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tv   Panel Discussion on Terrorism  CSPAN  May 26, 2015 1:00am-2:01am EDT

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asked do you miss me. [laughter] >> do we get another after henry and one night he said there is an actress and you are a monster that has been knowing when someone takes a picture of your dog and i said no i want everyone to be able to share him. he can be -- america's dog. ' which mac >> >> thank you. [applause] all of you who have the book and go out to the lobby they will sign it and if not they are for sale in the store. thanks for coming to the richard nixon presidential
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library. god bless america. [inaudible conversations] ♪ [inaudible] >> good afternoon. i will be moderating this panel for you a >> good afternoon i will be moderating the panel today to give a critique to the war on terror per gram a professor at the naval academy teaching courses on american foreign policy and international affairs and i have two guests today although it may not appear that way. [laughter] one is urgently on his way.
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[laughter] the one we are missing currently is james who is a correspondent with "the new york times" and a person who has provided a lot of the american response to the september 11th attacks he is a great person to be with us provided he were with us. he is on his way from the national airport and should be here in about 50 minutes. i will introduce him before he arrives one the first pulitzer prize for reporting about 911. totally appropriate and he won his second writing about the bush administration wiretap as part of the national security response to 911 and is probably in night because he is collecting his third one.
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[laughter] and he has written two books one is called a state of war the secret history of the cia and bush administration. in that book you did a lot of reporting using sources to later would be tracked back and when he was asked to identify him as part of the enforcement he was to be sent to jail for ago and in both cases they explained they did have a compelling case to reveal his sources but he still refused and finally attorney-general holder declared we will not send any journalist to prison on my watch. that put an end to quit because now we have a new attorney-general so maybe
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that is why james risen is not here. [laughter] so now the person who's here, lt. colonel nagl from u.s. are we pahang and the naval academy and was a colleague of mine at the naval academy for two semesters? it felt logger. [laughter] and testimony is i see half a dozen midshipman here. and then went to oxford as a rhodes scholar to have the foresight to do phd working in counterinsurgency and at that time it was of no particular urgency or importance after teaching at
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west point to tour the thesis into the army and marine corps manual in what they do on to carry out the counterinsurgency strategy. i thought i would start just by doing this critique since september 11 no more. but obviously this is a very successful war on terror. >> not so much. [laughter] and i will try to do my best to do the james risen impression but there is the
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great deal that we agree on or where we will clash with the attacks should have been prevented by the security apparatus of the united states with a number of indications that something was coming and that would actually happen. those indications were missed in the greatest intelligence failure worse than pearl harbor. after the attacks of september 11 united states was not prepared for the kinds of wars and had to fight in for the war it chose to fight in iraq partly as a result of another intelligence failing that saddam hussein had weapons of mass destruction that he had a program but it was destroyed after the first war is in iraq from
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desert storm the invasion of iraq march 2003 with the invasion of iraq was the worst foreign policy mistakes made by the united states in the nation's great history for those of you who like steve for our students of that it says something. i think the assessment is correct and with as a military failure at that extraordinary level with the failures and with that decision to unnecessarily invade iraq.
