and your husband and your for what they did during the period and for him having step forward and served. it was difficult for a lot of people making those decisions. i know you're going to talk about it in your next segment,
in the months before i graduated from the naval academy in 1968 martin luther king was killed on april 7 i believe. robert kennedy was killed the night before he graduated. tremendous amount of turmoil in the country. you made a point which ought to be put on the table. as a family member of people served, i grew up in the military. there was one point when i was young my dad was gone for 3.5 years. he was able to come back for visits but he was stationed overseas. my mom's 24 years old with four kids living in a town where there was no support. now there are great support structures for nothing people but the price the families pay and sacrifices they make we don't often put into the formula so thank you.
host: you have both studied this war probably more than anyone else. going back to 1968, was there a path to victory for the u.s. ? >> i think we disagree about this. i think not. i think no matter what it was not going to be enough. cladding on someone else's turf like that -- fighting on someone else's turf like that is an impossible task. it depends on how you define victory. if you define it as a stalemate by korea perhaps they could have lasted but i don't think the american public had the patience for it. think with the growth of --tnamese military leaders in terms of what you're attractive what have been in 1968 as opposed to 1963, totally different set of circumstances,
i believe if we had lived up to wouldligations that there -- we would have been able to have had a stalemate. the chinese think in terms of hundreds of years we think in terms of months and election cycles. we should not forget the way this war ended in 1975 when we pulled the plug and let them hang. they were down to two artillery rounds. host: talk to my brother who inved two tours of duty vietnam. hasn't left a scar on the generation? >> if left scar on his country. absolutely. vietnam?t about in
>> the number is the youngest country in the world. so the vast majority of the the american war of aggression as they call it a speedbump in their history. over,he communists to go there's only one thing that's really taught. you have the vietnamese americans over here, 2 million -- americansnamese of vietnamese descent, that is a scar that needs to be healed. i've worked very hard over the years. you are a south vietnamese army veteran in vietnam you have no veteran status. host: explain that. >> you have no veteran status. it's a little bit like the confederate army after the civil war. that's how states rights got so
big. you are not recognized as a veteran. no medical care, no sorts of things. the cemeteries for the south to fallse were allowed apart. a big cemetery outside of saigon where they put the word traitor. thousands of south vietnamese .oldiers who'd been killed that meets be healed. we did this in this country. it took a long time. we did it. there's a confederate memorial in arlington national cemetery put in there in 1912. i like to take them there and say this is how we make peace. we bring people together.
we could do a whole show on that. host: we're talking with james as wend david maraniss look back on 1968. john from los angeles, vietnam war veteran, thank you for waiting. and.r: thank you, gentle i find the conversation a little scary. i would like to focus my remarks to the senator, who i do believe falls in the category of those who experienced things but forgets lessons this post to learn from them. vietnam was a terrible war. i don't know about the senator's recollection but most of the people in the field were drafted into the service. most of those people came back with that have not been healed and probably can never be healed . my personal experience was i went over to vietnam
volunteering. after my experience volunteering i realized that i was doing the wrong thing and most of the people around me were realizing the same thing. i came back and was not expecting thank you for your service and i'm hoping you don't say that to me. i came over realizing i made a mistake and i was wondering what i could do about it. i started on a quest of trying to figure out what the truth is. what's really going on. i found out now most people in this country forgot something. the wound has healed and sometimes people's wounds that he'll forget the pain. the pain we've had from those bones has been torn open by the way we are conducting ourselves in this world. what we're supporting, the hawkish attitudes that this program infers, is most just
settling -- most unsettling. >> let me give you some thoughts on the. in america everyone is entitled to their own opinion and have their own reactions to things they went through. life lookingof my at this issue, the issue of service. what this war was all about. i've spent time in vietnam looking at it. i represented an individual who was wrongly convicted of homicide inside vietnam for six years pro bono. there's room for different opinions but if you look at -- i'm sorry to say this to you. if you look at the polling data of people who served in the it, 91% are glad they served, 9% are not. 74% that they enjoyed their time in the military to some extent
and two out of three said they would do it again. there are people who do not agree with that. however you look at the views i've been talking about today with respect to vietnam i think you should take some time and look at the views i've had on other foreign-policy situations in this country. i was the first major figure to iraq wasnvasion of ,oing to be a strategic blunder although my family does have a tradition of service. we are a big country, 300 million people. a lot of different viewpoints. as david said, i think dissent and debate is a healthy thing so i appreciate what you said.
