tv Washington Journal Dan Caldwell CSPAN November 10, 2019 1:52pm-2:36pm EST
follow the house impeachment inquiry and the administrative response on c-span. unfiltered coverage live on tv, our radio app and online. watch prime breeders on c-span or screen any time on demand at c-span.org/impeachment. >> -- we fought and sacrificed while in uniform. we do this right recruiting, organizing and educating military families on policy issues and connecting them with the policymakers so their forces hard. the pullout of u.s. troops
from syria. your view on that. smart move or damaging? >> we haven't actually done a full pullout and we should go all the way like president trump promised and pull all our troops out of syria. i think it was the right move to pull our troops off the border. we didn't have an interest in being the middle of a fight between an imperfect nato ally in turkey and our local partners who are connected to a state department designated terrorist organization in the kurdish ypg. it was a good move to start a larger pullout. i don't think it's in our behindt to leave troops in eastern syria, the worse oilfields in the least. >> when do you think that what
happened? i would hope as soon as possible. setave accomplished what we out to do and we shouldn't leave our troops behind to try and engage in yet another nationbuilding exercise in the middle east. >> we've been hearing from democrats and republicans that this is damaging to security. >> i think there's a lot of hysteria around what was happening in syria. to destroyo syria isis the territorial caliphate. we did that and i think the reaction you were seeing from a lot of folks in washington both republican and democrats was a reaction from in effect what is the foreign policy establishment that really has failed us over the last 30 years. it's been 30 years since the fall of the berlin wall. pushing foreign policy that
hasn't made us safer and cost us dearly. they are reacting to a president who is challenging the foreign policy status quo. mcconnellwhat mitch said on the senate floor. we will get your reaction. >> the united states has taken the fight to syria and afghanistan because that is where our enemies are. advancing u.s. interests around the world does not make us an evil empire or the world's policeman. a prudent and responsible world power who stands up for our own security and the freedom of others. the coalition partners that is what we must continue to do. we must continue to provide support to the local forces that carry the law enforcement.
>> senator mitch mcconnell of kentucky. to his point that the enemy is in syria, your response. agree with senator mitch mcconnell on a number of issues. i think foreign policy is an issue where historically he has been wrong. he has generally supported the foreign policy we've had in the post cold war era. ability to project power from afar. whether it's turkey, russia, the assad regime, the kurdish ypg.
they learn their lesson by exhorting threat for too long and allowing it to emerge and it seeot in their interest to isis forma caliphate. in addition, i think a lot of our allies in the region and in europe have a more direct interest in what happens in syria than we do. the oilfields aren't critical to our economy. the oil in the middle east isn't as critical to our economy as it was 20 or 30 years ago because we have increased mastic production so much to shale production and offshore drilling and things of that nature. we really shouldn't be as engaged and concerned about the middle east as we once were. importanty not that
to us. >> david shelton out with a new book titled it should not be this hard to serve your country. at yourking aim organization and you in particular saying that you want to privatize the v.a. system which was one of the reasons he was forced out by the president. the former v.a. secretary bespoke is a great work of fiction. have never advocated for privatizing the department of veterans affairs. giving veterans health care choice and health care freedom. for health care choice to work you need to have a strong v.a. and we believe veterans should have a choice between a good v.a. and a good community provider. the v.a. shouldn't be their only choice and community providers shouldn't be the only choice.
that's what the secretary expressed on many occasions to us privately and in public. one of the secretaries problems is he's had a problem telling the truth did he would tell groups like us and people on capitol hill that he believes one thing and that he would go tell another group that he believes in another and he got caught. that's the real reason he ultimately had to leave his position. conspiracy of some to push him out. since he's been gone the v.a. has made good progress in advancing good reforms to the institution. at the cokeakes aim family. how much influence to they have in the policies the organization puts forth? >> nobody has ever told us you shall do this or support this
policy. we have come forward with ideas and fortunate to be funded by a large group of supporters and donors. >> who's the largest? the standpart of together community and charles koch is the chairman. we have been very blessed to have the support of his family and other donors around the country. the secretary completely misrepresents our views. for the first year or so of his tenure were very positive towards him because when we talk to him we thought he was on board with what we wanted to do and it was really up until the issues with his travel overseas which the office of inspector general found he had missed use .overnment funds >> he said they were there for a conference.