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with that occupation of iraq with the unbelievably bad decision to disband the iraqi army of march-april 2003 but was ready to provide security on the streets of iraq after that invasion in a decision made in the bush administration. that army was disbanned and all of its soldiers given no pensions and told they could never again work for the iraqi government. a 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 el anbar in 2003 and 2004. i came back from that year in el anbar as a tank battalion
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operations officer fighting in a tough town in the province of el anbar iraq's wild west, sunni, violent 'my town was between the towns of ramadi, the fallujah a town known to be welcoming to visitors. we lost 152 purple hearts, and i came back from anbar and went almost directly to serve in the ering of the pentagon as a military assistant to the deputy secretary of defense paul wolfowitz. that was a big change from al-anbar. at least in iraq i had some idea who i was fighting against. it is extraordinarily disheartening to be on the front lines in any organization, whether it's a school or an
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army and come back to corporate headquarters, knowing that things are not going well on 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-awant ited we with me former teacher david petraeus to work with petraeus, and marine general jim madis conrad craney ands to right the counterinsurgency manual which petraeus put into effect in iraq in 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 the bush administration's decision up until 2006, up until the mid-terms of 2006 and i believe george w. bush made the bravest and the best decision of his presidency most notably by replacing the secretary of
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defense don rum felled, replaced by man named bob gates. and the democratic administration kept him in placement unfortunately the obama administration, which did make the good decision to keep bop 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 which led directly to what is now the third war in iraq in my lifetime 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 steve asked how the war on terror has gone, and certainly if -- on september 12,
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2001 someone had told any of news the room, except their naval academy kids who were in diapers at that point big diapers sometimes the kid up there, there would not be another significant attack on the united states territory in those 14-15 years we would have been delighted and astonished that was the case. in fact there have been a great number of successes in the war against al qaeda and the broader war against radical islamic extremism, and the drone war has been a success. the mistakes we have made in that war most importantly invading iraq unnecessarily and badly in march of 2003, have given new life to the radical islamists ideology, an ideology that i expect to continue to be
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a scourge on humanity for the rest of the center. a decidedly mixed report card. to date there have been, if not -- i think there 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 lines and who quite frankly deserved better national leadership than they have gotten yet this century in this war. >> that's the story that john tells -- [applause] >> -- in "knife fight. " came out a few months ago. if james risen we are here he would have said, actually, the important aspect of the war on terror wasn't the part that was fought abroad. the important aspect was the
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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 opponent of -- 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 the homeland security state have actually imperiled prospects for the american way of life, for american liberty for longer than the end of this century. he would say there's been much more damage done by measures here at home than could ever be done by isis abroad. john do you have something to say about senate.
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>> i think you're right that is certainly what jim argues in his new book, and to an extent he has a 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 is true during the american civil war both world wars, and certainly very true during this very unusual war against stateless enemy this war against radical islamic 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 bin laden's organization, headquartered in initially afghanistan, the attack of september 11th. and later in pakistan, and it
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attacked 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 the islamic world. alieed with the united states, probably most notably egypt mubarak's egypt and other countries in the lahm islamic world as well. he almost succeeded. so the attacks in response to the attacks of september 11th the bush administration correctly turned to afghanistan asked them to hand over those upon for those nefarious acts. the afghan government refused to do so and the united states had no choice but to attack the government to topple it and attempt to bring bin laden and
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al qaeda 1.0 to justice. we fumbled that ball to a certain extent. we sent ininsufficient troops into afghanistan and bin laden was allowed to cross the border into pakistan. and we nullified al qaeda 1.0 inside pakistan and in afghanistan. but the spread largely as a result of the misguided unnecessary invasion of iraq in 2003. that became a cause celeb that informed the entire claimic world. al qaeda was able to aattract tens of thousands troops in what became what i call al qaeda 2.0 al qaeda in iraq, an organization i fought against personally, killed a number of my soldiers and a number of my iraqi friends. we as a result of, i believe the course incentury generals
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doctrine that was implemented 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 islamists-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 in 2006 and 2007, and ultimately the sunnies of al-anbar, moderate sunnis, got tired of hearing the daughters taken in what al qaeda in iraq called forced marriages got tired of people's nicotine stained fingers being cut off because islamists don't believe in smoking tobacco and the sunnis
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rose up against al qaeda 2.0 aqi and with the help of the american military we pushed aqi al qaeda 2.0. out of iraq, back into syria where it should have died on the vine but because of obama administration failures, to reinforce the nascent iraqi government, the failure to train and equip the 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 able to use the internet to mobilize followers and supporters and to inspire people in the west to create attacks. that has happened in the united states has happened in canada. think how good you have to be to inspire canadians to take violent read cal action. -- radical action, it's a frightening thought.
