tv Panel Discussion on Terrorism CSPAN May 23, 2015 2:02pm-3:01pm EDT
ique to maine. it exists in many parts of our kip particularly the more rural states but i hope you find something in maine soon need. you back there. thank you. the last question. it's always -- how often have i regretted saying that? go ahead. >> first of all i'll state i'm not from maine. i'm from the state of nevada. in the interests of time and people who want to meet you and get their books signed i will yield. >> oh, well. boy. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you all very much. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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facebook.com/booktv. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon. my name is steven loggy i will be moderating a panel today providing a kind of critique of the war on terror. i'm a professor at the naval academy and teach forces on american foreign policy and agent thicks in international affairs and i have two guests today, although it may not appear that way. >> very small. >> one is urgently on his way.
the one who we're missing currently is james risen who is a correspondent with "the new york times" and a personal who has provided a lot of the story of the american response to the
september 11 attacks and since that's the story we're discussing today he is a great person to be with us. provided he were with us. he is on his way from national airport and should be here in another 15 minutes or so. james risen, i'm going to introduce him before he arrives. won his first pulitzer prize for explanatory reporting about 9/11 and he won his second purr litter prize riding about the bush administration's warrantless wire tapping pass art of the national security response to 9/11. and he is probably late because he is collect his third pulitzer.
he has a irritating habit of winning those. and he has written two books that are of interest to us, one is called "state of war: the secret history of the cia and the bush administration." in that book he dade lot of reporting using sources who later were tracked back and when he was asked to identify them he refused so he was subpoenaed and part of the phoners. the subpoena he was to be sent to jail, and he appealed that to the district court and the supreme court and in both cases they explained that actually the government did have a compelling case to want to demand him to reveal his sources. but he still refused and finally attorney general holder declared we won't be sending any journalists to prison on my watch. that kind of put an end to it. until just the other day because now we have a new attorney general, actually, as of just last week. so maybe that's why james risen
isn't here. at any rate, the person who is here john nag l -- nagl of the u.s. army then the envelope academy and now the head of school of -- up in philadelphia, and john nagl was a colleague of mine at the naval academy for a couple of two short semesters -- three? >> felt longer. >> only to the midshipman. and -- that's not true. testimony to his effect is that i see a half dozen midshipman here seated in the room. john went to west point and then to oxford as a rhodes scholar and he had the foresight to do his ph.d work on the british experience in in counterinsurgency and at that time counterintelligence was of
no importance. obviously history changed the judgment. of teaching at west point he was called to turn his thesis into the army marine corps counter-irsun jerry -- counterinsurgency book, the book that general petraeus used, and i thought i would start just by doing this kind of critique of how the war on terror has gone by saying, john, obviously it's gone great. right? >> since september 11, no more september 11s in and we have had 14 september 11s in or will shortly. so scoreboard. this has been a successful war on terror, no? >> not so much. and i'll try to do my best to james risen impression. there's a great deal that jim
and i agree on, and some things we'll probably clash on, but the attacks of september 11th september 11th could have and should have been prevented by the national security apparatus of the united states. there will a number of indications that something was coming and some pretty good indications that something very like what actually happened was coming. those indications were missed. in what i believe to be the greatest intelligence failure in american history worse than pearl harbor. after the attacks of september 11th the united states was unprepared for the kinds of wars it had to fight both in afghanistan -- for the war it had to fight in afghanistan, and for the war it didn't have to fight but chose to fight in iraq, and it chose to fight that war in iraq partly as a result of another intelligence failing, believing that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction and he had a program but it was destroyed ended after my first war in
iraq after operation desert storm. that was -- the invasion of iraq in march 2003. my former colleague argues that the invasion of iraq in march of 2003 was the worst foreign policy mistake made by the united states in this nation's great history. for those who like steve are stunts of the subject that's really saying something. i think that the assessment, however, is correct. so the invasion of iraq and 2003 certainly not just intelligence failure, also a policy failure of the first order. and the military failure at an extraordinary level and the failures of the war in iraq, which is largely not exclusively the subject of my new book, "night fights" began early with the decision to unnecessarily invade iraq with the failure to
