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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  October 23, 2014 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening on a sad note, ben bradlee, the great editor of "the washington post," died yesterday at age 93. here are two excerpts from his appearances on this program. >> i wanted to be considered in the same breath as "the new york times". i really did. that was-- you know, i didn't like people to say "the new york times", i wanted "the new york times" and the post. and that helped. it was a big step on the way. >> rose: explain the chem stroh between the two of you. it seems like -- >> pe and katharine. >> rose: an odd couple that works. >> i done know how odd it is. but-- . >> rose: well, it's different. are you different people, i mean you and katharine are very different people you sat down with her and when you wanted this job and said of course the famous line, i'll give my left one to
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beed editor of "the washington post". >> it was managing editor. >> he wouldn't have given the other one. >> i was wonder being that. i was going to say you give one for "the washington post"-- i mean would you -- >> they got one. >> well, i i thought she was-- i mean daily newspaper is so much-- so vibrant, so pos tich, you can get somebody into jail, overnight you can do things. the chance to do t it was the perfect opportunity to go back there because i knew, i knew all the reporters in america at that time. i really did. i knew the good one, the good young ones am i had a good-- . >> rose: but i mean you needed the public to like her but she needed an editor like you. >> okay. that's probably why it worked. >> rose: most people say this, what bradlee has is
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great instinct. that's what you have in abundance. what do you think it is about being a good editor that served you well? >> well, i think i was curious. i think i came along at the perfect time. i mean you just can't qib well my sense of timing. just as katharine graham was interested in expanding the post and spending some money on the news product and the conversation about the posting about such a, i mean the post was a nothing, no good, rotten little paper when i came there which is not true. >> rose: it wasn't the best paper in town though? >> okay, but it was a good paper, and some of it was, it had a wonderful editorial page and a wonderful editor. >> rose: we continue this evening with barham salih, a prominent kurdish leader in iraq and we take a look at the situation on the ground
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in the conflict with isis. >> kobane has formed an attitude in the following sense. there was a period of time when we all thought that kobane is on its own. left to die. the message was that kobane is of no strategic value, is going to be taken over sooner or later by isis. these brave men and women in kobane took on isis, defended their territory, and really changed an attitude. >> rose: we continue this evening with martin amis, a british novelist. his new book is called the zone of interest. >> you don't normally see more than about five percent of anyone, yourself included. and quite right that you shouldn't. that this terrible, you know, just the tip of the iceberg, not the mass of the iceberg. but in an atrocity produce og situation like auschwitz, you see the rest of the 95%.
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and everyone describes the experience as being one of the staggering surprise. as a perpetrator, you find that you can do it, or you like it. as a victim you find enormous strength in yourself and the voices of the survivors are of such a high level of perception and wisdom and apherism that convinces you that what helped you survive was force of life. >> rose: a look at the conflict in iraq an a conversation with martin amis when we continue. >> funding for charlie rose is provided by the following:. additiona funding provided by: and by bloomberg, a
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provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. barham salih is here, a veteran kurdish politician from 2001 to 2004. i was the prime minister of iraqi kurdistan after the fall of saddal hussein regime in 2004. he was appointed deputy prime minister of the interim iraqi government. he then served as deputy prime minister in al-maliki's cabinet following the 2005 elections. in 2007 he founded the american university of iraq. its mission is to offer iraqi citizens a comprehensive american-style education. i'm pleased to have him here at this table for the first time, welcome. >> thank you, sir. >> rose: i really appreciate you coming here. and you have been recommended by my friends as
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someone who has a real understanding of where we are with respect to isis and with respect to what is happening within iraq and its implications beyond iraq, syria and throughout the middle eastment let me just begin with where help us understand how isis became what it is. >> it's really very difficult to answer that question in some ways because of the logistics behind what we see is quite phenomenal, despite the american air force attacks and despite the international effort that is going into stopping isis, we still find them agile, taking us on. so one should not underestimate the logistics, the and tenacity of this organization. but if i were to come up
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with what i consider to be a reasonable answer to the question, it is consequence to failing politics in our part of the world, a consequence of the carnage in syria that has become an incubator for extremism an terrorism. and in some ways also i would say if i were to take a step back, there are parallels to be drawn between their situation and that of afghanistan. remember then to defeat the soviet union and its proxy, western powers, arab powers, lots of money and resources to help the mujahideen defeat the soviet union. and the soviet union was defeated. mission was accomplished. people walked away. and overlooked a small detail at the time, seemingly small detail, fanatics called al qaeda. that was thought of as insignificant in the case av -- -- of afghanistan, only to discover fierce, after that, that they were very vengful and very dangerous.