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the best estimates we have today are that literally tens of thousands of westerners have taken up arms under the islamic state banner, inside iraq and syria. these are western passport holders. they have been trained and rad caddized in squad 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 daughters' careers as well. this is a problem that is not going to go away, and this is a good clash between me and jim. we're not taking that threat nearly as seriously as we should be.
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so i'm going continue to >> the. >> so i will continue to channel james risen i think the answer he provides in his book pay any price is that'd is endless. it is one thing to say for a matter of months abraham lincoln suspended habeas corpus or that there are certain suspensions from row for two from world war i that lasted three years this one lasted 14 years. for those headed is bound to me. >> at least for the united states the same people that bombed the world trade center in 1993 we are more than 20 years into this with no indication we are winning this is correct it will be a
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100 year war multigenerational with we are extraordinarily fortunate has had so little impact on the vast majority of the of population and i applaud that and i cannot say enough good things about this generation of sons and daughters who could compare favorably with the greatest generation who came with age in the great depression but the greatest generation two-thirds were draftees but this generation is all volunteers. buddies from the naval academy volunteered to join the military in a time of war when i went to west
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point in 1984 and it speaks to the rest of this country we have not made sacrifices or have shared the pain "this is it" is fought by volunteers for i am appalled that we have split on the of credit-card. so james is correct with the cost of the war of $4 trillion we have not had the proper debate or any sacrifices to fund the war and were we to do so to raise taxes as every previous generation has he would be far more in engaged to paid attention to the domestic problems.
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>> taking exception to what you said but actually when you construct the of military industrial complex that eisenhower complained about you could see that is when eisenhower told us that means you don't get to build 30 good schools. he said we must not be getting over resources that we slight the things that make the country educated. but what he is worried about is not so much the military industrial complex but the homeland's security complex for. that is implemented in the
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form of intercept communications of altered discourse so the very nature of the free country is corrupt. >> yes. because we are not fighting a state. but nine state actors this is the strategist not to take bob of global force for good to pulverize them in minutes but since they do not openly identify themselves or wear uniforms except in the rare case of the islamic state twofold a territory is the intelligence more in the shadows and inevitably we will use the technological
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abilities to fight them -- find them and intercept communications to wiretap the american people. i do not completely discount the damage done. and i certainly share eisenhower's concerned about the fact the resources spent in one way are not spent with the other but the fact it has no though percentage of gdp that could easily increase that percentage of will be raised taxes to what is endorsed by ronald reagan we have plenty of resources and a widely -- and ronald
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reagan but when i think about the damage done and the trade-off taken to give the privacy to increase security i do agree we have given up privacy rights to that industry and bureaucracy but almost every american has certainly given up more privacy rights to facebook the inter get they and the nsa. i understand the righteous indication with of violations of civil liberties i am confident people will post on facebook also there address when they are engaged in the latest softball victory.
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so they're not very indignant about that but i share jim's concern that the american people are not very involved in these wars. but gm had a cover story in january called the tragedy of the american military which argued it essentially we need to bring back the draft because the people are disconnected from these wars. i disagree nobody wants anybody near them with a weapon. i will tell you we have more than enough we are unbelievably getting pink slips telling them we thank them for their interest of national security so we
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could not find the department of defense believes. the problem is not that we don't have a draft but to make sacrifices. that is the real tragedy of the america of this century. >> channeling people and enough but franklin's line was, benjamin franklin those to give up potential the pretty to have safety deserve neither liberty nor safety but what about this way? which has done more damage the terrorist attack or the american reaction?