properly plan for the occupation of iraq that followed, with the unbelievably bad decision to completely disband the iraqi army a force which had frankly melted away, had not been destroyed in the invasion in 2003 but was ready to provide security on the streets of iraq after that invasion, and a decision made in the bush administration that army was disbanded and all of its soldiers given no pensions and told they could never again work for the iraqi government, really extraordinary decision that put literally tens of thousands of armed, proud experts in warfare on the streets and led i believe, directly to the insurgency that my friends and then i fought in iraq and i
fought in al-anbar in 2003 and 2004. i came back from that year in al-anbar as a tank battalion operations officer fighting in a town in the province of allen -- al-anbar, iraq's wild west, extraordinarily violent my town was between the towns towns of ram di fighting going on there to clear the islamic state in iraq and syria from the territory, and fallujah, a town known to be welcoming to visitors. so you get a sense of what my year in anbar was like. we lost 2250 purple hearts and i came back from anbar and went almost directly to serve in the ering of the pentagon working for paul wolfowitz. that was a big change from al-anbar bass at least in iraq i had some idea of who i was fighting against. it is extraordinarily
disheartening to be out of the front lines in any organization, whether it's a school or an army and come back to corporate headquarters, knowing that things are not going well on in the field but believing somebody somewhere has some idea what is going on and finding out not so much. and so i was privileged in the pentagon to be re-acquainted with my former teacher david petraeus to work with petraeus, marine general jim madis conrad crane formerly of the west point history crept and others to write the u.s. army marine corps counterinsurgency manual in petraeus but a in effect in iraq and 2007 and 2008, turning around a lost war and providing iraq with a decent chance at a decent future. i've been very critical of obush administration's decisions, up until 2006, until the mid-terms of 2006, when i believe george w. bush made the bravest and the
best decision of his presidency, most notably by replacing his secretary of defense don rumsfeld with the man i believe to be the best secretary of defense this nation had ever had, man named bob gates a man who is so good that democratic administration kept him in place. unfortunately, the obama administration which did make the good decision to keep bob gates on the job did not make the good decision to listen to him about either iraq or afghanistan, and made a number of other critical errors in both of those countries that in my eyes led directly to what is now the third war in iraq in my lifetime a war against the islamic state in iraq and syria. a war that -- i do look forward to jim being here. in his book jim argues that isis the islamic state in iraq and syria which i argue is al qaeda 3.0 that's how the war
on terror has bon good and if on september 12 2001, someone told any of news the room-except the naval academy kids kids who were literally in diapers at that point, big diapers in some cases -- the kids up here -- that there would not be another significant attack on the united states, united states inert those 14-15 years would would have been delighted and saystonnished. in fact there have grant number of successes in the war against al qaeda and the broader war against radical islamic extremism, and i believe the drone war inside pakistan has been a great success. i'm confident that view is not universal and i think jim dill disagree with me. however, the mistake wes have made in that war most importantly invading iraq unnecessarily and badly in march of 2003, have given new life to
the radical islamist ideology, and an ideology i expect to continue to be a scourge on humanity. so it's a decidedly mixed report card. today there have been -- i think have been extraordinary successes. there have been extraordinary failures. there have been gross errors, and the one constant in my eyes has been the valor of the young men and women who have been fighting this war on the front line and who quite frankly deserved better national leadership than they've gotten this century in this war. >> that's the story that john tells -- [applause] >> sure. in "notify knifefights. a enemy require of modern war in their and i practice ." >> if james were here he would
hey safe said the important aspect of the war on terror was not the part that was fought abroad. the important aspect was the damage that was done at home. i think he probably would give a definition of national security as the struggle to protect the american democratic way of life, free speech first of all and he as a journalist is a strong proponent of free speech. he would say it's the struggle to protect the american way of life without damaging the american way of life. and he would point out ways that some of the measures that we took in putting together what he called a homeland security state of actually imperiled prospects for the american way of life, for american liberty far longer than the end thereof -- of the century. he would say there's more damage done by measures at home that
could ever be done by isis abroad. john is starting to write something. did you have something to say? >> that is right. that is what jim inauguration his new book and to an extent he has point. but in every war we have fought, there have been violations of american civil liberties, our freedoms as a people have been restricted. this was true turn the american civil war both world wars, and certainly very true during this very unusual war against a stateless enemy this war against radical islamist extremism. that said, the threat is, i think, more real than jim contends in his book. the threat of the islamic state in particular. so al qaeda 1.0 was osama bin laden's organization.