>> his chief of the staff at the time misled ethics officials as to the nature of the trip. of the trip was for sightseeing and nonbusiness related issues. vector -- of an inspector general who said he engaged in unethical behavior was an obama appointed official. he was appointed by the obama administration and he was the one who found it. it wasn't a trump administration political appointee. this was somebody appointed under the last administration. says v.a. was thought to be the only part of the federal government that is above politics but the environment in washington had grown so toxic subversive --d ultimately his own staff did him
in. response is that actually in many ways it's good that the v.a. is becoming more politicized and some people might find that statement shocking but for too long there is --bipartisan consensus challenged in a substantial way. the fact that you have elected -- is the reason why we've seen reforms like the v.a. mission act and accountability act. it's worth noting all those bills passed in a bipartisan basis that there was intense political pressure from groups like concerned veterans for america and others.
you would have seen the status wherentinue at the v.a. they are dumping billions of dollars in the system without any real reform. >> robert wilkie spoke to reporters friday at the white house. to veteransy spoke in florida, maryland, virginia. they say the wait times are still horrendous at the v.a. hospitals and the claims have not actually taken place. can you address the concerns of those members who say we haven't made those steps forward? >> will always be a hiccup in the system. one of the things the president has done by pushing mission is when those wait times are complicated and overly long we now give veterans the option of going into the private sector to
make sure those wait times are not a burden on that veteran and just in the last few months we've sent well over a million veteran into the private sector when we haven't met those wait times. there's always going to be hiccups in an organization this large. i come from that world i think mission is the great step forward when it comes to addressing the kind of concerns that you've heard. >> secretary wilkie spoke to reporters friday at the white house. your response? wilkie is doing a good job. i think secretary wilkie is a major step up in that regard. still issues at the v.a. and their progress in terms
of improving the culture at the v.a. and how it operates. act was made in its inception's in the 1920's and it is still being implemented but there are some good first steps particularly in expanding health care choice for veterans to the new veterans community care program. do an asseted to infrastructure review and look at where the facilities are and which ones need to be closed or scaled up. rollout theeed to new electronic health care system. there are still some cultural issues across the v.a.. this is the second largest government agency in terms of personnel after the department of defense. it is actually larger than the active duty navy. it takes longer to make changes to an organization that large
optimistic about the progress that's been made especially under current administration and the current v.a. secretary. is dan caldwell. our phone lines are open. if you're a veteran of the wars in iraq, 202-748-8000. for all others 202-748-8001. caldwell is a marine veteran. his service began in 2005. >> happy birthday to any of the marines out there and simplified. us from is joining maryland. >> there's a lot of bureaucracy in westslow process and
virginia there were veterans who were killed. insulin. injected with i commend the president on killing baghdadi. i want to emphasize that the western church has had history with warfare. they are not going to end this thing with turkey. turkey is a treacherous nation. >> we will get a response. >> i think turkey is a nato ally. i think that in the long term it is worth having a discussion whether or not they still belong in nato. in the present we have a defense treaty with them and a lot of people here in washington are
calling the kurds ally. we don't have a treaty with the kurdish ypg. work against and fight some of our other allies particularly kurds in iraq. so when we are talking about who our allies are and aren't ally is a very specific term that usually refers to folks we have a treaty with. that is something we should be examined. >> the caller mentioned the death of al-baghdadi. could it be compared to the whack a mole where you might kill one isis leader and another pops up? >> there will definitely be more leaders of isis for a different islamic medical group popping
up. was hiding in north west syria under the protection of al qaeda groups. amorphous and how these groups evolve over time. isis will bethat diminished because of baghdadi. it's also very likely they will more formally with other groups and they will remain a threat. going back to my point earlier the government's in the region whether it's turkey, syria, iran, russia. these are not perfect governments. -- islamic groups do not gain significant territory or pose a larger threat to the region. so they can play a major role in
managing those threats. is dan caldwell. we also welcome our listeners on siriusxm. we welcome you with your calls and comments. >> good morning. i have a couple questions getting back to the pullouts you say are happening in syria. i don't think we have pulled the soldier out of the mideast and all three years trump has been president. i think the answer is zero. if all these countries are fighting each other we don't want to be in the middle of that. why are we getting in the middle of iran and saudi arabia?