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i think in the context of the conflict in syria, and i have to also admit the conflict in iraq, the ongoing conflict in iraq, a lot of enabling environment was created for these terrorists, for these extremists to flour shall. and we're paying the price. it is a consequence of broken politics. it's a consequence of sirius cracks in the regional, the rivally between the turks, the iranians, the saudis, alienation of various communities, particularly the sunni communities. all of these combined has lead to the emergence of this, what i call a scourge an a very serious and-- . >> rose: a scourge and a very serious. >> an profound challenge to everything we stand for and hope for this that part of the world. >> rose: and the seeds go back to the iraqi war? >> i really think the iraqi war, are you talking 2003. >> rose: al qaeda in iraq. >> al qaeda in iraq, well, i pose to you the question about islamic extremism in
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afghanistan and how it was overlooked. and then it became-- a contaminater to the political discourse in that part of the world. before the iraq war there was sectarianism in iraq. there was a brutal regime. under saddam hussein that committed genocide against the kurds, and practiced sectarian discrimination against the shiites. and to be fair, has also eliminated any alternative sunni leadership to saddam. so under saddam while the violence was under the table, was under the rack, and "the new york times" of the world would not be able to report on it in detail, but that violence was underneath was happening. and this has lead to broken iraqi society, polarized iraqi society. when saddam was overthrown, all of these forces came to play. and i have to say, over the last ten years and certainly on the eve of the war when
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we had high expectations of what will happen in iraq, somewhere along the lines we did not achieve what we hoped for. and the political conflict-- con done done condition strukt that we put in place could not deed deal. >> rose: i'm thinking specifying the political leader of isis was with zarqawi in iraq. >> of course. >> one way of looking at this thing, and the analogy, i would say, viruses and bacterias, you know. it started with a small sunni insurgency in 2004 or so. we quelled that but did not address the root causes of that conflict. lead to zarqawi-- zarqawi an al qaeda which i would have considered to be a more dangerous mute ant to the previous version. and now we have isis which again, is difficult to draw relative terms saying this one is worse than the other. but it is another mute ant. and my point is that unless we deal with the root causes of this problem, five years
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from now, even if we deal with the threat militarily, we could have a mutant of this isis. >> rose: so what are the root causes? >> broken politics. a political arrangement that is so isolation or marginalization of the sunni community. in my view corruption. because this conflict has a political economy of its own as well that allows these conflicts to continue, and lots of people are making money out of it. the regional rivalries between the major powers of that part of the world. remember turks, iranians in the arab world are major poles in that region. and i would say also if one were to think globally, the international communities has a lot of responsibility in terms of how the engagement with the middle east has been. in terms of immediate causes of this conflict, i think the continued carnage in syria has been a real
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problem. it has become an incubating ground. and again i go back to my parallel with afghanistan. the same dynamics, in order to achieve a certain objective, people tolerate a lot of human servicing and human-- loss of human life. and in the process, things like this evolve and develop and they become difficult to deal with. >> rose: you argue that isis is different because it is a a, it is a different time. b, they take advantage of some command and structure, because they have access to officers and. those sunni military people-- in a way the term stage applies to them because they have territory, they are in control of territory. >> rose: they have command and control. >> they have command and control. there is a fusion between the hard-core jihadist, hard-core jihadists and
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those former baathist officers. and other communities that have disgruntled-- today i was told an interesting story. telecommunication company from where i come from is running, has been running an internet service in the city of mosul. isis has taken control of that place. has appointed, apparently western educated person to be in charge of internet service in that town. and they talk to this certificate net provider over the internet over how the service should improve or not improve. what to do. so you are talking not of your typical al qaeda operation. you're talking about a semi state, with access to money. because they have stolen a lot of money from smuggl smuggle-- smuggling as well as extortion and what they got from the bank accounts. command structure from the former military people who know what they do. and also the weapons that they have received in syria. remember from what i am told, a lot of weapons went from the warehouses in libya, to
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the, what was hoped to be the moderate city and opposition that ended up in the wrong hands. >> stop there for a moment. in other words, when the president said he worried about that at the time, that he is now being sharply criticized for not doing it, there was evidence that it was coming in from other places headed for the moderate syrian and never got there i think that is fair to say. we see the evidence. some weapons of these have come from what we see, libyan warehouses in the aftermath of the conflict. but also in moss you will and the other places-- mosul and other places when isis attacked and actually were very specific in going to the army barracks and so on, have acquired a lot of weapon systems. and apparently they have a trained core of officers and people who are able to utilize these weapons. my point of view, this should not be underestimated this is going to be with us for some time. >> rose: i hear you clearly.