headquartered in initially in afghanistan, the attacks of september 11th and later in pakistan and attacks the united states in an attempt to create -- to get the united states to overreact and embroil the united states in a long war against radical islamic extremism, ultimately leading the united states to disengage from the world stop supporting what al qaeda saw as oppressive puppets across much of the islamic word, most notably egypt, hosni mubarak's egypt other, countries across the islamic world as well. and he almost succeeded. so the attacks in -- in response to the attacks of september 11th the bush administration correctly turned to afghanistan asked them to hand over those responsible for those nefarious acts them afghan government the taliban refused to do so and the united states
had no choice but to attack that government to topple it and attempt to bring bin laden and al qaeda 1.0 to justice. we fumbled that ball to a certain extent. we sent insufficient troops into afghan and i loued bin laden to escape across the border to pakistan where he remained for the next decade but we did largely through drone strikes nullify al qaeda 1.0 inside pakistan and in afghanistan. but the creed spread, largely as a result of the misguided unnecessary invasion of iraq in 2003. that became a cause celeb that inflamed the entire islamic world. al qaeda was able to attract literally tens of thousands of recruits in what became what i call al qaeda 2.0 al qaeda in iraq an organization i fought against permanently and killed a number of -- personally and killed a number of my soldiers
and a number of my iraqi friends. we as a result of, i believe the counterinsurgency doctrine that petraeus and others helped implement, in iraq, and by the greatest advantage we have against radical islamic extremists, which is the fact that nobody likes these people. and in particular if you were ruled, governed by radical islamist it's no fun and ultimately you will rebel against them and that's what happened in the parts of al-anbar province of iraq that were governed by al qaeda in iraq in 2006 and 2007, and ultimately the sunnis of al-anbar relatively moderate sunnis got tired of having their daughters taken in what al qaeda in iraq called forced marriages, got tired of people -- nicotine stained
fingers being cut off because islamist don't believe in smoking tobacco and the awakening the soon citizen of anbar rose up against al qaeda 2.0, aqi and with the help of the american military we pushed al qaeda 2.0 out of iraq, back into syria where it should have died on the vine, but because of the obama administration failures failures to continue to reinforce the nascent iraqi government failures to arm train and equip the moderate syrian rebels, she so-called free syrian army in the summer of 2012, al qaeda 3.0 emerged inside syria and we are now fighting against it. it has shown an extraordinary ability to use the internet, to mobilize followers and supporters and inspire people in the west to create attacks. that has happened in the united states. it has happened in canada. think of how good you have to be to inspire canadians to take violent radical action.
it is a truly frightening thought. and the best estimates that we have today are that literally tens of thousands of westerners have taken up arms under the islamic state's banner inside iraq and syria. these are western passport holders. they have been trained and radicalized in jihad just as osama bin laden himself was radicalized by us, by the cia in the fight against the soviet union in afghanistan in the 1980s. right? and so this problem of the radical islamists trained and inspired by isis, i believe will be a problem that will see these men through their careers their navy and marine corps careers however long they are and their sons and daughter's careers as well. this is a problem that is not going to go away, and we are not -- this is good clash
between me and jim -- we are not taking that threat nearly as seriously as we should be. >> so i'm going to continue to channel jim risen here because he is not present and i think the answer he provides in his book "pay any price: greed power and endless war" would be that yes john, it is endless. it's one thing to say that lincoln, for a matter of months, suspended habeas corpus in a war that was over in four years or there were certain suspensions of rights in world war ii or world war i which lasted four and three years. this one has lasted 14 years and all the points you just made indicate how endless it is bound to be. >> this one has lasted 22 years at least for the united states. >> fair enough. >> the same people who bombed the world trade center in 1993. we're more than 20 years into this war. and there are no indications that we're winning it yet. >> so endless war is the right -- >> endless war is correct.