host: this is from 1970. interviewing some of those veterans involved in that operation that led to so many deaths. [video clip] >> we spoke to five of the lay --an soldiers at mi james of man -- of niagara falls of don'tgary crossley rio, texas. of tarponl bernard springs, florida. >> it's going to be a free-for-all. you can shoot anything that moves. >> shoot everything, men, women, children. every living thing. that was sort of the order. this is something a soldier has to do. take orders and carry them out. >> run around yelling kill kill kill to get it in our heads.
wethat morning about 7:00 boarded the choppers and went into the village. when we got off the chopper we started shooting. >> there were infants. it makes you think you and if they were considered beasts that you would think maybe a water buffalo calf or a low pay glick would fare better than -- a little piglet would fare better than a child. >> why give them an opportunity to grow up? >> how did the guys look? >> they look like they were having a good time. >> did you see anyone not? >> i think everybody was busy. >> what do you think a war crime is? >> i consider a war crime being over there. the idea of being there. host: david maraniss, infants, women, children, teenagers and civilians. >> lieutenant william kelly, the
commander responsible for this massacre, was brought to justice through that. people tend to forget there were -- the american soldier who intervened received hate mail from all over the country. kelly got a lot of support. it was a divisive argument even after this happened. that last point of the young man saying the war crime was being there, that is interesting. host: shoot anything that moves. you talk about saluting him following best saluting and following orders but at one point you say we can't do this? >> that clearly should not have happened. i think we understand that legally and morally as opposed to something that happened on the other side. in those kinds of situations something should be said. that is the leaders should be held accountable.
i represented this individual am an african american, 18 years old, 11 days in vietnam. the squad leader said shoot, he shot or the person who gave the order had civilian counsel from the states and got off. my guy had military council and he got convicted murder. representative for six years. he killed himself and three years later i cleared his name. the man says shoot, he'd never been told you're not supposed to abandon order. -- you're not supposed to obey an order. that is what i would say about that. >> in my opinion it goes all the way up to the top. to the president of the united states. host: gary, -- actually we will go to john from chicago. you will get the last word. caller: great conversation. wish we had three more hours.
namedp with a fella harvey. iran through boot camp with a fellow named emilio garza. cousin was ont the hilltop with a fellow named hayes from southern illinois. to talk threeough of my grammar school buddies into joining the marine corps. we come back all our fingers and toes. we've all got survivors blessings. will you guys talk about gratitude? it has been wonderful to see both ends of the seesaw with you guys talking. pts meetings with a fellow that served in the unit you write about in your book.
talk about grace and gratitude. jim, we need you back in politics. host: thank you, the last word. final comment. >> one of the soldiers in this battle who that the medal of ofor, i would like to think all of the 61 men killed in this reminder that wars don't and when the battles and. host: senator webb? >> i think this is a great conversation. this is what america is all about. host: the legacy and lessons today? >> of the vietnam war? war, firstk of the of all i can't help but think about the omission in our conversation is the south vietnamese who were with us and how they were treated after the war. the greatest mission for healing
process is to reach across and .ave the vietnamese be together that will eventually happen i think. on april luther king 4, 1967 one year before he was assassinated at riverside church in new york said if america's soul becomes totally poisoned part of the autopsy will be vietnam. host: david maraniss, associate editor and author of several books. webb, u.s. senator, jim author of 10 books. think you both for being with us. next week our series continues on march 30 five and our focus will turn to american politics the 1968 presidential campaign, richard nixon's defeat of hubert and pat, barbara perry buchanan will be here at the
table. m for those of you watching on american history tv, real america begins right now. this is an excerpt we showed a moment ago. in 1970 academy award-winning documentary recounting the events of march 16, 1968 in the village of my lai from the perspective of five army veterans that were there. thanks for joining us on washington journal. we are back with a live simulcast on c-span radio and washington journal 7:00 a.m. eastern time. bothmascaro, mike liles, on the congressional beat. a busy week for lawmakers including a funding agreement slaughteres to louise . anandater