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tv   Charlie Rose  WHUT  August 17, 2010 9:00am-10:00am EDT

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welcome to our program. as china becomes the second-largest economy in the world, we talk with jim fallows and stephen roach about its economy and its political future. >> there's a crucial point that was made to me by some chinese officials when i was there about two years ago. it stuck in my mind since then. the officials said whenever people outside china think of the country, they think of everything multiplied by 1.3 billion. he said, we have to think of everything divided by 1.3 billion. our national output, jobs, land, resources and all the rest. so it's a challenge still ahead of them. >> for the last 30 years as china has focused on exports and investment, the consumer society has been left behind. private consumption as a share of chinese g.d.p. is only about 36%, literally half that of the united states. over the next five to ten years, that share has got to move up. and with a consumer society comes more a free and open
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communication, freedom of choice aspirational values, upward mobility. it's hard to accomplish those aspirational goals without a more open and free political system. >> rose: we continue with the story of pat tillman. the n.f.l. star became a soldier and was killed in afghanistan. there's now a documentary about his life. we're joined by its director, amir bar-lev, and the narrator, actor josh brolin. >> tillman's platoon was set upon on all sides by a taliban ambush. tillman ran out ahead of his entire platoon up a hill shouting "let's take it to the enemy." coincidentally, that was one of the talking points around the war that the time. let's take the war to the enemy. according to this account, he echoed that sentiment. it's preposterous. and that he single-handedly saved the lives of his platoon mates and went down in a blaze of gunfire. >> rose: and the truth was?
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>> the truth was none of that. >> none of that. >> he knew that that might want to use him as some kind of mythological character for recruitment or something like that, so he copy it had fact that... he copy it had paper that he did not want a military funeral in the event that he died and had to sneak that to marie at some point. so a lot of parameters around this general idea of... you know of ann coulter, whatever, saying "he was one of us" and these guys saying "no, he's one of us." it's such a partisan thing. he's a little bit of both to you and he's mostly himself. >> rose: china's new economic status and the tillman story coming up.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
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>> rose: china has passed japan to become the world's second-largest economy behind the united states. it reached the milestone when japan said on monday its economic output in the second quarter slowed to $1.28 trillion short of the $1.33 trillion china reported over the same period. it's a remarkable transformation for a country that began market reforms only three decades ago and has s now seen as a global superpower. but china still has many challenges, including vast income inequalities and raising labor unrest. its per capita gross national income is $3,600 compared to americans who earn $42,240. joining me now from connecticut is stephen roach of morgan stanley. he recently returned to the united states after a three-year stint in china. from washington, james fallows of t atlantic magazine, he's also lived and written from china. i'm pleased to have both of them here. jim fallows, tell me what this means. how do we interpret this?
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what ought to be said about this milestone? >> i think it's an inevitable milestone if you think of the scale of china. and i think the figure you mentioned in the introduction is a crucial one: that china has ten times as many people as japan and is just now exceeding it in overall output, which means that its per capita income is only one tenth of what japans is. so it's a sign of how far china has come from 30 years ago, but i think it's also a recognition of this is still on average quite a poor country. it has, as you say, lots of challenges. i would even put environmental despoil lags first on the list of obstacles to overcome. so it's a moment to reflect on china's rise but i think not to say it's become an all conquering superpower. >> rose: china will have the largest economy by 2035? >> sure. since it has four times as many people as the u.s. it only needs to get to one
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quarter of our per capita output to have more overall. there's a crucial point made to me by some chinese officials that stuck in my mind. the official said "wherever people outside china think of the country, they think of everything multiplied by $1.3 billion." he said "we have to think of everything divided by $1.3 billion. national output, jobs, land, resources and all the rest." so it's a challenge ahead of them. >> rose: when you have 20 pact of the world's population and grow your economy at 10% a year for three decades, you're going to drive the world economy, commodity prices and in some respects asset markets in a way that very few economies have ever done in history.