this will be a hundred year war multigenerational war we're fighting. we're extraordinarily fortunate it has had so little impact on the vast majority of the american population. it's been fought -- this is the first war in american history fought by all volunteers. and i applaud that fact and i can't say enough good things about this generation of america's sons and daughters who i believe compare favorably with the so-called greatest generation who came of age in the great depression and defeated tyranny on three continents but the greatest generation, two-thirds of them were draftees. this generation, this greatest generation are all volunteers. and these young men and women naval academy midshipman, volunteered to join the military in a time of war. which is something i did not do when i went to west point in
1984. i think it speaks remarkably well of them they have chose thon do. so speaks remarkly poorly of the rest of the country that we have not made comparable sacrifices north shared the pain of this war, so i applaud this is a war fought entirely by volunteers. i'm appalled this is also the first war we have put on the credit card. we have not raised taxes to fight, and so james risen is absolutely correct when he points out that the cost of this war, the $4 trillion cost of this war is excessive. we have not had a proper public debate about it. we have not made any of the sacrifices as a nation required to fund the war and were we to do so, were we to raise taxes as every previous generation has to fund its wars, the american people would be far more engaged in these wars and paying closer attention to the problems, the domestic problems that jim very
rightly raises in his book. >> and he would i think if he were here, take exception to almost the first thing you said, that the war has had so little impact on the people on the home front. he would say actually, that when you construct a military industrial complex of the sort that eisenhower complained about you can see that military industrial complex and when eisenhower told us that to build a bomber means that you don't get to build 30 good schools he said we must not be so getting over our resources to things military that we slight the important things that really make the country educated and strong and is well-cared for. what he is worried about in his book is not so much a military industry complex which is quite visible. as a homeland security complex which isn't really visible. the homeland security complex is more implemented in the form of
intercepted communications and of suppressed thoughts and of altered discourse so that the very nature of the free country gets corrupted. >> yes. because we are not fighting a state, we are fighting nonstate actors who correctly in my eyes, as a strategist have chosen not to fight us directly. not take on the global force for good that is the u.s. navy that would pulverize them in minutes but chose to fight us as insurgents and terrorists, smart strategy on their part, but since they too not openly five themselves do not wear uniforms except in the rare case of the islamic state they do not take and hold territory. this is an intelligence war a war in the shadows and inevitably we are going to use
our extraordinary technological abilities to attempt to find them to intercept communications to wire-tap the american people, and i do not completely discount the damage done by that, and i certainly share eisenhower's concern about the fact that resources spent in one way are not spent in another, but the fact is that the united states is currently spending a very low percentage of its gross domestic product on national security, national security issues and i n fact i believe could easily increase that percentage if we only raised taxes again to the horrific rates endorsed by ronald reagan in the 1980s we would have plenty of resources for the federal government to provide both guns and butter for the american people. ronald reagan, that wild-eyed liberal that he was.
i'm when i think about the damage done, the tradeoffs taken in giving up privacy in order to increase security, i do agree that we have given up some privacy rights to the homeland security industry, bureaucracy but i would argue that almost every american has probably -- has almost certainly given up more privacy rights to facebook and target than they have to the nsa. and so i understand jim's righteous indignation at the violation of our civil liberties and i'm confident that people will post about it on facebook where they'll also reveal their home addresses whom their currently engaged in a relationship with, and their child's latest softball victory.
