tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC August 22, 2017 12:00am-1:00am PDT
msnbc naval exercises. >> then it happened again in june, the following month june 16th be with the usds fitzgerald and american destroyer, collided with a much heavier freighter off the coast of the japan. that was a deadly and very damaging collision. 7 u.s. sailors drowned after the sleeping quarters flooded in less than a minute following the crash. the seven sailor post-humanously promoted. another guided missile destroyer the uss john s mccain named for the father and senator john mccain both of those men
accomplished admirals in the navy. the latest crash as the mccain as the destroyer making away to a port visit in singapore about 5:24 a.m. local time before down that destroyer the mccain collided with a 600-foot long tanker that transports oil and chemicals the tanker is more triple the size of the destroyer of the mccain. the tanker it is a 30-thousand gigantic tank. the tanker sustained relatively myren damage. there was no significant damage on the danger but the mccain was badly damaged. and the search is still underway right now for ten american sailors still missing following this collision. five other soldiers -- excuse my five other sailors accounted for and injured from the crash. in the space of two months the
u.s. navy has lost the use of and has severely damaged two destroyers with the terrible attendant loss of life a minimum of seven sailors killed possibly sooms 17 hundreds of millions of dollars of damage this is part of a larger pattern of four serious incidents in the past year all involving the seventh fleet in the pacific. today the chief of naval operations ordered the entire fleet the entire navy to take an operational pause, which isically to figure out what's going wrong because maybe all the incidents are happening right now just as a kointsds but maybe there is something wrong. the navy has ordered a comprehensive review of all the recent collisions. now the navy is one branch of the u.s. military but for a variety of reasons it is under significant strain right now. president president tonight gave a speech billed as the unveiling
of a new strategy for the war in afghanistan for the u.s. military. it's -- having watched the speech live having read the excerpts as released by the white house then reviewed the transcript closely since the president finished remarks it is still not totally clear to me what the new strategy is. but i can tell you we do know how to spell it. the white house related the printed excerpts of the remarks in the excerpts they made the unusual decision to capitalize two words principalsed realism that's how we know the they want us to call his approach to afg within principaled realism which sounds awesome in terms terms of specifics what it means i have some specific question base what we heard tonight some we talked about earlier right in the wake of the speech but some of enemy i'm just raising the first time now. my first question which is maybe the most most urgent is what the heck did this part mean?
>> as the prime minister of afghanistan has promised we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us. >> i didn't -- that didn't jump out to me until we got the transcript. but what -- we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us. he didn't say what he meant what i think he might have meant is relates to something that was reported a couple weeks ago by nbc news. there had been a principaled meeting at the white house to talk about the afghanistan president trump's contribution to that meeting was that he suggested we should take the mineral wealth out of afghanistan to basically pay for the cost of the war in afghanistan remember on the campaign trail we should go in into iraq the only thing we
should do in iraq is take the oil to the victor go the foils. we should go git their oil he doesn't say that anymore about iraq now he is president. but he did say a version of that at the principal meeting not that long ago basically we need to to go into afghanistan and loot the place take their mineral wealth to cover our costs. that reporting from nbc news stuck out a couple weeks ago because it was bizarre and provocative. but i think that might have been what this line was about tonight. >> we are going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of this war to us. >> that's my first question. was this the real policy shift announced today we're starting to do something in afghanistan economically to defray the cost of the cold war there to make money out of this thing? if that is what the president is announcing that seems new.