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the present fight is in kobane. >> uh-huh. >> rose: where is that tonight as we speak? >> i was speaking actually to a very senior person who-- . >> rose: its people on the ground. >> the kurds are the ones on the ground and kobane, the fighting continuesing today there was fighting around kobane. and the threat has not been alleviated. the american military strikes, and to be fair, the arab coalition who have joined with the americans also, have also taken part and one has to appreciate them and thats with a significant development. >> rose: even women pilots. >> even women pilots. but kobane in a way to me as a kurd really has a lot of significance. kurdish history has been that of tragedy. has been that, that we have no sense but the mountains am we have been left alone and international powers have often ignored us.
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to suffer terrible consequences. obviously with the american no-fly zone and american support over the last few years a lot of things have happened in iraqi kurdistan. but kobane has formed an attitude in the following sense. there was a period of time when we all thought that kobane is on its own. left to die. the message was that kobane is of no strategic value. is going to be taken over sooner or later by isis. these brave men and women in kobane took on isis, defended their territory. and really changed an attitude an i think the image of these-- defending their homes t is truly n my view, i hope this is not my kurdish view of the world but it tells me, and should tell others the middle east
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and that part of the world are not all fundamentalists, are not retarded in their thinking about the way things should be. people care about a decent quality of life. and for women to take action and to be in the front line and taking on these bigots who want to enslave women, who force them to cover themselves from head to toe, it was quite a powerful message. it has become a symbol of resistance. >> rose: it is said, there was a time ten days ago in which you could hear in washington and in iraq kobane is go tk to fall. >> yes. >> rose: is it less certain today? >> i think the dynamics have shifted in favor of the different-- of the people in kobane in their city, but as i was told today, the threat is still there, not to be
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underestimated-- underestimated. again we are talking about a very tenacious, resourceful, determined enemy. >> rose: an equipped army. >> and equipped army that sees in kobane a symbol. it has become the following, to me, kobane, if god forbid were to fall to isis, this will be a major victory for isis. this will be-- . >> rose: a huge symbolic victory. >> a major defeat for the coalition. >> rose: and it also gives them strateg strategic t is strategic because of how they can use that. >> of course. and despite the american support, despite the coalition support, we can do it. they can to the do it i'm hopeful with the determination that we have, we must really make sure it won't happen. some important development is happened, i'm told the turks will allow safe passage of iraqi kurdish peshmerga units to go there. that has a lot of significance. and i will tell you why. because we have invested a lot of effort in turkey and turkey has to be fair to
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embark on a peace process with the kurds of turkey. develop this relations with iraqi kurdistan. there was that period of time when if seen, things will not come out the way we wanted it to be. so this opening in turkey's attitude towards kobane is a welcome sign. hopefully this will help salvage the peace process. this will hopefully mean bringing this coalition of international actors with regional actors, with the local communities, with the kurdish people on one fundamental common cause, defeating extremism in that part of the world. we can disagree. we can have differing views about this particular issue and that. but with isis and what they represent, there should be no differences here. >> rose: and do you believe the turks have come whether it's because of pressure from the united states and other places. >> i don't want to talk about that process. i think if these reports are to be true, and i'm told they are true, that the
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passage will be allowed. i would welcome that as an important opening. and i hope we can-- . >> rose: vbts they also been attacking some of the-- . >> rose: revolutionary kurds that they fear? >> indeed. >> rose: do they have a reason to fear? >> in my view, no. in my view, over the last few years there was lots of effort put in the peace process to change, i mean the violence in-- between the turkish military and the pkk has lead to a lot of casualties. and this has been really a drag on turkish democracy and the prospects of better democracy in that part of the world. the kurdish people are indigenous people of that part of the world. they should have the right to speak their own language. they should have the right to express their national identity. and the 21st century this cannot be called by-- there should be a peace process. >> rose: there was a peace process. >> there was a peace process,