so i don't -- i think the american people are rightly not very indignity about that. and i share jim's concern indignation, that the american people are not very involved in these wars. >> jim physical lows who is not here he had a very important atlantic monthly cover story in january called "the tragedy of the american military" which argued we need bring back the draft because the american people are disconnected from the wars. i disagree. no one that i know of in uniform wants anybody near them with a weapon who doesn't want to have that weapon and doesn't want to be there. and we have more than enough young americans volunteering for the service. we are currently unbelievably giving pink slips to u.s. army captains serving in combat in afghanistan, telling them, we thank them for their interest in national security because
because of sequester we are not able to fund all of the captains that the department of defense believes we need, and so they're out of here. the problem is not that we don't have a draft. it's that we have not asked the american people as a whole to make sacrifices on behalf of the wars. that's a real tragedy. not of the american military but of the america of this century. >> channeling people enough of risen maybe franklin's line was, benjamin franklin declared, those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. putting it more eloquently, how about this way. which has done more damage, i wanted to ask you and jim -- which has done more damage, the terrorist attack or the american reaction to the terrorist attack? >> ben franklin, the patron
saint of my city, the city of brother love, philadelphia, the brotherly love for the nats, big jayson werth fans. the attack of september 11, the worst attack on american soil in our nation's history. total cost to the american people, arcly a -- easily a billion dollars depending on how you value human life but the extraordinary life of innocent human life and also human americans who had not volunteered -- americans and foreigners foreigners who had not volunteered to put themselves in harm's way. the overreaction that followed, in particular the invasion of iraq cost more than 4500 lives $2 trillion and inflammed gave new life to an al qaeda and
radical islamist ideology which clearly the pendulum has swung strongly away from al qaeda after the september 11th september 11th attacks. its high point. it very quickly face evidence its waterloo in afghanistan would have been relatively easy for the united states to have completely defeated al qaeda in the mountains of afghanistan with i literally a few more battalions from the u.s. army's ten medical division. the secretary of defense at the time refused to send them, refused to act on a request for more troops and bin laden got away and al qaeda lived to fight another day and then we invaded iraq unnecessarily and provided a motivation for radicals -- an event that radicalized muslims young men around the globe tens of thousands of additional fighters for the al qaeda's horrible ideology, and so bad as the attacks of september 11th
september 11th were, as much damage as they did to the united states the invasion of iraq in march of 2003 far more injurious to this great nation, and with repercussions that will not just ripple but giant waves that are continuing to upset the middle east the islamic world and this country for generations to come. really not a good move. >> here's our other speaker. well-planned. mr. risen, welcome. [applause] >> thank you for coming. can we put you flight the harness? >> yes sure. >> we have had a discussion that has been talking about the -- providing a critique of the war on terror and what i've been doing is trying to take your position to channel you and use
snip.s from your book. so what i was just asking john is kind of a summary question before we turn to the group was, so which has done more damages, the terrorist attack on september 11th or our american reaction to the terrorist attack. >> that's a loaded question. thank you for waiting. i'm sorry for running late, first of all. i think that there's a -- the way i would answer that question is that the whole point of terrorism is to terrorize. the terrorism does not have a conventional military objective. what it's trying to do is provoke a response from a society. that's what terrorism has always been throughout history. people call it asymmetric warfare but i don't even think that's the right term to
think -- term to use because it implies it's a form of ware fair. it's just political theater designed to provoke. throughout history it's always been a way in which an aggrieved minority or aggrieved part of the society can get an outside -- outsized response from majority. in the case of al qaeda attacking the united states, it wasn't even an indigenous terrorist group. more terrorist groups have been an indigenous part of society and that's why it's usually in the cases where it's an indigenous organization, part of an ethic group or some other form of minority in which is actually has lasting power and lasting effect because there's an actual base in the population
that supports the viewpoint of that terrorist group. and so that was the inherent weakness of al qaeda attacking the united states. there was no indigenous support to speak of inside the united states for al qaeda. it was not like the ira which had in ireland a large base of support for what they wanted to do. or the plo in the west bank or whatever. so i always thought al qaeda had this inherent weakness in its attacks on the west. there was no real support in the west for what they were doing. no real support in the arab world, either. and so i always compared al qaeda to the anarchistses of the 19th century to me that's the closest parallel in history to what al qaeda was.