and controversial to say the least. that's my first question. second question how is our relationship with our friends the pakistanis right now? and pakistan likely to get upset by the u.s. president insulting their civilization? >> it's time for pakistan to demonstrate its commitment to civilization, order and to peace. >> pakistan is big. got 200 million people, also gotten more than 100 operational nuclear weapons. pakistan spheresly, fiercely protective of interests in neighboring afghanistan. and its per pertial alone oh i a hair trigger stand i don't have with the neighbor on the other i had india who the u.s. president said tonight should get way more involved in afghanistan after he said pakistan needs to demonstrate its commitment to civilization. what does pakistan do these days
when its mad? and did anybody in the u.s. government make preparations for that before the president said what he just said to them tonight? that's my second question. third question. the president for years insisted that we have to get out of afghanistan immediately. the afghan war has to end right now yesterday just do it just get out. well tonight in his big afghanistan war speech he said he don't want to do that anymore instead he thinks we should learn the lessons what he called the hayesy hayesty and mistaken decision to leave if irk too soon zboo as we no 2011 merge hayestily and mistakenly withdrew from iraq. >> in 2011 as we know america hayestily and mistakenly withdrew from iraq. here is what he said in 2010 about the hayesty mistaken decision to leave iraq too soon.
>> president obama has has been the one in the process of kpri indicating from the warsed is. >> he could have gotten out a long time ago these wars are a disaster. >> he could have gotten out a long time ago. he said at the time. tonight we have to learn from gnat hayesty and mistaken decision to get out of iraq too soon sfoo he essentially made the argument we need to plan to stay in afghanistan indefinitely. this was an odd speech tonight for a few reasons. not the least just the detail that nobody knows why he made it now. what precipitation tated this also nobody knows what he announced in terms of what's going to change. we don't know what's different now. we also don't know why he has completely abandoned all the previous arguments for the exact opposite of the current policy more do we know how to now he
will make pliking sense of that. but there was one way in which tonight's speech felt a little bit normal or at least familiar to everybody who has been asking since the inauguration of president trump, do you miss george w. bush the yet? do you miss w. sfl? tonight you got the chance to remember what that was like when it comes to this war. >> a core pillar of oh you are new strategy is a shift from a time-based approach to one based on conditions. >> our strategy can be summed up this which as the iraq stand up we will stand down. >> conditions on the ground, not arbitrary time tables will guide our strategy from now on. >> setting an artificial time table would send the wrong message to the iraqis who need to know that america will not leave before the job is done. >> america enemies must never know our plans or believe they
can wait us out. >> that would send the wrong message for the enemy who would know all they have to do is wait us out. >> if the thing you missed about the george w. bush administration was its approach to war, congratulations that part is back. >> joining us now jake jacobs msnbc military analyst also the recipient of the medal of honor great to have you with us tonight thanks for being here. >> good evening. >> limit ask you about the first question i raised moments ago about the speech tonight. what do you think the president means when he says we're going to participate in economic development to help defray the cost of the war to uses do you think what he is talking about the. >> the first conclusion i was being if a -- i'll be facetious but the first conclusion came to my mind we're now going to horvatin poppies and sell them that's how we'll fund it which is exactly what the taliban is
doing. but no, i think you're right. it sounds like we are going to be involved in extricating -- releasing mineral welt -- can and there is substantial mineral wealth i don't think whether or not it can be taken out in an efficient way -- we're going to take that out of afghanistan. you know the chinese are already there doing that. and i think that that the united states is concerned that we're not getting our share but i think that's what it means. >> under the circumstances this is an ongoing war obviously. you know we're well over year 15 in afghanistan. this is not something the president planning to do some sort of other project. he wants to do this part of the war. under u.s. military ethics can the u.s. government go in with the protection of u.s. soldiers and extract the wealth of another country. >> we can we've done it before. there is no reason why we can't do it again.
but the real question is what difference does that make in terms of achieving war objectives? if at the end of the day what we really want to do is to have a central government in kabul that can actually control afghanistan, the taliban is not a factor anymore. the people in afghanistan can defend themselves, the afghan army is at top condition. if that's what we are looking to do, then none of of the things that he said are actually going to contribute to that. including even to the point of building a -- a big wall an impen trabl wall between afghanistan and pakistan on the other, the real problem is actually inside pakistan and it includes a corrupt government, no control over local areas, a poorly trained army and so on. none of the things that the president mentioned are going to change that very much.