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so when that attack happened, when that military strike happened, we all got very concerned and we are still concerned. but i hope with this thing that we see with the passage to kobane and the changing policy which we hope we will be seeing in reality, things could revert back because there is so much at stake with that peace process. at the dawn of the 2 1s century, the kurdish people cannot be denied their basic rights to identity, to language and to be equal citizens of their country. >> rose: as part of iraq or as a separate state. >> every kurd dreams of independence. when i'm in new york, often i drive by the united nations, it pains me not to see the kurdish flag there. so as you well know there were people at the time of the iraqi war argued that like balkans, that you know that iraq would split up
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between sunni shi'a and kurds. we all know that after the iraqi war, the kurds did well economically. and were considered a great ally and that there were many who wished that there would be a separate state. but seemed to me that sore of there was a conventional wisdom that that is not the best thing to do at this time? let me explain to you where we are. as i said every kurd dreams of independence and that is a basic right. we have given iraq the chance. we voted for a constitution that promised us a federal democratic iraq. >> rose: an kurds are part of the government, as you were. >> absolutely, as i was. we want a democratic iraq. if iraq succeeds and baghdad is stable, if baghdad is democratic, i think the kurd was want to stay within iraq, would want to stay within iraq. >> rose: if it's democratic and what? >> federal are, decent. a federal iraq in which
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allows the kurds our government as we have now, but the way baghdad is going these days is really challenged it has a very, very serious political obscurity situation. in my view t is in our interest to help baghdad work its problems solve its problems and for to us be part of a prosperous democratic iraqi is a viable option. but if iraq becomes dictatorial there there be very few kurd was could be convinced to stay in iraq. >> rose: and when will that moment of truth come? >> at the moment everybody is busy fighting isis. >> right. >> that is a big, big challenge. we all confront. and the ministers have just joined the government. mr. abadi has a difficult challenge ahead of him number my view we have to support him and try and make this government work, to deal with the security situation but deal also with huge economic problems that
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he has inherited but also compounded by the decline in oil prices. it's going to be a huge challenge for his government. this is in our interest, in the interest of the shi'a, the sunnis and kurds to really work and defeat isis. this will be decided in baghdad at the end of the day. if we manage and prevail, then i think there is a chance to overcome some of the sensitive at this times. >> rose: to create a federal state. >> a federal state that is democratic. i don't want to be a dreamer and say this can be done overnight. iraq has a long, long way towards becoming a democratic state. >> rose: let me go back to the war and the fight against isis. what is necessary to defeat them? because i saw general dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs the other day, say the climactic battle will come after kobane for mosul that that will be the climactic battle. >> i really, win general dempsey, a good friend who i worked with when he was in
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baghdad has helped a lot at the time. >> but you beg to differ? >> i think obviously he, the battle for mosul will be very crucial. but so is the battle for anbar, remember the iraq -- >> which is closer to baghdad. >> not far off from baghdad. and this threat is too sirius to consider. in my view, we definitely need a major military component to deal with this thing and remember the iraqi military has collapsed and it will be some time before it could be stood, if at all. >> rose: why did it collapse. >> politization, sectarian divide and basically bad command, okay, at the end of the day, you can try the best you can, but if you do not have loyal officers and you do not have commanders who can believe in this project, you can't sustain it. and in my view corruption was the most critical reason why the iraqi military collapsed the way it has. but at the moment abadi,