al qaeda is really a rebellion against modernism. it's not a rebellion against a state in any sense. the anarchists of the 19th 19th century basically were rebelling against the industrial revolution. and they used assassination and small bombings in europe and the united states to make whatever point they had and their problem was they didn't really have a point. al qaeda didn't have a point. and unless you want to believe that they want a global caliphate. but it's such a fantasy world that they've lived in, that they didn't -- i think it's fire say they didn't have a real political strategic aim in anything they were doing. and so i think to look at it in those terms it makes it easier
do understand all they were trying to do in real terms is provoke us. and they did a damn good job of that. and that is why i think the response that we have had to this has been far worse from our point of view than what the original attack was. because we have transformed our society in response to a group that never really represented a serious threat to us. in any meaningful way. and they were like the anarchists in which -- meaning they could inflict small attacks and they could kill some people, but there was no great point it to there was no real political threat and there was no existential threat to the united states so what we have done in creating a massive national
security infrastructure, in response to terrorism is in my opinion, far in excess of what the threat was. >> so nothing more wrong-headed than the idea there's a certain number of terrorists and you can put hem in a barrel and kill your way to the bottom of the barrel. no way mill tearily to counter this kind of theater without creating greater theatrical affect. >> that's the problem. what we have done, i think by all our various actions by invading iraq, invading afghanistan, occupying both countries, then in addition to those two wars, launching a global war on terror using special forces, drones, and any other number of operations, we've tended to act as a recruiting tool for terrorist
us. we have created a lot of resentment in the world, in the arab world against our own -- against us. and one of the things that people don't like to hear is when these lone wolves, these rags all talk about howl they have been -- how they have been radicalized, what people here don't listen to is what they actually say when they say that. many of them them say i was radicalized because of the u.s. invasion of iraq or because of american troops are still in the middle east. or i was radicalized because a drone killed somebody. and so we have to think smarter. i'm not saying we shouldn't use our military. i just think we have to do it in a smarter way and recognize that there are consequences, and that what we are doing is --
we're caught in this vicious cycle of our -- we responsibility to a terrorist attack and that response has a consequence that leads to more terrorist attacks and when do we get out of that cycle? and i don't think anybody has thought through that. i think the -- first the bushes a, and then the obama administration has taken a very tactical approach to the war on terror and never stepped back and thought more broadly about how do we get beyond the whack-a-mole strategy. >> maybe that cycle you describe has stage when the u.s. is occupying another country. robert pape has shown that in iraq there was never in history any practice of suicide bombing that the first suicide bombings began when america occupied the country and continued and he shows the same pattern in other countries. >> iraq had -- saddam's regime
did not have any meaningful relationship to al qaeda, what not involved in any widespread terrorism. they had done some little things isolated events before, and the chaos that we created through the invasion is what led to the growth of terrorism in iraq and that's a very unpopular thing to say. people don't want to remember where -- people see isis on television and they wear black so they look scary and they have a very ahistorical view of where did isis come from? forgetting the last decade of our involvement in iraq, and the middle east. >> john, you have been mostly nodding, n agreement i think. >> jim just before you came in i answered the question the same way but focused on the international cost and the
response to the attack has done more damage than al qaeda did on the horrible day, broadly i agree with you. disagree, i think on points such as the invasion of afghanistan in 2001. i believe was absolutely necessary when the taliban refused to hand over al qaeda central. i think we mishandled that war. >> i would agree with that. i'm just saying we occupied it for the next -- we didn't need to stay there forever. >> okay. i'm looking -- i was raise bid the jesuits but taught to work of st. augustine so the jess tattoos talk know be confrontational. st. augustine wrote the purpose of war is to build a better peace. so my argument, building on charlie wilson's war after we used afghanistan as way to defeat the yost union in the cold war and we failed to pay
penny on the dollar to build a better afghanistan and that led to the a takes -- allowed the taliban to host bin laden and after toppling the taliban i believe that ground is fertile ground for bad people and terrorists and we had both a moral obligation and national security obligation to build a better afghanistan and we could have done that far more cheaply than hat been done if we had not taken our eye off the ball and invaded iraq in what i consider to be the worst mistake in american foreign poly -- policy in history. so we needed to support afghanistan so it would no longer be a safe haven for terrorism. >> he first time i went to afghanistan a few years ago i think it was like when i -- it was -- that trip was really what got me started about writing "pay any price" because this is