except a commitment to stay in afghanistan for several decades. >> is it possible that the president is no longer aiming at those object he was you just described? i mean that's -- that's the operating assumption, the operating claim that we've all had in terms of trying to figure out why the war has gone on so long and why it's worth the expenditure of american lives and effort and money in order to be there all these years later. is it possible did you hear anything tonight to indicate that the president is aiming at something other than what you just described with the afghan government being stood up, the afghan military being able -- security forces being responsible for security in that country, is he aiming at something different? >> no, he isn't. that's what we've been doing a long time we've got mobile training teams there, got special forces to train the indigenous forces weaver got special forces forces there we might have more of all of those plus some artillery in there to
assist them all and some ground sort but end of the day there is no real difference in our military effort than we've been doing a long time pan that hasn't worked well at all over a period of a decade 1/2. what we heard basically were tactics the problem with alt of people is they conflate tactics and strategy i think we're doing exactly the same thing. there are no strategic changes that have been proffered here. the only thing that smacks of a strategic difference is the way in which supposedly we're going to treat pakistan or change or try to change the balance of power. and there actually is with one behind pakistan on india on the other other which is probably dangerous. x that there is no real difference in what the president is proposing than what we are doing now except to the extent
we're probably going to send between 3,007,000 additional troops there to do pretty much what we have been doing a decade and a half. >> in terms of the pakistan poorkt, both in terms of india but also in terms of the way the president talked mad, if it upsets them, what are they likely to do? how would they likely act out or retaliate against the president insulting them? >> they probably won't do very much. we've actually irritated pakistan quite a bit. i'm not saying not for good reason either. we went into a abad bad
unannounced until we got is there and then announced we were there to the pakistani so they wouldn't send troops, and we threatened them. we've gone into pakistan from time to time to achieve tactic cal objectives. they don't like our rhetoric because we've said from time to time exactly the same thing as the president is saying now. so they can do a lot, but they probably won't do anything. >> former u.s. eerm colonel, jack jacobs. military analyst and guy who stayed up late to talk with us about an important subject. >> anytime. >> thank you. the united states went to war in afghanistan in the first place as part of the international response to the 9/11 attacks. when congress took that vote to do it days after 9/11, there was one lawmaker in all congress, one lawmaker in the house and senate combined who said no. this authority is too broad and this will be used in ways that we cannot anticipate now. let's do this in a narrower way. that one lawmaker is still in office and she join us live next. stay with us.
>> further amendments. >> spontaneous applause. those are republicans voting with a democratic congressman for her amendment written by barbara lee to repeal the aumf, the authorization for use of military force that was passed by congress immediately after the 9/11 attacks in 2001. that gave the president at the time authorization to use all necessary force against those who planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on september 11th. in 2001, congresswoman barbara lee was the lone vote against that authorization and in the 16 years since that has morphed into a swiss army knife of laws. to say it has been used livery is an understatement and started as an authorization specific to 9/11, but it's been used to justify 37 different u.s. military operations in 14 countries from drone strikes in pakistan to war in syria and
iraq and of course going on 17 years now in afghanistan. for the past decade or so, every year, congresswoman barbara lee has introduced an amendment to repeal that authorization so congress would have to pass a new one for the next military authorization. this year, finally, unexpectedly, congresswoman lee did manage to get her amendment through committee to applause with republican support and everything. before the amendment got stripped out of the final bill by republican leadership who absolutely did not want to talk about why they did that. joining us now is the persistent congresswoman from california, barbara lee. it is nice to have you with us tonight.