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prime minister abadi is trying to stand what he considers to be national guard this will be important. i want to council though. the military component is very important. but absolutely not sufficient. because you can defeat isis militarily, but if you don't address the political causes of this conflict, two years from now, you an i, you may invite me again to the show, we will be talking about the son of isis, anmore dangerous. >> rose: let me just do this, and be clear. militarily what you need to do before we talk about the causes, militarily what you need to do is make sure that you win in kobane, that they do not take over kobane. number two, an bar and it threatens baghdad. >> yes. >> rose: an number three, cut off their financial supply and -- >> i would say cutting off their financial supply, dealing with the political economy of this conflict which is not only what money
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gets to the isis, but it is also the corruption that is afflicting political insecurity in situations. the curbeddish forces are going well, doing better now. we have had a few difficult days early on into the conflict. we are receiving some american an other european air drops and so on. and training. we need to develop that. sunnies are going to be halt in my view the national guard, at the end of the day, the people of mosul, the people of ramadi need to be in power to take on an isis. obviously the shi'a community -- >> how do you empower them. >> by helping them militarily, by enabling them to be part of the government. by giving them a stake in this process. i mean one of the reasons that we have for the rise of these extremists and taking over these territories, probably these community does not feel a sense of ownership to the political process in iraq. >> rose: you welcome the iranians to do this? >> the iranians are a major
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neighbor of iraq. they have been involved in terms of pushing out isis, out of concern for their own security but also the security of the shi'as in the kurdish areas. we cannot ignore the reality of iran as a neighbor as it has also vital interests. that is why i think beyond the military issue, beyond the political and economic issue, there is the big strategic issue that needs to be addressed. this is the middle east. there are a number of regionalctors, namely to be brought in to play their parts against this threat. >> rose: let's just name them. >> turks, iranians, the arabs, the saudis. and the point is. >> rose: and the united states. >> of course the united states is the global power. i'm talking about the regional actors of any of these powers, if they are not part of the big strategy to he rad kick-- eradicate this group, they can be spoilers. in my view t cannot be done. it's like the syria conflict. we can talk forever about the military solution to get rid of this conflict and,
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but in my view t has been complicated so pro foundly, it's difficult to think of a military strategy while these people are around. we need some form of regional compaq, regional agreement to enable a force a political set am that will see syria out of this mess. in a way, iraq's policies is of consequence to us, the various communities of iraq. but the neighbors of iraq have a lot of influence, leverage. they often medal and intervene in these things so the ways say bit more complicated. the americans have a vital role to play. my motto to my colleagues back home, and even to american friends, i talk to in washington, america is the indispensable nation in the world. american role is vital, important, but we also have to understand the limitations of america.
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at the end of the day, this is a battle that can on be won by the people of that part of the world. we will need american assistance. we will need american support. but if we are not willing to carry water for our own country and not to own up to our responsibility, i bet years from now you and i will be talking about the same problem. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> rose: pleasure to you have. >> thank you. >> rose: back in a moment, stay with us. >> martin amis is here. by reputation he is the bad boy rock star of british fiction, even though he is a grandfather now and lives in brooklyn. his latest novel is the zone of interest, it is a dark satire set in an fictional branch of auschwitz as th the-- nasesi war-- be unlikely love story unfolds. the zone of interest is an controversial novel. am cyst french and german
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publishers rejected it. the frej may have changed now, in his native britain reviewers are calling it his best work for 25 years. i am pleased to have martin mamis back at the table. welcome nice to be here. would you disagree with any part of that introduction. >> no, i don't think so. >>. >> rose: but you think this is the best work in 25 years? >> i think it's got a chance of being my best novel. >> rose: period. >> yeah. i'm very, when i pick it up i'm very agreeably surprised and impressed by how it sort of hangsing to. i thought it was going to ask a lot of the reader, but in fact, it seems to be-- it move as long. >> rose: but tell me what it was that drove you to want to do this, because you have touched on this elsewhere. >> yeah, i wrote a novel about it 25 years ago, nearly. well, novels come from your own conscious.