about 2006 maybe and we had already spent as a country tens of billions of dollars on reconstruction. >> -- reconstruction in afghanistan. and i expected, maybe naively to see some evidence of those tens of billions of dollars in kabul and driving around the city, there is absolutely no evidence of any improvements based on anything from the united states -- from economic reconstruction aid from the united states. it is everybody still lives in hovels. there's no paveed streets. it was terrible. i kept thinking, okay, as a reporter, got to think about where is the money going? and over time, people, a lot of reporters figured out the money was greg on flights from kabul to dubai where it was coming in
from the united states and going right back out to people's private bank accounts in dubai. >> your book "pay any price" tells stories of the gold rush to cash in on all of the terrorist spending, so some went to dubai and some went to corporations that did very well. >> right. >> in contracting. the audience has been listening attentively but you must have questions and i think we have time for at least two or three. we have ten minutes. so anyone would who would like to move to toe the micro phone. >> so if we hadn't gone into iraq in 2003, would the war on terror be over by now? >> i think there's good chance of that, yes. >> i think that counterfactual ares always hard, but had we defeated -- i would like to go further, as long as wore counterfactualing -- had we sent sufficient troops to afghanistan
in 2001 and 2002 to trap al qaeda there rather than let them get across the border into pakistan -- at that point the ideology would have been almost cometly discredited. they would not have had the cause celeb which was the unnecessary and brutal and poorly conducted invasion of iraq and subsequent occupation. we would have seen, i think far more effective american reconstruction effort in afghanistan. it's important to remember, jim is absolutely right that afghanistan -- remains a really tough place. it's not a hot vacation spot. but 70% of the afghanistan people think their country is moving in the right direction which i doubling the percentage of americans who think our country is moving in the right direction, and afghanistan had -- so was just coming up from such a low base. there were phone numbers in afghanistan were three digits on september 11 2001.
fewer than a thousand telephones in the whole country. today there are 15 million. every other afghan has a telephone and they're all smartphones and think bet the multiplier effect of that for banking among other things. so i think we -- by failing to focus on the war in front of us, the war against bin laden inside afghanistan, by very, very early, literally on september 11th paul wolfowitz, my former boss, was whys 'whispering in president bush's ear that we should invade iraq a country that had absolutely nothing to do with al qaeda or the attacks of september 11th but that decision the decision to invade iraq and the bungling of it, had that not happened i absolutely do think this would have been a decade-long rather than a century-long war and neither jim nor i would have written our
books and we would have had a panel on education. >> yes please. >> good afternoon, mr. nagl you have been critical of the bush administration and to a lesser extent the obama administration. one of the largest criticisms that u.s. policy has gotten we have supportses throughout the middle east dictators for the sake of temporary security but that sort of fostered the rise of political islam and radical islam. given what -- say the failure of the arab spring and just about every country except few near -- tunisia, what do you recommend going forward for the united states in terms of policy and do we support the rise of democracy and who they might elect or go for temporary security and go with the devil you know? >> super complicated. there's no one answer -- there's no one fits all as answer there
so were democracy to emerge in saudi arabia, hang on to your hats right and the most radical islamic country population in the world the number one funder of al qaeda, the source of 15 of the 19 september 11th september 11th hijackers and they've gotten more radicalized since them. so democracy in saudi arabia is not something i am in favor of. and so we're -- this is, i believe, one reason why the obama administration is pursue ing relationship with iran. the iranian pro american population with a thin veneer of an antiamerican government. so i would not be surprised to seesawed diarain and and iran flip places in terms of their relative importance and pillars of american foreign policy in the middle east. so there's no easy answer. in general i am not in favor of military interventions. i believe that we should intervene only when we are committed to remain for
generations. as we have been in germany italy, japan and south korea and only we're willing to pay as we good and raise taxes in advance of the operation. that said die believe the worlds is on a strongly democratic trend and you can see that clearly over the past century and i believe that trend will continue over time. >> i bet we have time for two more quick questions. >> good afternoon. john you mentioned isis being al qaeda 3.0. i'd like to borrow a term used by -- who is now at university of new mexico but was bush's personal briefer from cia on islamic culture. he revved e referred to it as the gitmo generation emerges. so the way we conducted ourselves or are conducting ourselves at gitmo in the eyes eyes of the people in the arab world
along with abu ghraib, the prison, how do we correct our mistakes there? how do we remedy that? because these two -- abu ghraib and gitmo are weighing heavily on the minds of young arabs according to do dr. knockly. >> i concur that those episodeses are harmful to american foreign policy to the perception of the united states in the arab world. i believe the own administration had the right answer here on gitmo, with moving the guys, many of whom are stateless vary dangerous, to a maximum security prison inside the united states. the congress of the united states has prevented that from happening. just one of what i believe to be many instances where the congress of the united states has been injurious to the interests of the united states of thick decade -- this decades. i'm interested in jim's answer.