thank you so much for being with us tonight. >> glad to be with you, rachel. >> let me ask your top line reaction about what you heard from president trump about afghanistan. >> my top line reaction is that this, once again, is reaffirmation and confirmation of the fact that we are in the state of perpetual war. and this was a speech that really laid out a military-first option. he did not lay out a comprehensive strategy and in fact, i'm really very disappointed because he of course campaigned by saying that he would end this war and bring our young men and women home which is what we should do. there's no military solution in afghanistan and in fact, we need to really begin to look at the costs and consequences. rachel, i have to say our brave troops have gone way beyond the call of duty and it's time to
bring them home to their families, and it's time to really look at a comprehensive strategy and get out of this civil war that's taking place and push for a solution that's based on a regional solution rather than a united states-led military operation. >> i feel like you are in a unique political position given your far-sighted role in 2001 to stand alone when everyone else in the house and senate was voting the other direction. a couple years down the road when they were voting on whether or not to go into iraq, two-thirds of the democrats said no, they didn't want do that. but in 2001 it was you and you alone. and you have seen the politics around your vote change a lot to
the point where this year and we talked about it when it happened almost all the republicans on that committee supported your amendment to repeal the authorization for the use of military force that was voted on back in 2001. president trump campaigned saying he wanted to get out of afghanistan and this war was too old and too pointless. do you feel like the politics in this country have changed enough so that the president could have announced a withdrawal tonight and it would have been a political win or do you think you would still be in the fight on that? >> no, i think the politics have certainly changed, rachel. we're talking about over $780 billion. we're talking about over 2,000 of our troops have been killed. we're talking about continuing with a failed policy. and the american people are war weary. certainly we understand the importance of our national security and want to make sure that we protect ourselves from terrorist attacks. but you don't continue down the same path and create more havoc and create more war if you are attempting to find peace. so i think the american people would have breathed a sigh of
relief if the president had said we're going to come up with a comprehensive strategy, a diplomatic and political strategy that would begin to bring our troops home. also let me just say i don't believe this administration cares about a comprehensive strategy because they have cut the state department budget or attempting to cut it by 30%. that's where our diplomatic initiatives are funding and they are defunding and they don't have staff and so i think that they really want to stay on this war footing and they want to stay in a state of perpetual war and it's hard for me to understand. it does not help our national security at all. >> thank you for being with us tonight, ma'am. thank you.
>> my pleasure. >> to the congresswoman's point, the politics on this have changed a lot. but what hasn't changed is the existence of this war. it's more than 2300 americans have been killed in afghanistan. it's more than 20,000 americans who have been wounded in afghanistan. you look at the number of americans who have served there, including an incredibly different circumstances and conditions, the idea that there is a military solution that's going to offer more of a chance of success in year 17 than we could have put together in any of the last 16 years is something that would take quite an argument. we did not get that argument from the president tonight. much more ahead tonight including the next thing our president is up to including how much it is already bugging the people in the place where he's going to the it. that's next.
about a year ago in the heat of the campaign, the republican candidate for president made a quick trip to mexico. he had started off his campaign by calling mexican immigrants drug dealers and rapists. he had spent months by that point campaigning on the promise that he was going to build a wall on the border between the u.s. and mexico and mexico was going to pay for that wall. then in the heat of the campaign he showed up, surprise, in mexico alongside the mexican president who told the press, to be clear, we're not paying for your dumb wall and i made that clear in my meeting with your presidential candidate here. interesting trip down to mexico, make him look presidential but have him dissed to his face by the mexican president. that same night, the same night he took the mexico trip. he flew back to the united states to phoenix, arizona,
where he gave a speech that was -- what's the word? harrowing. harrowing is the right word. >> all energies of the federal government and the legislative process must now be focused on immigration security. that is the only conversation we should be having at this time. immigration security. cut it off. the local police who know every one of these criminals and they know each and every one by name, by crime, where they live, they will work so fast, and our local police will be so happy that they don't have to be abused by these thugs any more. my first hour in office, those people are gone. >> gave that speech a year ago in phoenix, arizona. now he is going back to phoenix, arizona holding a campaign rally there tomorrow and it is, i
think designed to inflict maximum political pain on arizona republicans. in recent days and weeks the president has been openly taunting arizona's republican senior senator, john mccain. last week he called the republican junior senator from arizona weak and toxic. he calls him flake jeff flake and openly cheering for his challenger in the republican primary. the governor of arizona is a republican. we learned that the arizona governor will not be going to the trump rally tomorrow in phoenix. and there is phoenix, itself. arizona is a red state but phoenix is not necessarily solid red. the democratic mayor of phoenix has been saying for days now, that the president shouldn't come to his city, shouldn't do this trip. the phoenix mayor said today that the president has, quote,
doused racial tensions with gasoline with his planned visit to phoenix i fear the president may be looking to light a match. democratic leaders in arizona are expressing concern that the president might use the phoenix rally tomorrow to announce a presidential pardon for joe arpaio. the sheriff was convicted of criminal contempt for carrying out police raids targeting immigrants even after a judge ordered him not to. sheriff arpaio could get up to six months in prison for that conviction. the president has been saying that he is seriously considering a presidential pardon for sheriff arpaio for that contempt conviction. the sheriff says he is not planning on attending the rally tomorrow but he has cleared his schedule. ahead of the trip the president has spent a week accepting resignation letters and cancellations from luminaries who are dropping off white house boards, charities have canceling their mar-a-lago
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on the labor day limited edition bed. safely staring at the sun today. who is that dork in the white shirt and the jeans? while thinking about the end of the world and our place in the universe, the president at the same time was finalizing his plan to move on from threatening war with nuclear armed north korea to starting a new thing with another nuclear armed country, one that hates us more than any other place on earth. fortunately we have just the people to tell us how this threat might mean and how the country we threatened tonight might be likely to respond. that's coming up.