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and i once defined it, as novels come from silent anxiety. it comes from what you don't know you are worrying about but something is eating you but it's subliminal. you get a glimpse of this subliminal world which is also your dream world, as well. sometimes you just get a shiver an a throb and you think i can write fiction about this. and that is what makes you go forward. it's not any determination to investigate historical events. it's just this gift from your subconscious. and all i had was, an it's expanded on the very first page of the novel, is a sort of love at first sight moment against violently implausible background. or anomalu background. and i wrote page and as sometimes happens, when all is going well, the rest of
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the novel sort of appears to be there. and sort of bureauing, sculpting away at it and getting into shape. >> rose: you said you were liberated when you read what-- had said it is the sacred duty not to understand. >> yes, it was a real-- eureka home for me. because i had been reading about this quarter of a century, an i was becoming frustratedly aware that what i knew much more than i used to, i hadn't penetrated it, not an inch. it seemed to me just as incomprehensible as unbelievable as it had when i started seriously looking into it, in fact, i reread martin gilbert's the holocaust. and i compared the two editions that i read them in. the same exclamations marks in the margin, the same undiminished incede allity, and i thought i can to the
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penetrate it, then i read premier levies one must not understand it. because to understand is to include it within yourself, to absorb it and we can't do that. >> rose: because it is so horrific. >> he said because it's anti-human, really counterhuman, the nazi hatred is hatred that is not in us it is outside man. and for me i have been trying to understand why they did it. and he takes the pressure off the why. and suddenly i could perceive. >> rose: and there is this wonderful dialogue in which i think one says, why to a guard. and he says-- you will not find out why here. >> there is no-- here there is no why. >> rose: which is-- he means there is absolutely no sort
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of rhyme or reason to it. but that was true of the whole policy. i know-- you know t a remarkable fact that no historian claims to understand hitler and many of them make a point of saying that they don't. and some like alan bullock, his first british biographer said the more i learn about hitler, the harder i find it to understand. >> rose: but you say that you constantly even find yourself intrigued by him, by that question. >> well, i do because no one says it of anyone else there are no historical figures who cause such universal consternation. no one would say that of stalin. he is a kind of singularity, hitler. and a couple of brilliant diarist, contemporary, german diarists said this is all beyond history it all outside history.
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as if this sort of a tear in the universal and this happened to take place. >> rose: there was this awful aberration. >> yes. >> rose: or more than that. >> something that felt supernatural. i mean i don't know about you, but i don't believe in the supernatural. but this certainly looks and feels supernatural. and you know, whereas stalin who was a much more remarkable man then trotski ever gave him credit for. said he was a gray blur, immediate yok rit, stalin was never that. but what he was was a marxist, so he tried the socialist experiment along rigid marxist lines. and with the results that you see. tried to batter reality into this utopia. and reality resisting all the time, of course. but with hitler there's no real ideology. a couple of cheap and vulgar
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notions about race. the jewish world conspiracy which is the schizophrenic's first and most miserabl miserable-- stain. and land empire, and that's it. one german historian said that it was never an ideology it was just a rallying cry for sadists. saying if you are prepared to kill and beat and rob for no provocation, then come to my flag, an we'll march together. >> rose: where does honor and bannality of evil set in here. >> she was a very clever, indeed. but they called that book on ikeman in jerusalem, she proved herself to be the worst court reporter of all time because she absolutely seemed to fall for ikeman's
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self exoneration when he said that mi just a gray bureaucrat following orders. i don't have the imagination to do other. but ikeman has been recently shown-- . >> rose: a new book on him. >> yeah, not at all beenal. he said i will leap laughing into my grave knowing that i have a million jews, the death of a million jews on my conscience. in fact, that was his great source of strength. i think the best thing-- . >> rose: did he say that near the end? >> nearish the end. i think the best remark about the bannality of ef sill robert j lifton, the author of the nazi doctors who said, he said they may have been bannal when they started, and i'm sure there is a lot of truth in that. but once they started killing and producing atrocity producing situation, they weren't bannal any more. and then they became --. >> rose: they were what. >> months truss.
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but it is perhaps the greater mystery, hitler is mystery, the german people another mystery. and it's a slander of the jews that they-- but it's not a slander-- slabber of a huge faction of germans that they went like sheep to the slaughter house and donned the rubber aprons and got to work. the most highly educated society that ever had been on earth was capable of that. >> rose: it's incomprehensible too. >> it is. >> rose: you quote from macbeth, i am in blood, step so far that should i wade no more, returning were as tedious as to gore. >> it's a mystery to sane people why-- the war was lost very early on it was lost in december 41ee when the blitzkrieg against russia collapsed and hitler
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acknowledges this in the war diary, no victory can be won. four days later came pearl harbor and he declares war on america. so he's got ussr one flank, and the u.s. a. on its other as well as the british empire ranged against him. and then he is obviously thinking that the war aim of dominating europe is over. but the war aim of killing the jews is still achievable. and he sort of thought that was worth doing. and in his last will and testament just a few days before his suicide, he said that i will be thanked by future generations for purging europe of its jews. that cancer of mankind. and he honestly thought that he had done humanitarianity a service. now i don't understand that.