why don't we pull all the troops out? we are the biggest oil producer in the world. we don't need their oil. why aren't all the troops coming home? second thing as far as the i'm sure you and the cokes would love to privatize the v.a., social security, medicare. that's a big gravy train to get involved. i'm sure folks would love to get involved with all that money. timeld tell from the first you spoke that you are a trumper and i'm sure everything donald trump does is ok with you but not with me. >> we will get a response. >> starting off in the first part, i think in regards to an
foreign policy policy in the middle east is actually right it is disappointing that we haven't pulled more troops out of the middle east. i do think the president deserves some credit for questioning our overall involvement in a way that you haven't seen in a post-cold war era. onsident obama ran criticizing the iraq war and was probably allete because of that. in some ways deepened our involvement in certain parts in the middle east. i don't like the fact that we have troops back in saudi arabia. saudi arabia has the fourth largest defense budget in the world. they should be more than capable in defending themselves against iranian attacks or to turn them in the first place. thatdisappointing that needs to happen. in regards to the v.a. we don't
support privatizing the v.a., we don't think it should be dismantled. we want to give veterans a choice and not one that doesn't exist. >> larry joining us from tuscaloosa, alabama. >> good morning. how are you doing? >> i've gottastic three questions. my comment is that i've been with v.a. since 1983. sinceeen calling c-span 1984 and it's the first time i have ever in my life seen the secretary of the v.a. not show up on washington journal. the executive office of the president including the secretary of v.a. have shown up
on washington journal. -- my claim has been pending since 1991. how muchon with you is money is the coat others donating to your organization? is what isquestion smc and what is the highest level of smc? isthird question pertaining v.a.ng with secretary of who has the power to administrate the backlog where it won't be such a backlog like in my case from 1991. >> smc? you know what that refers to? >> i don't know what smc is.
i know usmca is u.s. marine corps. with the backlog unfortunately his issues are not unique. veterans have been stuck in the v.a.'s appeals or disability claims backlog for decades. there has been recent legislation passed designed to deal with it that hopefully will start clearing the backlog. one of the biggest issues has been some of the ways the v.a. processed initial claims that they weren't keeping up with a lot of technological advancements. they were still doing a lot of things via courier and sending stuff back and forth via mail instead of electronically sharing certain things and there were some rules implemented prior to the iraq and afghanistan wars that made processing claims more difficult. since the first decade of the century you have a lot of issues about backlog
claims. when i was working for a member of congress that was one of my jobs. hopefully they are in a better place with that. the headline, the president's opposition to endless hours. among the polling numbers among veterans 64% saying the war in iraq without fighting. during that served time, team agree or disagree? >> first of all i am found of my service in iraq. i think most veterans who served in iraq honorably who served without committing any war crimes or engaging in any type of dishonorable behavior would say the same thing. airmen the marines and and coast guard men that served in these conflicts are on the ine level those that fought
normandy. in myare the marines that gaze of the marine corps trained me and i look up to them and yet it always and they should be proud of what they accomplished. i don't think anybody can say with a straight face that the iraq war was a good thing for our foreign policy and national security. it has indisputably made us less led to the expansion of radicalism across the middle east. we are talking about celia in many ways. what's going on in celia is directly linked to our decision to invade. al-baghdadi is a very conservative muslim and was radicalized by the iraq war. powerddam still been in it's very unlikely he would have emerge.roup like isis
not a lot of people around town still defend that decision. there are still some that are. that ande may look view the iraq war as our country's worst foreign policy mistake. what senatort is chuck schumer warned on the senate floor last month. let's watch. >> what we do know is that the situation has rapidly deteriorated compared to just a few weeks ago and what caused this deterioration, one thing. the president's abrupt decision to withdraw u.s. troops from the region after a phone call with president erdogan. degraded and been more than 10,000 detained fighters were under lock and key to undo that that's putting america's security at risk. warrioralled tough backed off in a call with a much lesser power.