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you asked about sustainability and china, according to its own premier remains a very unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated and ultimately unsustainable economy. and so china's got to go through now a... i think a major transformation. it's been heavily dependent on exports over the last 30 years and the external demand underpinnings in this post-crisis world are not going to be strong. so if china wants to continue to maintain rapid growth to absorb all that surplus labor, it's got to now draw new support from internal demand, mainly internal private consumption. i think that's going to be a huge challenge for china. i think they're up to it, but it's not going to be easy. so i think we've got to be careful here in just extrapolating and saying, well, china passed japan last night and maybe tomorrow morning it will pass the united states. it's not going to be quite that
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easy. >> rose: the chinese economy and the japanese economy together is not as large as the american economy, correct? >> absolutely. >> this is something i think we have discussed in the past, charlie, and it runs through both of the comments you've heard here, which is that of all the places i've seen around the world, there's no other place where so many contradictory things seem simultaneously true as in china. where it's tremendously successful and tremendously challenged and tremendously rich and still twice as many poor people as we have people in the united states and putting so much money into green technology and still having these terrible, terrible environmental problems. and so almost any future is imaginable for china. you have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they'll keep avoiding the next emergency as they have for the past 20 or 30 years, but there is a long list of emergencies their leaders need to deal with, the shift from global to domestic demand and trying to move up the value chain. most of their success so far has been low-cost manufacturing and infrastructure and home building
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and office building and trying to get more of the sort of high-tech brand consciousness that makes real wealth is also going to be a real challenge for them. >> rose: do they face a kind of asset bubble in the real estate arena? >> rose: china, unlike the united states where we have for decades condoned asset bubbles and turned the other cheek, whether it's alan greenspan or ben bernanke under the false presumption that we can always clean up the mess afterwards, china's quick. they move aggressively. they build firewalls between asset markets and the real economy. so last april it was very clear to them there was a very serious property bubble building in luxury housing in 10 to 12 coastal cities. they imposed really tough administrative measures on multiple home purchased by speculators and they've stopped dead in the water. and they've stopped before they
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ended up distorting the real economy, unlike the case of the united states where we not just allowed our property and credit markets to form bubbles but we allowed those bubbles to infect the real side of our economy. we're going to be paying a price for that as the japanese are for years and years to come. >> rose: what did they do in china about this... the tension between on the one hand growth and on the other hand climate change and pollution and all those things that they are aware of are approaching a dangerous level? >> charlie, i mean, they have made the choice for growth for one simple reason: growth to them is the antidote to social instability and they've got a massive reservoir of surplus labor that they need to continue to absorb to keep this society together. but in opting for growth, they've gone for the quantity dimension of the growth experience rather than the
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quality dimension and now, as jim just pointed out, the environmental issues, the excess resource consumption has reached unsustainable levels and they've got to focus much more on the quality rather than the quantity of growth. >> i wanted to touch on one other thing, too, about the preference for growth that stephen roach is mentioning. what that means in the texture of ordinary life there. we all know about the many difficulties of still living in china now. there are lots of aspects of the life that are controlled there, lots of freedoms people don't have. but my impression traveling to almost every part of the country is that on the whole most people feel as if their life in material sense the better than it was three years ago, much better than ten years ago and an expectation that it will continue to be better for their children. i think that is the basic social bargain. if that were ruptured there would be a whole different sense of legitimacy of the government. i think there's a broad sense despite complaints that things are too controled that things are moving in the right
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direction for the country and that's what the leadership depends on for its hold in office. >> rose: let me paraphrase that to see if i understand it as well. they're basically saying... the chinese government is basically saying we'll take care of the government, we'll give you a better life but you let us take care of the government. is that correct? >> yes. and i have this distinction. i think's two different parts of the government which we often run together in the u.s. which i think are seen differently by many people in china. we tend to combine democracy-- that is being able to vote for the leaders with liberties, the sense of being able to travel and speak and read and all that. i think there is relatively less interest by many people in china in the democracy part and more in the liberties part. i think there is a sense imperfect kind of back and forth fitful progress of the government continuing to expand liberties. and year by year giving a little bit more liberty because i think there is some real pressure for that there. >> but hire's the twist on that,
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charlie. for the last 30 years as china has focused on exports and investment, the con sumer society has been left behind. private consumption as a chair of chinese g.d.p. is only about 36%, literally half that in the united states. over the next five to ten years, that share has got to move up. and with a consumer society comes more a free and open communication, freedom of choice aspirational values, upward mobility. it's hard to accomplish those aspirational goals without a more open and free political system, and that's going to be an enormous challenge for the next china. >> rose: i certainly agree in the sense of a more prosperous educated society is going to demand more liberties of various sorts. we think would think would also mean more demand for democratic choice but i don't know. we'll see that. i think one other additional part of the challenge for the chinese leadership that they
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really want to have higher value products. their own google. their own movie studios that have worldwide audiences. their own apples or whatever. it's really hard to see how you can do that with a sort of stunted university system, with people not wanting to immigrate from around the world because of the political controls. so i think that's going to be one other part of this balancing act for leadership to manage. >> rose: they recognize they have no great universities and i'm told... i think i read somewhere they have a commitment to have... in a certain time frame two of the top 20 global universities in the next how many years. >> it's worth noticing they have at the moment zero of the top 200. so it's a challenge. >> rose: right. >> well, i will slightly disagree there. i personally lectured at probably 15 universities in china over the past, oh, five, six years. i gave a commencement address in unanimous jhing university this june.