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>> rose: is any-- have you read anything that argues that if, in fact, he had not gone to russia, if he had not learned the lesson os of napoleon. >> well, the war would have been different. >> the first law of warfare is never invited-- invade russia. >> rose: i know. >> the same historian i mentioned halfner says that actually, if we search for coherence in hitler's psychology and action, the only one that makes any sense is self-destruction. -- . >> rose: the only coherent idea is self-destruction. >> self-destruction. >> that his ideas were inoperable. land empire was a preindustrial notion, that you could just, swallow up these huge vistas. and once the war failed, he
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honed in on a new enemy, germans. and his conduct of the war, especially in the last year was designed to let the russians in, and not the allies to the west. and to make it as rough as possible, make the defeat as thorough and disastrous as possible, national debt was what he had in mine for germany. >> talk about creating the character, tell me who thompson is. >> thompson is he's a young ss officer. he's the nephew of martin boreman. and he's independently rich. and in gives him a sort of zelig aspect in that he pops up in various places in the reich. and he does odd jobs for his uncle. in this case-- drz and with some protection from his
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uncle. >> yes, very much so. in this case its extent of this surprised me very much when i looked closely into it. auschwitz consisted of three camps. auschwitz one, beccanaw where the killing took place an monolith which was sort of five kilometers away. and there they were building the biggest an most advanced plant in europe, ig farthan was funding it. and the idea was to make germany self-sufficient in rubber and in synthetic fuel. >> rose: which could have been a factor in the war. >> it could certainly have prolonged the war. and when this factory was supposed to come on line t would have consumed more electricity than berlin. and 30,000 jewish slaves died trying to produce synthetic rubber an synthetic fuel. now thompson, who is really the hero of the book.
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>> is-- he is one of millions of germans. they sometimes say they were about 40% of german, and obstructed it in as best they could, you know, without putting their lives on the line all the way. only a few people did that. so at first he's just an obstructer, gives bad advice, ideaologicallically sound but ruinous advice. but then when the relationship with the commadant ex-wife blowsoms into real feeling then he starts to be an active saboteur. and he is discovered and arrested. in the very last pages of the straight narrative of the book. >> rose: but protected. >> dwra, he does a few years in prison. >> rose: why the affair. what is the purpose of having him have an affair with the come dant's wife? >> it's not an affair.
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he doesn't even kiss her on the lips. it's just one kiss,. >> rose: is it an obsession? is it what? attraction? >> what happened to germans. >> rose: was it love? >> yes, he falls in love. and that's what empowers him to become a real resistant and not just a foot dragger. what happens to ode, sane germans was that they after 1933, it wasn't horror that they regarded hitler's promotion to the chancellory t was a sort of complete sense of unreality, as if are you in a synthetic world. and then as the private space was crushed into almost nothing, you would think all your finer feelings would leave you. and would you think, you would be quite glad to see them go. you think oh, let it go. i can't be thinking about
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poetry, about love. and you divest yourself of sensibility. and what happens to him in auschwitz is that he feels that feeling coming back. when he sees her. >> rose: so he gains a sense of what it means to be human. >> yes. >> rose: and then there is-- i don't know how to pronounce this. >> smulze. he's a polish jew who is the most degraded of everyone in the whole story of the holocaust. he is part of the special detail that deals not only with the corpses and processes and shaves the hair and gets out the fillings and grinds the bones and all that, but they also have to mingle with the evacuees when they arrive on the ramp. and say welcome, you know, i hope are you not too tired after your voyage.
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will you soon feel better when you have your meal at the guesthouse. was in fact they were all going to be dead in an hour. so the most ambiguous, the most morally questionable of all the actors, they would be killed themselves. you only delayed your death by a few weeks. and in fact-- . >> rose: so he would be dead -- >> yeah. but he prolongs it by making himself indispensable which is agony because he's helping the german war effort in the war against the jews. but they did, the sanders did occasionally save a life. they finkel, they go up to a young man and say are you 18 years old. and you have a trade. as they are approaching the selection. and the nazi doctor would look you over and say how old are you. and you would say 18, if you were younger you would go straight to the gas. and you would say an an electrician, i'm a carpenter.