erdogan has done this before. we don't know how many of these 10,000 detained have escaped. we don't know where they've gone. nor is there any plan to get them back to these facilities. these are dangerous people. dangerous terror homeland. dangerous to new york and chicago and denver and los angeles. arewe don't know where they or what they're doing. all because of president trump's precipitous actions. get excited about this. angrily excited. sufferedy said he has terror 7000 miles away who did such damage. reported after isis has been on the run, no analysts say that mr. trump's pullout of u.s. troops from northern syria has handed the islamic state its biggest win in four years.
handed isisump has its biggest victory in his. how can any american support that? how can so many of our public and colleagues and republican supporters trump from their shoulders let me repeat. president trump's pullout has handed the islamic state's biggest win in more than four years and greatly improved its prospects. >> that speech from the senate floor by chuck schumer of new york. dan caldwell of concern veterans for america. your response. >> to be frank, i think that what senator schumer said was very hyperbolic and not based in reality of what's actually occurring in the history of the region. had -- it's interesting you had both schumer and mcconnell criticizing this decision and this just shows how
interventionist premises neoconservative liberal interventionalists, whatever you want to call it, foreign policy is in washington. that you have had oath major parties support a more aggressive policy in the middle years thathe past 30 has not made us safer. i go back to what i just said about the iraq war. that had bipartisan support. you had democrats tripping over themselves, people like bernie sanders whom i disagree with on many things but he was right about the iraq war. supporting that intervention. problemsnot have the we have today in the middle east had we not invaded iraq in 2003. i think that's indisputable and you have folks who want to ignore that and pretend like that wasn't the original mistake. in 2011.e war
a lot of folks saying that don't have the credibility to talk about foreign policy. >> quite the key player in the war in iraq was then vice president dick cheney. regular between this comment, hope dick cheney is watching this morning. reaction? >> i hope he is as well. i hope his daughter who is currently the house republican chair is also watching because she seems to be continuing his foreign-policy legacy in the house. >> guillermo is joining us from brownsville, texas. good morning. >> a couple questions. the first one is to mr. caldwell. i want to know if he's a veteran. my other question is why now.
why pull out now? is it because of the elections? third is why did they send us over there in the first place? terrorists have no rules of engagement and that war is not going to end now. >> our guest is a marine corps veteran who served in iraq. you want to respond? i think the president, i wish the president would follow through on his first order to pullout at the end of 2018 and that we would have pulled out in a more orderly manner and allowed the kurds to make a deal with russia or the assad regime which would have allowed the issues we have seen emerge be prevented. i would just say that just
because we don't have an on the ground presence in the country that we would lack the capability to deal with terrorist threats emerging from those countries. some the plans we had to go into afghanistan we had a long-range strike capability and intelligence capability and a lot of new surveillance cap ability. there are a lot of actors in the region that share our interests to ensure that there are terrorist threats developing in their backyard. have a lot of shared interest on other things but with countries like the assad regime and syria, even for non-which is a state sponsor of terrorism but of the shiite friday they have an interest in ensuring that isis doesn't
reemerge as well. that doesn't mean we should become best friends. recognize and use that dynamic in our favor. out theould point military campaign inside syria whether it was worth it or not. 55% of veterans saying it was not. 21% at say it was. and that mirrors among all adults. it of those adults saying was worth it. kevin joins us from south carolina. good morning. >> good morning. you remember eisenhower when he left office.
with his tax returns and things you -- one in the senate or the house wanted to provide their financial stock portfolios. i wonder how many of them have stock in lockheed martin and other defense contractors. and i would like to hear what you think of that. they can make a lot of that. people need to learn how to listen because a minute ago guillermo from texas wants to know if you're a veteran. i've heard it mentioned about 10 times that your veteran. that's the problem in this country's people are not listening. they are so brainwashed by other people that they don't listen. >> thanks for the call. we will get a response. >> in regards to defense contractors and the military-industrial complex i think it's right to question the
amount of influence they have in washington and there's definitely members of congress that are mores influenced by what they view as the interests of defense contractors in their state as opposed to what's best for the overall national security of the united states. that's why you see congress theme in and out forcing to buy things that they don't need, forcing them to keep open facilities they don't want anymore or that are under capacity. to be clear, i'm pro defense innovation. we believe there is room to reduce the military budget. there is still a primary function of the united states government to provide for our security.