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i'm increasingly impressed. i don't see any harvards or yales but, you know, in the ching wahs, ifudons, the european international business school i see increasingly impressive curriculum and course offerings. i think the students are motivated, smart, up to date. i think we'll be surprised at how quickly they get there as well. >> rose: and how do you do what both of you are saying china has to do to increase private consumption? >> i think number one they've got to deal with surplus household savings. and to do that they've got to build a social safety net. that's social security, private pensions, unemployment and medical insurance. secondly, they've got to provide a lot of stimulus to the 700 to 800 million chinese people who
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live in rural communities. and they need to really inject some life into rural agricultural productivity and income generation. there are a number of ways they can do that. and thirdly, they've got to stimulate new sources of job creation, the manufacturing economy is actually very capital intentionive and labor saving. they've got to move to a more labor intensive services model and they're nowhere on the services front. i think if they do those three things-- safety nets, supporting rural income and services-- the consumer culture will start to come alive. it will not happen overnight, but, again, i think you'll be surprised at the progress they'll make in the next three to five years. >> rose: jim? >> yes, certainly i would agree with that, especially the first, the social safety net. people save a lot of money because they have to. if you're admitted to a hospital in china, you essentially present cash up front and you're out of the hospital when your cash runs out.
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i should say, too, if anybody who thinks as a cultural matter chinese people are anti-consumerist has not seen a market in china, stephen roach knows people are great consumers there. the other thing i would add is the real reason to be concerned about the managed level of the chinese currency is not so much of sort of microlevel competitive issues with u.s. firms or german firms but rather this has been sort of a suppressive force on consumption by the society as a whole. china only consumes something like 50% of its entire national output. the u.s. obviously consumes way too much. and keeping the currency artificially low has been a wa of putting a bottle on that. that's one reason why the u.s. and others are pushing for flexibility there. >> rose: can it continue growing at double digit growth rates, stephen? >> well, it can, but it will up the ante on an already unbalanced economy. if it stays with the current
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model-- which is export and investment led-- the export sector is going to be slower because of problems in the u.s. and europe. so it's going to have to increase even more of its output in investment, which seems unfathomable that they can do it. i think that china's going to really shift to more of a consumer-led model and the growth rate is going to slow from the 30-year average of 10 to a growth pace that i think is more sustainable in the 7% to 8% area over the next several years. so i think the days of hypergrowth in china are nearing an end. hopefully for them and hopefully for the rest of the world who can't afford it. >> rose: do you agree with that, jim? >> yes, again, from my sort of layman's perspective on econometrics. but we often hear the growth rate has to be 9% or 10% for social stability.
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i think really all it needs is the sense by many people in the countryside and the big cities that things look better ahead rather than worse. and since that's been the... they don't have the to be radically better, but the there's a sense of prospects for their children, of having larger apartments and being able to get a car rather than a motor scooter, that sort of thing. and i think they can do that at a more moderate rate of growth than this hypergrowth. >> rose: what is it that china wants? >> i think, you know, the leadership is big and diverse enough and the country is huge enough that you can find a million answers to that question. and i have encountered people who want china to lead a confucian international renaissance or want china to be a new hegemon internationally supplanting the u.s. or a zillion other aggressive-sounding tones you could have. my impression, however, is that china in one sway like that united states is n that people's interests are mainly internal looking, mainly domestic and really there are enough problems
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people have to worry about of just managing china's own affairs. >> i really do agree with what jim just said. i think leadership on whether it's pan regional or global is of secondary consideration to internal stability and increased prosperity. deng xiaoping laid that marker down in the late '70s and early '80s and china has stayed with it. i think they'll continue to stay with it for decades to come. having said that, i think it's increasingly interesting that in these last few years a number of senior chinese officials-- whether it's the premier of china, the head of the central bank, the head of the chinese bank and regulatory commission-- have really taken the opportunity to make some pretty
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clear statements about chinese views in avoiding financial crises and in managing their own economy in a post-crisis world. and, quite frankly, being delighted that they did not take the advice of some of these smart guys in the west to follow the western model of capital markets and financial reform and china's, i think, now starting to assert itself more, whether it's with respect to currency policy, the role of the dollar is a global currency, the role of large developing economies in moving from a g-7 to a g-20 construct, china's played an increasingly important role in driving that debate. and i think you'll see more of that in the years to come. >> rose: what do they expect or want from the united states? >> again, i think they want partnership rather than adversarial relationship. i know for a fact in having spoken to senior chinese leaders