>> i agree. this goes back to what we were talking about earlier which is the degree to which u.s. actions in the war on terror have had an effect a negative effect, and an unintended consequence this is just one of many. i think it's part and parcel of the decision to invade iraq and to do -- to continue this very tactical approach to the war on terror. i you think that you can kill your way out of the war on terror or then you're not really understanding what is going on in front of you. you have to -- we have to be smarter about how we intervene in this whole region. this is just one of those issues that goes to the heart of it. it's what bothers me is that politically inside the united states there's like no
political incentive now for anybody, either the president or the congress or anyone else, to step back and say wait a second i think the war on terror is not being conducted in the right way because the only political cost today to any politician is -- is there -- was there an attack inside the united states? did somebody get blown up? was there a pipe bomb someplace? and if -- so if we have talk -- the public has taught the politics that's the only thing they have to fear, and so that leads you to a very, very tactical short-term approach, short-term thinking about the war on terror. no one has -- because of that dynamic, nobody in congress or in the white house has any time to think about are we doing it the right way? let's just kill al qaeda guy number three again. >> i think we have time for one
more question as long as we answer each in 90 seconds. >> good afternoon. mr. nagl, you referred to the u.s.' drone war as one of the successful parts of the u.s.' war on terror. i'm courseis with the civilian death hoses that's not crete more vaccinement. >> it is create mortgage -- creating more resentsment but the drone strikes are far more precise than tank warfare is, a subject of which i have some experience, than previous bombing campaigns have been and so collateral damage is inherent in the use of violence. you're always going to kill some people you don't need to. on balance we have, i believe destroyed al qaeda 1.0 and done grave damage to its successor organizations through the use of drones buts i -- but i agree withjim reside broader point we have not conducted an effective information operations war in order to minimize the effect of those accidental deaths, and
more broadly to attack the ideology of our enemy. >> i think -- i would say that it's probably -- if you were looking purely at a military tactical standpoint, the drones have been generally successful, but i do think that i would have to disagree on the point of the degree. if you look on balance i would say that the resentment that it's stoking especially in places like the northwest frontier in pakistan, and in yemen, and places like that -- that ultimately it's like a drug. it's kind of like crack. it's helping news the short term. it's helping us get through the short-term periods where american counterterrorism officials are looking at week-by-week, not looking down the road at the long-term
consequences and we're creating new generationness that part of the world that say when i grow up i'm going to kill an american because they killed my father. >> that has to be our last word. thank you both very much. i'm thanking james risen author of the book "pay in price: greed, power and end less war and i john nagl. author of "knife fights." for joining us today. [applause] >> booktv is on facebook. like to us get publishing news, citied scheduling updates author information and to talk directly with authors during live programs. facebook.com/booktv. >> this is booktv on c-span2 and we want to know what is on your summer reading list. send us your choices@book tv is
our twits e hasn't and you can pose it on our facebook page, facebook.com/booktv or send an i'm tome to booktv@ email@example.com. >> booktv continues next, jay smith, history professor at the university of north carolina, and mary willingham, form employee of the center for student success and academic counselings a unc chapel hill, report on two decade of fraud at the university of -- where student-athletes were given paper classes to boost their gpas. [inaudible question] [inaudible conversations]
>> good evening. i'm not here because i'm a long-time north carolinian. i'm not here because i'm an expert on the specific subject at hand. i'm here because of the heritage that these folks represent and the tradition that their hard work and guts have come in the wake of. i'm here because the names i'm getting ready to say were basic to this state and that heritage is basic to this wonderful work, and truly wonderful work that jay smith and mary willingham have been doing on behalf of institution that so many of us know and love, and so many of us have been fearful were going down without a peep. the names are frank porter graham and terry sanford and bill fraty. all of whom believ