if seen it during the height of the iraq and afghanistan wars. maybe shed about 60,000 sailors. betweentactile aircraft 2007 in part to pay for f-35 and also used in iraq and afghanistan. the b-1 bomber fleet has very little readiness because of our endless wars in places like afghanistan. we don't want our foreign policy influenced by what is best for a particular industry. it should be what's best for the united states. been in support of the v.a. mission act. >> it's a comprehensive v.a. health care reform bill that was passed in 2018.
signed by the president on june 6, 2018. i was fortunate to be standing in the audience and behind the president when he saw it -- signed it. people lobbied hard on capitol hill and in the states. it is intended to do a few things. expand health care choice for veterans, give them more choices in the private sector and the community, create an urgent care benefit for veterans so they have the option to walk into the urgent care clinics like cvs and walgreens. if there's any veterans watching they should see which clinics they can actually use. it also mandates that the v.a. do a better job at paying its bills. another big thing it does is mandate the v.a. conduct an
asset infrastructure review. go in and do an assessment of their entire andcal center foot print see what needs to be because the v.a.'s infrastructure is completely out with the current veteran healthcare population. >> this is a red line from the "new york times." you can agree or disagree. the president's veteran's healthcare plan is rolled out. officials administering the plan saying they were unable to -- a network rge large enough to accommodate all who may seek care. >> that's another story. do you agree or disagree? >> she's doing a great job covering these issues. she's identified and wrote bout -- a serious that issue
resolved.e >> the issue with the contractor, being able to manage the community care or private sector care networks, whatever them, is a call serious issue. if they can't do it then the reassess whether or not they are the right company for the job. these are the types of things will run into as they continue to implement the v.a. mission act. it's such a fundamental reform hiccups.e will be it important that the v.a. doesn't cover them up, downplay head-on and them fix the problems hopefully in conjunction with congress so we a place where veterans are getting more choice and access to care. those veterans is on the phone. call from kansas city, missouri. good morning. >> good morning. veterans is on the applaud all i veterans and i think they are extent as a some
ping-pong ball in the political process. they aren't responsible for what made.ons are they just fight. he next question i have and i'll get off the line. $6 about trump collecting million in iowa and diverting it to his own private use. answer that. thank you. > i think that any time a foundation or a charity collects funds to help veterans, they those funds ly use to help veterans. specific of the issues of the donald trump say ation, i would just that it's important that you're fundraising on behalf of vets that you're using those funds to help them. i don't know a lot of specifics about the recent court case or a settlement. beyond that, i don't have much to say about that. > what should americans think about tomorrow on veteran's day?
i think starting with veterans first, veterans should service.ed of their they should take time to reflect on their own service and how to serve theirue country. i don't think that a veteran service should stop when they the uniform and i think hat's one reason why groups like concerned veterans for more left leaning organizations, great organizations like team red, and others, that encourage veterans to serve. shouldn't just be about free fujitas at applebee's. should be about finding new ways to serve our country. that's rans, i think important. for the population at large it's important to be reminded that is veteran population actually getting smaller and the burden for defending our country a smaller and smaller group. we need to make sure that we're
sacrifice but t at the same time, making sure that there is a sacrifice of honored p that's through good policy, through not sending people overseas to wars in our national interests, that aren't making us safer. reducing our 're national debt which is a threat to the country that we fought veterans, and ensuring that veterans have access to the they n benefits that earned in service by reforming the v.a.g > if you want to check out concerned veterans for america online -- c-span's washington journal live every day with news and impact you.s that coming up, veteran's day, monday morning, we'll talk about issues facing veterans with leo of military times and his recent nterview with veterans affair
ke.retary robert will then a veterans reporter discusses her recent at stigative piece looking the rise in cancer rates among and discussing the past and future of u.s. defense. journal o watch c-span a.m.monday morning at 7:00 join in the discussion. veterans day on monday, laying the wreath at the tomb of the unknown. at 7:00, the abc news broadcast of the berlin wall. talk about terans the complexities of war. on veterans day online or c-span radio app. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning instit