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about it is that they're increasingly frustrated with the scapegoating and the protection saber rattling they hear from the united states congress and i think they're worried about that as we move into the midterm elections with unemployment high in the u.s. and trade imbalances once again becoming an issue. >> rose: have they lost some of their respect for the u.s. economic engine? >> i don't think they have lost respect for america. i still see a lot of admiration from the chinese when they look to the silicon valley model, to america's enormous levels of wealth and prosperity. they do see the united states as having been wounded significantly by this crisis. i think they're pretty worried about prospects for the united states economy in this post-crisis era. i think that they're worried about the safety, as the premier
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said a year and a half ago, about their investments in u.s. treasury. they certainly do have more concerns about the u.s. economy and u.s. financial assets than they've had in a long time. by the way, so do i. >> rose: jim? >> yes, on this partnership business. i very much agree with what stephen roach was just saying. this is an actual heart felt comment based on my having lived there recently. as stephen has, too. there are things in international relations and world history which you can say are inevitable. maybe it was inevidentble that germany and england would come to blows a hundred years ago or inevidentble that colonial nations would rebel against their colonial masters. the situation between the u.s. and china i think nothing is inevitable it's striking for this huge a shift in world power or world resources, there is as little inevitable conflict built in as i think there are.
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the view among many people in china is surprisingly non-hostile towards the united states. non-hostile shading towards respectful or positive. i think a lot of this is within the power of both the publics on both sides to manager the next 30 years. china is going to become more and more important. sometimes it will be a larger economy than ours is unless they suffer a disaster or catastrophe, which would be even worse. so i think finding some way to make this a partnership with disagreements which has been their relationship over the last 30 years is very much in our interest and i think they see it most of the time in their interest, too. >> rose: do they feel comfortable with the amount of american debt that they hold? >> it is a real sort of mutual assured destruction situation where the united states often worries about being vulnerable and dependent on chinese debt. they worry about having so much of their savings in this one economy and this one denomination. and for practical terms, what's their alternative now?
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so it has that... it has negative aspects but also positive aspects. it's in both country's interests that the u.s. economy recover and stabilize. >> rose: talk a bit about the coming of age of a new generation of chinese, both in the private sector and the public sector. will the leadership of the government look dramatically different? >> i think you see it right now with president hu jintao. he is very, very different than the chinese leaders post-maw starting with deng chao peng and going through zhang see min. ... zhang zemin. this is an evolution not a revolution. the private sector is definitely on the rise in china. there's i think a growing sense of entrepreneurial spirit in china that's actually been evident in many of the smaller companies in china for a number
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of years just widely not recognized in the west. i do think in terms of the innovation and the r&d led break throughs that china aspires to, that's going to take a lot more time. they're not going to put together a silicon valley overnight, but i think the youth together with a growing sense of private enterprise will over the next, oh, ten to 15 years be an increasingly powerful force in transforming china. and that raises the biggest question of all is when does the state truly begin to let go of an increasingly marketized privatized economy and that's going to be an enormous challenge for this blended system over the next couple of decades. >> rose: jim, talk about... again, i'm really interested in
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the notion of the future leaders of china in both the private and public sector. the present group of leaders are primarily engineers, i think. >> right, yes. >> rose: go ahead. >> i make this distinction among the two leadership groups. from a reporter's point of view, it's just par dies to be there among these bid leaders. >> rose: (laughs) >> you find gilded age excesses. i interviewed a guy who lives in the middle of china who has built a replica of the palace of versailles where he lives. i was at a meeting where a bunch of millionaires from inner mongolia were looking through yacht designs, having their yachts they would sail around some place. and then the entrepreneurial level there's all sorts of... tens of millions of mom-and-pop-type enterprises. so i think you find tremendous vitality there and also many, many business leaders have been to berkeley, to m.i.t., to oxford. the political leadership is more
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"commitment 2010" flex. i think the closest analogy would be to the career u.s. military. that's essentially how the communist party rotates and chooses its leader. they rotate among different parts of the country, different assignments, they work their way up. i think there is some concern that just as the private economic leadership is becoming more worldly, more free-wheeling richer and all the rest, the governmental leadership is becoming sort of a less risk taking and so i think there is the potential for tension ten and 15 years from now between this kind of technocrat class which we see now and will probably see more like it and the vitality of the business sector. >> rose: when do you think they will sort of begin to increase the velocity of moving towards a different system than they have now, whatever that system might be? >> i think this next five years, charlie could-- and i stress the word could-- be a pivotal turning point in that type of
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dynamic. for a couple reasons. one, they've pushed the old model in terms of investment exports about as far as they can. >> rose: right. and number two, there's been a big shock in the world outside of china that's not going to support the demand of the export model. so it's like hello, this is a wakeup call, the alarm bell is ringing. you've got change. and with that that change have to come much more focused on the chinese consumer, much more focused on the free and open entrepreneurial society that i think will be an outgrowth of the chinese consumer. and with that will have to come a much more reflective leadership on what that type of transformation means for basic issues of governance and control in china.