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would you prove yourself that way. imagine a job sander commander where your first duty is to cremate your predecessors. that is how they inducted them into the squad. and many jews refused to do it outright and would kill them right away. >> what is the magic mirror? >> this is a story that it is an old story. i got it from a marvelous book called journey back from hell where eye elaborate it a bit in the novel. but a king asks his wizard to make a magic mirror. a mirror that will not show your reflection but show who are you, your soul. and he builds the pir rohr. he makes the mirror, creates the mirror. and the kong can't look at it without turning away. nor account wizard. and in this peaceful land, now, the king offers any of its subjecteds a chest full
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of treasure if they can look at the mirror for a minute without turning away. and no one can. now in my-- . >> rose: because of disgust with your soul? >> well, because you don't normally see about more than five percent of anyone, yourself included. and quite right that you shouldn't. that this terrible, you knows, just the tip of the iceberg, not the mass of the iceberg. but in an atrocity producing situation like auschwitz, you see the rest of the 95%. and everyone describes the experience as being one of the staggering surprise. as a perpetrator you find that you can do it or you like it, as a victim you find enormous strength in yourself and the voices of the survivors are of such a
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high level of perception and wisdom and-- that makes you, convinces you that what helped you survive was force of life. you had to have other things. immunity to despair, constantly cherishing your sense of innocence was-- talks about that. and of course-- . >> rose: cherishing your sense of innocence. >> yeah. and scmule condition even do that, because he doesn't feel innocent. >> rose: he said i'm choking, i am drowning. >> that i need something more than words he also saw his son's being killed. so it's as bad taxco be for him. >> and then there is the end of the war the hanna the wife the commadant who he was in love with, he goes to see her. >> he tracks her down and i
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got this insight from a married couple who were at auschwitz together, a doctor and his wife. and they found themselves drifting apart after the liberation. and he said that he is a psychologist too, and he said what seems to have gone wrong is that when we were in this hell hole together, we looked to each other to represent civilization and normality. but now after it is all over, they look at each other and they see the camp. >> rose: and she says i cannot be part of anything that suggests good could come out of the camp. >> yeah shall and i was going have her say, we're not french. but i thought that-- was too soothing at that stage of the book. so about writing about the holocaust, i mean the whole idea of what levy said and
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others, padorno, basically said, the unimaginable, if you write about t the unimaginable is stripped of some its horror. >> so you shouldn't write about it. >> well, he also said-- no poetry after auschwitz. >> no poetry. >> yeah. >> but there was poetry during auschwitz, levy, hisvision and-- fiction and his poem poems and-- who was in a romanian work camp. and just to elaborate on why i think novelists should be welcome. >> when it says-- it shouldn't say poets an novelists not welcome. po wets, novelists, historians an-- alike, the team that goes to investigate a crashed airplane. and that team cannot say
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when their work is done that there will be no more airplane crashes, but they can say there will be no more crashes for this reason. planes may crash because this happened again. and i think that in itself is enough to justify any thought or person from visiting the subject and reinforcing this investigation. >> at the enof the daiwa dow hope your writings accomplish? >> well, if you had asked me ten years ago i would say i am in the education business and i want to enrich my readers' lives. but i have since promoted myself in the scheme of things, having read steven pinker's book, the better angels of our nature, where he, which is subtitled why violence has declined, and it's very counterintuitive because we think it's increased because there is so much more about it. but in fact he proves that right across-the-board, violence has plummeted and he gives the reasons, the emergence of the state,
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leviathan taking the violence, something that america neglected to do in the early 19th century when everyone else was doing that. the rise of women, very important but one thing that he stresses, he says the novel helped make people less violent. because suddenly are you reading a novel and you are clarissa harlow or are you, you know, tom jones, or so ofie weston, that you are in another person's soul, he doesn't like the word empathy. but that, sympathy is what the novel imbecause-- imbued in us. and if i can contribute a single molecule of this a mealior difficult presence in the novel, making the human race less violent, you know that's the effort you are involved. >> rose: thank you for
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coming. >> pleasure. >> rose: martin amis, the book is called the zone of interest. thank you for joining us. see you next time. >> for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us on-line at an charlie
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>> funning for charlie rose has been provided by the coca-cola company, supporting this program since 2002. american express. additional funding provided by: . and by bloomberg, a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. >> you're watching pbs.
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the following production was produced in high definition. ♪ and their buns are something i have yet to find anywhere else. >> 'cause i'm not inviting you to my house for dinner. >> breaded and fried and gooey and lovely. >> in the words of arnold schwarzenegger, i'll be back! >> you've heard of connoisseur. i'm a common-sewer! >> they knew i had to ward off some vampires or something. >> let's talk desserts, gentlemen, 'cause i see you


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