i want to bring in andrea mitchell, thank you for being with us tonight. i know it's a busy night for you. i want to ask you about the president's remarks toward pakistan tonight. those are the things that struck me as a change in american international relations in the sense that the president insulted pakistan to my ear when
he said that pakistan needs to demonstrate that it is committed to civilization, order and peace telling a country they are not committed to civilization is calling them barbarians. then he immediately followed it by saying and we would like more direct involvement in afghanistan from india which will raise hackles in the pakistani government because of the relationship between those two countries. that seems to me the biggest change in diplomatic relations tonight. >> that's what leaped out at me. american diplomats and presidents have made a pact, you don't go to pakistan without going to india. it's an even-handed approach. you have two nuclear arm states and they have fought so many wars between them and this is a direct insult to pakistan which deserves the insult because they protect and shelter to haqqani network. but for first of all laying the responsibility on pakistan to do something about their terrorism, it's not done this openly.
and bringing india into it, it's such an insult, i can't see what the incentive is for pakistan to take any action. they have their pride and authority and nationhood challenged by the president. it is a strange way to expand the strategy to include all of south asia. >> and in terms of the u.s. government, the president didn't appoint a random crony or fundraiser to be ambassador to pakistan. a career foreign service person has been named the ambassador to pakistan. that seems a gesture toward stability. that said he dissolved the special representative for afghanistan and pakistan which is super envoy position that existed throughout the obama administration and then we've seen such major changes at the state department including not staffing up even the senior ranks of that agency.
how will -- if a new big fight with a nuclear power has just been picked by the president how is that going to be staffed and handled by the administration? >> it isn't staffed and it isn't handled. you have a handful of people in position, not really able to cope with this thing. the fact is also when he says no more nation building, rachel, there has been a positive effect from what both presidents bush and obama did. a lot of that has gone down the drain in the last couple years. there's no question that we are losing, we're not just in stalemate, the good guys are falling behind and there is corruption in kabul. in the past you heard this against karzai but not against this government in kabul. that is also picking at a sore. but i don't see what the change is. other than what courtney said, he deliberately gave mattis, nicholson and the other generals the ability to decide on future deployments. mattis smartly did not accept it
by delaying this until there was a review. i think the biggest change may be they have persuaded to get the president to go against his own grain and against his instincts and against steve bannon, if you will and make a decision that is more in line with what his generals believe necessary which is not a complete withdrawal and certainly not hiring eric prince for $10 billion a year for bring his mercenaries in and turned over to the private sector. that is where his head was and his heart and they have reamed -- reeled him in and he has publicly criticized the chairman of the joint chiefs and h.r. mcmaster and general john kelly for whom afghanistan is such an emotional challenge given the fact he lost his son after the obama increase to 30,000 troops
and he has another marine son either deploying or about to be deployed. >> that human connection for some of the key decision makers here is absolutely key. andrea mitchell, pleasure and honor to have you hear with us tonight. joining us now in studio is a veteran of the war in afghanistan. he was an adviser to stanley mcchrystal. it's great to have you here. let me ask your top line reaction to the speech tonight. >> you hit it. it's not a big policy change. the big shift is where the president has been. now he is the president and has to confront a series of really bad options in afghanistan. i think the biggest take away is that he is now taken ownership of this war to a certain degree, mattis insisted on that. that was not going to be something he delegated to the generals and could blame on the generals and now he has ownership of it.