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so i think these next... this next five year plan, the 12th five-year plan that will be enacted early next year could well go down as a very, very important turning point in modern china. >> rose: so is there any way, jim, that this is not a zero... this is a zero-sum game. meaning that, you know, if china gains we suffer? >> there certainly is some of that. the chinese stands for basically different political values from the u.s. and western europe. at a micro level, that's because china's foreign policy until now has been they just don't want to be involved any place. let us tend to our own knitting. and that has consequences in burma, in darfur, with iran, et cetera, with we're all adjusting. at a larger level there's a different fundamental political value behind a communist system from a western democratic system. so there is tension in that way.
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and economically there obviously are dislocations on both sides because of the interactions of trade even though it seems to me the u.s. has on the whole been much better off because of its connection with china and certainly same is true for china. clearly there are tradeoffs. the remarkable thing i was saying earlier that there are as few of them as there are for this huge historic rise of a power and it's therefore in our interests to keep that being so. >> rose: my last question really is india and what india represents in this equation we've been talking about. >> first of all, i don't think it's china or india. i think there's a good chance, charlie, that it's china and india. india has always has a good micro story in terms of the large population worlds class companies, well educated english speaking i.t. competent work force, rule of law and democracy.
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those are things that china has really suffered from. india has not had the macro performance that china has in terms of saving infrastructure and foreign direct investment and that's now changing in india and changing bid time. and india's been hobbled up until recently bako ligs government that has had to deal with a communist as government partners who really inhibited a lot of economic and other types of reforms in india. and the communists have really been defeated soundly in india a little over a year, year and a half ago. i think india's moving into a sweet spot, charlie. they're not going to catch up with china but i think india can sustain growth rates 8%, maybe even a little bit higher, and that's going to be an enormous force in lifting india and china i think sustain growth rates
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about the same. so you've got nearly 40% of the world's population that's going to be growing... call it 7% to 8% over the foreseeable future. that's truly going to reshape the world. >> rose: and providing a huge market for people who make things. >> and that's the key point that we need to look at in the west. these are markets that will be very beneficial to our companies and they want high quality, high value added products that that are developed and hopefully once again made in america. >> rose: last word to you, jim. >> rose: from a... i agree with that analysis. from a human welfare point of view to have these two great billion person societies moving forward in very different ways economically is obviously good news for humanity. the main complication it creates is the environmental front and therefore the task is to find
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the ways to use the talent and capital in these two countries to solve that collective problem. >> rose: and moving forward two very different political systems. >> yes. indeed. and clearly the relatives... i think india is likely to do relatively better economically than in the next ten years which is better for political values it represents while china's success has shown the success of its more authoritarian style. >> rose: a small personal question, stephen. considering the experiences you've had as chief economist at morgan stanley and all the other things that have contributed to your own learning curve. where do you put the time you spent in asia? >> right at the top, charlie. when your good friend john mack asked me to move out to asia three and a half years ago, i thought he was nuts and i told him no and then i rethought it and these were three of the best
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years of my life in terms of learning. i traveled 1.2 million miles during those three years, spent most of my time in china and india. and got a look at the place from the inside rather than researching and writing about it on the outside. and i wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. so now i'm coming back to the u.s., i've going back to yale and i'm going to teach a course on the next china. >> rose: jim, same thing for you in terms of your experience there? >> yes. we moved there four years ago and came back relatively recently. it's been a very rewarding time. my wife and i said it's always been more enjoyable than difficult although high levels of both on both friends. i wish more americans would find ways to spend time in china and india to become comfortle with the world in which they play a larger part. >> rose: and was it that different from japan? >> yes.