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>> with the city of brotherly love affair there where i come from but with attacks on american soil with total cost easily $1 billion depending on how you value human life but americans who had not volunteered to put themselves into harm's way. the over reaction is that followed with the invasion of iraq cost more than 4500 lives and gave new life to al qaeda ag and islamic
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ideology that clearly the pendulum had swung strongly away from al qaeda from the september 11th attack based from afghanistan it would have been relatively easy for the united states to complete the defeat al qaeda in the mountains of afghanistan. with the tenth mountain division as they refused to act on a request does been lauded got away and he lived to fight another day. debbie provided the event that radicalized muslims and young men around the globe for the al qaeda ideology as bad as though at those
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attacks were or as much damage as they had done the invasion of iraq was far more injuries to the great nation with repercussions that is in giant waves to upset the middle east and the islamic country for generations to come. that is not a good move. >> welcome. [applause] >> we have had a discussion provide the a critique and i have been trying to take your position tucci and liu
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and use snippets out of your book. so i was asking a summary question which has done more damage? the terrorist attack on september 11 or our american reaction? >> that is a loaded question. thank you for waiting sorry i was running late. but the way i wouldn't answer that question is but terrorism it doesn't have a military objective. and then to provoke a response and with symmetric warfare that isn't the right term to use because it
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implies it is a form of warfare but it is just political theory designed to provoke with that society to get the out size response from the majority it was the indigenous terrorist groups most were a part of a society that is why with that organization and no group than has lasting power in the fact just the population of that terrorist
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group said that is the inherent weakness there was no indigenous support to speak of for al qaeda. not like the i.r.a. where it had a large basis support for what they want to do. i thought al qaeda had inherit weakness with no real support in the arab world so i'll always compare our -- al qaeda to the anarchist of the closest parallel in history it is a
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rebellion against modernism the anarchist were rebeling against the industrial revolution. they used assassination and small bombings in european the united states to make whatever point that they have but they didn't have a point for our outside ted did not have a point of less if you want to believe they were a global caliphate. bedded is said to a fantasy world that it is fair to say they didn't have a strategic game. to look at it in those terms
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only thing very trying to do is they did a day and a good job. the response so wet that original attack was because we have transformed our society that never represented a serious threat in any meaningful way. they are like the anarchist reading they could inflect small attacks. but there was no point or political threat or eggs essential threat. -- existential threat but to
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create the infrastructure in response to terrorism in my opinion is faring is in excess. >> nothing more they and the idea to put them in a barrel. there is no way military to encounter with greater theatrical effect. >> to invade iraq and afghanistan to occupy those countries to launch the global war on terror with a special forces or drums we tend to act as a recruiting tool to create resentment is
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the era of world and one of the things people don't like to hear from global for the robe who talks about those who were radicalized. but many say i was radicalize because of the u.s. invasion of iraq were because of american troops are in the middle east or because a droned killed somebody. so we have to think smarter i am not saying we should not use of military but used in a smaller way and that there are consequences and we are caught in a vicious
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cycle. we respond to a terrorist attack. when do we get out of that cycle? first the bush administration takes a tactical approach they never step back is a lot more broadly have debris get beyond the wac a whole strategy? mcfadyen stage where the west is occupied to show that it there was never a history of suicide bombing that when america occupied the country. >> but the regime did not
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have a meaningful relationship to al qaeda. >> but that would have led to the growth of terrorism and it is unpopular to say. people don't want to remember or they don't want to see isis on television they wear black and have a historical view but they forget the last decade of our involvement in iraq. >> he is nodding in agreement. [laughter] >> i in answer the question the same wave of focused on the international class a and to agree the american response to the
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september 11th attacks did more damage than al qaeda did but i agree such as the invasion of afghanistan and 2001 was necessary when the taliban refused to hand them over. >> i would agree with that. but we didn't need to stay there forever. >> i am looking hard. to be raised by that jesuits' from st. augustine. and then to build a better piece in said right after reused afghanistan to defeat the soviet union for those to build a better
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afghanistan with us taliban to host did not ben -- bin laden the that was fertile ground for terrorist and we had a moral obligation and and not taking the eye off the ball. so we did need to occupy afghanistan. and dad is a safe haven. >> that trip is what got me started but we had already