i think the pakistan stuff, that could be significant. we'll see. it's going to cause ripples. my question and i hate to go to the operational side of things. but so many of our lines of communication and resupply run through pakistan. it will be interesting to see how they thread that needle. on one hand dependent on them and on the other hand taking them to task, fairly. >> it was interesting when we got the supporting reporting around what was going on in the administration to prepare for this speech and we got word that the vice president was speaking with the afghan president and that rex tillerson was speaking with his -- his equal member in pakistan and india and afghanistan and i thought we're going to pakistan on this subject. are our relations with pakistan so tender and fragile that bellicose words like this from
the president can really screw things up are do they expect that has to happen in our politics and they think the really conversations happen on a private line? >> i have to defer with a real specialist and i will say this, we have often called out the pakistanis privately. we have often you know, used the levers that we have in terms of the military aid that we give them to try to pressure them and change their behavior in afghanistan. that hasn't worked. it has been 16 years. you get the sense that the trump administration and the key leaders in the military are willing to try something different. i think that carries huge risks
but i also have to see exactly what this is. if i look at the policy that the obama administration had toward the war in afghanistan it's not that much different from what we heard tonight. so i think we have to figure out, you know, what the president said is going to be really significant and what is going to be a change and what's going to be different. i think you were right to highlight the way in which the president called out india and wanting india to play a larger role in afghanistan. this of course is the -- will trigger all of the gravest fears in the pakistani military and the pakistani deep state. >> so one last question for you. the issue about that andrea raised about the privatization plan that we heard floated. i won't believe it's dead until i see a stake in its heart but it's is it possible -- if they are really considering taking the u.s. military out and putting in thousands of private contractors under eric prince's leadership to run this as a for-profit private enterprise, how far outside the realm of possibility is that? >> i think we should be -- first off let's not hold the president to task for not wanting to see all options. let's give him the benefit of the doubt.
any president would want to see the full range of options. it's warming that secretary mattis and general mcmaster, the national security adviser heard out eric prince and promptly said no, we're not going to do that, we're not going to outsource our war fighting to private industry. i would have been worried a about the fabric of our country had we done that. >> an afghan war veteran, it's great to have you. >> absolutely.
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so the president tonight announced that he will not be talking about the number of american troops who will be serving in afghanistan an he will not talk about any sort of timetable for any plan to get out of afghanistan though he did say they will be doing some type of economic development in afghanistan to defray the cost of our war there. which means i think we will be starting to dig up afghanistan's mineral resources to take them for ourselves. maybe that's what he meant. sacrifices all around. we were all reacting to the speech tonight.
the "washington post" published an item that we maybe need at this moment. the wife of our new very wealthy u.s. treasury secretary posted online tonight about flying with her husband on a government plane to kentucky. she wrote about the fancy and fashionable stuff she was wearing on the trip. #hermes scarf and when she got grief for that in the comments to her post the treasury secretary's wife responded, quote, have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you would be willing to sacrifice in the choice was yours. the peon is silent. we are coming up on the 17th birthday of this war on afghanistan and the 17th year of our national response to 9/11 after president bush urged americans to go shopping more
after the 9/11 attacks. we didn't hear tonight any plan as to whether we will have an 18th birthday to that war or a 19th and for the 8500 u.s. service members in afghanistan tonight and for their families and however many more americans will join them this is a very personal sacrifice year after year after year after year after year. year after year after year after year. year after year after year after year. year after year after year after year. that does it for us tonight. we will see you again tomorrow. our coverage of president trump's address on his afghanistan policy continues now with lawrence o'donnell. a very big news night,