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i would say night and day different this sense. china is a much poorer place. much more foreign in many ways but finally an inclusive, permeable society. i found it relatively easy to get to know people on an individual basis even with less language command than i had in japan. japan reminded me... this is a whole different conversation of a finely machined watch that you admired its precision but you couldn't jump in the machinery yourself. >> rose: my thanks to jim fallows and stephen roach. thank you very much. >> thank you, charlie. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: pat tillman became a household name in 2002 when he abandoned a promising n.f.l. career to join the u.s. army rangers. his death in afghanistan in 2004 sent shock waves throughout the country. the military initially said he died in an enemy ambush. five weeks later they admitted he had been killed by friendly fire. much about tillman's death remained a mystery.
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a new documentary "the tillman story" recounts the efforts of his family to understand the truth about his final moments. "the tillman story" also reveals a complex man who was ambivalent about being a national hero. here's a look at the documentary. >> pat tillman loved the game of football. he loved america even more. >> pat tillman was the most famous enlisted man in the mail tear. >> he thought going into afghanistan was the right thing to do. >> times like this you stop and think about just how good we have it. the flag is a symbol of all that. >> pat tillman who gave up a multimillion dollar contract in professional football has been killed. >> rose: tillman ordered up his men up a hill to attack terrorists. >> tillman's voice was heard issuing commands to take the fight to the enemy forces. >> tillman's family will receive the silver star. >> pat sacrificed himself so his brothers can live. >> i knew things were going to
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come out that were going to make that ceremony invalid valid. >> they told me you need to keep your mouth vout about it. >> i was told your career is on the line. >> when somebody tells me something in the army, you salute and about-face and go get it done. >> what they said happened didn't happen and so you have to set the record straight >> she committed herself to figuring out what happened to our son. >> people started asking questions. and then all of a sudden the tillman story changes. >> i just remember pat yelling his name "i'm pat tillman, why are you shooting at me?" >> every piece of evidence that could ever be used is eliminated >> all the generals were lying. >> i can't be sure. >> i can't tell you, it's a guess. >> i don't know. >> i don't recall precisely how i learned that he was killed. >> this goes pretty damn high. >> to find out that the military were the very people to lie to us, it's outrageous.
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>> rose: joining me now the r the film's director amir bar-lev and narrator josh brolin. i am pleased to have both of them back on this program. >> thanks. >> how did you get interested in this story? >> well, i think, you know, any film maker would jump at the chance to correct the record and we knew that the record was pretty widely off the mark with regards to path's death. i got in around 2007 there were some congressional hearings and that's when we began, quite frankly, stalking the tillman family and demanding... because they weren't very interested in collaborating on a documentary. >> rose: right. >> but we kind of... we made it very hard for them to say no and eventually they consented to do it. but you know we knew there were a lot of lies about his death but we didn't know there were as many lies about his life. as much mythology about what kind of person pat was. and that's i they really hooked us initially was understanding
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that the record was widely off the mark about who pat was. >> rose: in what way? >> well, he's gone... his legacy... you know, the people who knew him, actually, they say they don't even recognize him in the pat tillman public persona. >> rose: in the image. >> in the image, yeah. the family explained to us they felt they lost him twice, once obviously to death and the second time to the this mythology that's created around him that's kind of turned him into a cartoon character. >> rose: this is a guy that was an n.f.l. star. 9/11 comes, he feels huge patriotism for his country and he volunteers. becomes a rangers. >> he feels huge personal... it's a very perm thing for him. everybody talks about the fact that he had a $3.6 million contract and he left that and that's the heroic thing and i think that's the mythological misperception. >> that's right. >> that's not the heroic act.