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spent as a country tens of billions of dollars of reconstruction in afghanistan. in to see that evidence of tens of billions of dollars in kabul and to drive around the city there is no evidence of any improvements based on anything from economic reconstruction from the united states. it is terrible. i was thinking as a reporter where is the money going? then the reporters figured out it was calling from flights from the united
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states then going right back out to do by a. >> and to tell the stories of the gold rush that would cash in on the spending so we see that dubai corporations did very well with contrasting. but to listen attentively we have time for two or three. anybody who would like to move to the microphone? >> with the war on terror me over by now? two mb think there is a bitchy and some of that. >> counterfactual is always hard but as long did say counterfactual. [laughter] had we sent sufficient troops to afghanistan to
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trap al qaeda there rather than letting them get across the border, at that point the ideology is discredited with his poorly invasion of iraq it is important to remember there remains a tough place but sir to move in the right direction those headache moving in the right direction and. and then coming from a low base. there were few rhythm with
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thousand telephones in the whole country now there is 50 million every other afghan has a telephone they are smart phones. but then to a focus of the war in front of us by very early literally my former boss was whispering in the presidency years saying we need to invade iraq but a country that had absolutely nothing to do with al qaeda or the attack but the decision to invade iraq had that not happen and i do think it would be a decade-long war a and we had a panel on education or
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something. >> imagine that. >> good afternoon. with the of bush administration from the of larger criticism we are supportive throughout the middle east from the temporary security with radical islam with the failure of the arabs praying in just about every country except tunisia, what do you recommend going forward for the united states for the policy do we support? >> super complicated there is no one-size-fits-all answers.
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we are a democracy to the virtues saudi arabia? so that population in the world the number one funder of the al qaeda to view more radicalized since then for pro that is not something i am in favor of. this is one of the reasons they're pursuing a relationship with iran. with sap population with a figure of government in ben to flip places over 20 years with the importance for policy in the middle east. there is no easy answer. general i am not in favor of military intervention we should go to intervene only when committed to remain for
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generations as japan and south korea and to pay as rigo but i do believe the world is on a strong democratic trend and i believe that trend will continue over time. >> good afternoon. you mentioned i says being a al qaeda with the term used by one who was i university of new mexico but was say personal briefer he referred to it as the i get no generation. the way we conduct ourselves in the eyes of the era of world from the gitmo wooded
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fact to correct our mistakes ben least gitmo weighs heavily on the of mines. >> i concur completely with the assessment that those episodes that they are harmful to american foreign policy with the perception. to have that right a answer to move them toward very dangerous to the maximum security prison just one of what i believe to be many instances it into the incurious by interested in jim's answer. >> dire agree.
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but the degree to have that effect it is just one of many it is part and parcel of the decision to invade iraq to continue this tactical approach if you think to kill your way out of the war on terror then you don't reveal understand what is going on in front of you. and how we intervene in the whole region. and look goes to the heart of it. what bothers me is politically inside there is
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no political incentive to step back that the war on terrorism and conducted in a right way. the only political cost was there in attacked? was there a pipe bomb someplace? though the public has taught the politicians that is the only thing they have to fear. so with that short term approach with the short-term thinking. because of that dynamic nobody in congress or the white house has any time to think about if we do it the right way. >> we have time for one more
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question. >> so to talk to the petro war as excess but for collateral damage does it not just create more resentment? >> it does. but the drone strikes are far more precise is the subject of which i have more experience. so collateral damage is inherent you will always kill people you don't mean to on balance though we have destroyed our al qaeda ben has done great damage choose a successor organization through the drones but we have not conducted in an effective operations aboard to minimize the fact of those accidental deaths and
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to attack the ideology of the every. >> i would say if you look purely from a military aced tactical standpoint, they have been successful but they will disagree with being on balance but that resentment that is as blunt dash that ultimately it is like a drug. it is like crack per'' helps us in the short term to help us get through where american characters terrorism officials look week by week at the long term consequences to create
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new part of the world to sit i will kill an american because they killed my father. thank you both very bench. author james risen and also lt. colonel nagl. takes for joining us today. [applause]
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