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i just read about the ten humanitarians killed in pakistan. it's the same thing. there's no difference and i think that's what the family is saying. there's no difference between these people who were there and pat. it was a personal need of his to be able to follow a legacy and his family and he said this is this is a massive thing happening right now that puts our country in danger and i want to be able to do something. i don't feel whole if i don't go out of my way and do what i can do so i can look back at my legacy and feel comfortable with it and feel like i've lent something to the country. >> rose: he actually... >> he never went out and explicitly said anything about his enlistment. if you ask anybody on the street about pat tillman's enlistment, i would venn qhur to say nobody's going to be at a loss for words. everybody societies him with this absolutely patriotic act that... this kind of sense that he tore his helmet off after
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9/11 and shook his fist, "osama, i'm coming to get you." it was a much more well thought out decision. the myth of pat tillman is of a guy who was sort of a single-purpose guy. this square-jawed... his face kind of lends itself to this idea that he was this paragon of moral certitude who had an idea and everything else that might have been in the way just foal the side. >> rose: no ambivalence. >> no ambivalence. >> myopic. >> yeah, my i don't know sick a good word. it's the opposite of who he was. he was a very thoughtful guy. he was a guy who was ago not i can towards atheists but always challenged himself to read about religion. he was famous among his friends for arguing both sides of one argument. >> and even when he does... it shows in the movie where he has parameters. every decision is a very personal decision in that, okay, i'm patriotic. that's not the thought process,
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but it's a very patriotic thing to enlist and want to fight for your country but then he has the painer where he knew they might want to use him as a mythological character for recruitment or something like that. so he copy it had fact that... he copy it had paper that he did not want a military funeral until the event he died and had to sneak that to marie at some point. so a lot of parameters around this general idea of, you know, ann coulter or whatever saying he was one of us and these guys saying no, he's one of us. it's such a partisan thing. he's a little bit of both to you and he's mostly himself. >> rose: that's right. how did you get involved? >> oh, money, i needed the... they called me. they called me and john... >> rose: they called you to be the narrator. >> they called me to be the narrator. the producer who's produced some amazing documentarys that i've seen and i have a lot of respect for, his brother daniel worked
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for miramax when we did "no country for old men." daniel called me and said "would you be interested in doing this?" i said "i'm really busy, there's a lot of projects, i jug al lot of things at once and i don't think i have the time to do this." i knew pat... i mean i didn't know pat personally but i knew the situation and it was long enough ago that i thought isn't this done? i didn't know anything about it. i wasn't emotionally connected in any way. finally he said "look at ten minutes of it, we'll send you a d.v.d. with amir's voiceover which i thought was quite good and i finally put on my little head phones and started watching it and by the end was absolutely... it was the same feeling i had when i watched the documentary for "milk." i completely... i mean, everything opened up and the heart strings attached themselves to what i was watching. i was very, very moved not only by pat but more so the family the acute personal integrity of
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the family. i thought this is... i think any of us would want a family like that. they would back you up no matter what. >> rose: what was it like when he joined the military? >> it wasn't at all what he expected, actually. one of the key moments for him is by some coincidence of history he was involved peripheralfully the so-called rescue of jessica lynch. the rangers in pat's platoon were on the periphery of the operation and he could see, he was an incredible... >> rose: she was grabbed and used as a symbol of... >> she was used and the way she was used was by making her conform to this kind of cookie cutter hollywood thing. you know, it just... jessica lynch and pat tillman both worked because... we could see our hollywood stories reflected. >> military productions.
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>> act exactly. that was blond girl, a female rambo. >> rose: from west virginia. >> and he saw this. pat saw this even before the reporting on it. he saw it as the operation was going down because he said why are they bringing in so many troops? it's not commensurate with the operation. and he said to one of his platoon mates in our film, he said this stinks and if i die they're going to do this to me, too. >> rose: the immediate response and account of his death was? >> a scene out of a john wayne movie. tillman's platoon was set upon on all sides by taliban... by a taliban ambush. till man ran out ahead of his entire platoon up a hill shouting "let's take it to the enemy." coincidentally, that was one of the talking points around the war at that time, let's take the fight to the enemy. and according to this account he echoed that sentiment.
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it's preposterous. and that he single-handedly saved the lives of his platoon mates. and went down in a blaze of gunfire. >> rose: and the truth was? >> the truth was none of that. >> none of that. >> rose: how did he die. >> by friendly fire. very obviously. and even when that was revealed, how long? three weeks after, was it a month half? >> it was five weeks after. but even that, that's one of the misperceptions out there and it's a fine point that... >> rose: what's the misperception in >> one of the misperceptions is that the family's journey led them to understand that it was friendly fire. in actuality the friendly fire announcement was more of a lie. the government was very smart. they knew all his battalion was rotating back to the states and two days before they got there they began to back-pedal because they knew they couldn't keep this john way hero up. so they said everything we told you about how he died in a blaze of gunfire is still true. all these things happened, we
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haven't lied, but we just completed an investigation and the investigation has revealed... >> and what we found was, what was revealed within everybody shooting around and during the ambush, they said it happened and during the ambush there was friendly fire. >> a confusing ambush, he was caught by an errant u.s. bullet. and if you ask a handful of friends and general people, i think people still think there was a confusing ambush and pat was caught in the cross fire. and that was not what happened at all. >> rose: what happened? >> there may not have been an ambush. if there was, it was two or three guys from a very far distance, two or threeal bam from the top of a hill fired up a couple shots and ran and pat's platoon amped up be many of their admission wanting to be northbound a fire fight began returning overwhelming fire up into the canyon walls.
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>> blindly. >> blindly. they were shooting... they almost shot... they were a convoy and they almost shot back at one another in this line of trucks. she were shooting for about ten minutes in this ungodly amount of firepower when they came upon pat's half of the platoon. the platoon had been split in half and lost contact with each other. then at 40 meters away, 2340900 meters as the military misrespected but at 40 meters away which is very close the soldiers on this one truck took aim at pat's position and fired for between a minute and two minutes. >> rose: because? >> well, they've never been called to account for their actions. that's one of the great tragedies. >> rose: so in your investigation, what did you... what conclusion did cow come to? >> they were... >>. >> rose: or motivation?
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>> they were amped up. they wanted to be in a fire fight. >> rose: so they thought he represented... >> that's right. there's some very confusing things in the documents related to this case. they say things... you know, they admit to having seen waving hands of their own platoon saying "we're friendly, quit firing." this is a minute to two minutes. >> i don't know how much we can talk about but there's the smoke bomb, all of that. there's the cease-fire. there's quite a bit of time that went from one vehicle moving from one place to another. >> rose: here the point, though, the army knew this. >> the army knew everything. >> rose: all the up hue howe sni >> well, that's the thing. they say it goes all the way to the top. how could it not? a guy who actually got a letter when he enlisted by donald rumsfeld saying "thank you for enlisting" which he's probably the only person that's ever gotten a letter like that and telling everybody else in a mass e-mail that he's a high
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priority. that we need to keep an eye on this guy. how how they could ever let that happen being the case? i mean you would think that they would surround whim placed soldiers to make sure that nothing would happen in order to solidify them... the mythological creation. >> rose: in other words his story was known to them from day one? >> right. >> well, from the minute pat was killed, literally within seconds the guy right next to him said "our guys did it. it was friendly fire." and really that the very moment... >> rose: to whom? >> to his immediate superior who was running over to his position. and the first thing out of that other guy's mouth was "keep your mouth shut." so this was a top-down thing but also a bottom-up thing. everybody knew that this was a disaster. that the most famous enlisted man had been shot from 40 meets in an act of criminal negligence. newspaper news week says "bev traces the myth to the
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re-evaluation that he was killed by friendly fire and his family's attempts to ascertain the circumstances of a death. but rather than uncovering any answers he's more interested in exploring our need to lionize tillman" which you've talked about. "amir bar-lev unapologetically paints till mantman's family with the same heroic colors he accuses the media of bestowing on tillman himself. he doesn't question the family's assertions that the military tried to cover up the truth behind tillman's death. the story is about a family looking for justice. he says they want the people responsible for criminal negligence to be held accountable and they want who pat was to be affirmed and to be recognized and to have his legacy not be something he would have been revolted by. i'm totally unabashedly on their side on both these things and the film is made in order to help that cause. >> i am unabashed. what's the counterposition that we should be lied to by our leaders? the family has always been
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clear. it's not about pat for them. they've been saying this since 2005. it's not about pat. it's about whether or not we as americans deserve the truth from our elected leaders and that doesn't go away once accountability happens, these people shouldn't be allowed to lie to us. >> rose: has congress done anything to investigate the circumstances of this death and the post-sdript the death? >> they... they reached an impasse. congress reached an impasse. the bush administration has claimed executive privilege and wouldn't hand over early drafts of his speech about tillman which would have shown that that p-4 memo had its intended affect and got them to change what they were going say about tillman's alleged heroism. so... and they haven't found anybody accountable. the only guy who's paid a price
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is a guy named philip kensinger who just retired and they pinned it all on him. >> and his legacy is destroye >> yeah. >> rose: i've got to close this. is he a hero, pat tillman? >> i think so, but not in the way you would imagine. >> rose: he's a hero in your opinion because... >> he has... there's a lot of personal integrity there that he was assigned by his family and the way he was raised. >> rose: and part of that personal sbeg city that if people are characterizing me this way and i'm much more searching and imbif lent about this or trying to find answers my integrity says you cannot or should not paint me in a picture even more flattering than it might be. >> absolutely. >> listen, he's not a cartoon character and he did serve his country and he acted heroically on the battlefield, he saved someone's life. they took his actual heroism out of the story in order to replace it with a myth. >> take away the myth and you will see the real hero.
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>> that's right. >> my thanks to amir bar-lev the director and my good friend josh breaux therein act orr. thank you, pleasure to see you. >> thanks for having us. >> the movie "the tillman story." thank you for joining us. see you next time.
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