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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 9, 2014 1:00am-3:01am EDT

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were going to be subject to -- her orders, that there their ballots would not be included in the announcement that was to be made. that was made yesterday. and in the fog of war principle that i've learned over the years from my experience in such situations, one doesn't know exactly what happened. that those ballots and the 7,000 boxes that were to be excluded from the announcement were included in the announcement. as -- increased distrust complicating factor. everyone of course are of the view that including i think if
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rafsanjani that dr. had been in agreement if i understand correctly about seclusion of those, i think we don't know exactly what happened. whether there have been various explanations given. so the crisis caused by the announcement and the way that it was announced before there had been an agreement completely on the remaining two or three items between the two campaigns. to he issue of what announce, what to include in that announcement. and what to exclude. led to a situation in which -- of course the outcome was rejected. and there was a potential crisis that reports that maybe
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a abdullah might announce parallel in quotation mark or a unity government with the risk that you could have a variety of governments so to speak which poses a great deal of risk for afghanistan. and the beneficiary of which would be only those who do not wish afghanistan well meaning the taliban and others. i give credit to the diplomacy of secretary kerry and esident obama that their intervention, very intense intervention by secretary kerry on multiple occasions and the esident on directly on one occasion that as for now, at east, avoided the announcement if that -- there was somewhere
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speculating, could have taken place today of a parallel government. i think that with the cretary's visit, soon, and that's obviously the opportunity for very intense diplomacy, to deal with the process issues that -- how to deal with the issue of identifying the fraudulent votes separating them. and that would be consistent with afghan law. respect for the voters of afghanistan. and the voters who have taken the risks to vote twice. and to come to an outcome that is -- that is both legal from afghan point of view and
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credible from the point of view of the candidates. because what needs to avoid is what was avoided for today at least, the -- an action outside the law of formation of parallel government. and what have you. the second track, and these are all formal -- the formal track with regard to the elections that i mentioned, there's the -- have an to understanding reesmed between a two camps to avoid , a ion, new fault lines new crisis in terms of the
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inability which could be the consequence of inability for afghans to come together after an election. elections everywhere are polarizing and they take sides and compete. ifferent points of view. aspirations. people taking sides but how do you bring them together afterward? i think both candidates have said they don't believe in the philosophy of winner take all. that afghanistan is not at the takes all the winner the positions for itself and there's no room for -- for those who have lost. the question is, and that is more the work of the afghans, internationals can help.
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perhaps to a lesser degree than they can help on the formal process of how do you increase the technical capabilities of the electoral institutions if they are needed? is to come to some broad based after inclusive government. and this is also in my judgment necessary and vital for the ultimate success. and there are a range of ideas out there for what -- the exact arrangements could be. the winner of course will be the president. and the constitution as it specified the responsibility of the president. afghanistan is a strong presidential system.
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ashaff -- and how the constitution can be changed. but that's a presidential system, what can you do in rms of inclusiveness to have kind of shared or broadly participatory and not only from the winning team but from the team that may come second. i believe there are lots of ideas. i'm reluctant to discuss them at this point. maybe to request -- question and answer and some of these issues are such sensitivity that perhaps discussion on them, although i'm a private citizen, at this stage, could be misconstrued there given we are in the united states.
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and so therefore i would say the following. to conclude. that -- go back to my basic point that afghanistan has come a long way. but the successes are not irreversible. and that it is a responsibility of the leaders of afghanistan, particularly the two candidates . and consistent with the laws and constitution of afghanistan, to -- i know there are pressures on the candidates. nd i believe that as we were talking with david and i just before coming here, dr. abdullah, for example, in his press statement, today, ended very positively about the future. but i know he's under a lot of pressure from people to do certain things that if you do them, going back on them will become much harder. and similarly, there are ghani es on i'm sure dr.
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that many know quite well. and two rise to the occasion because i could say a point of personal privilege that no position is as important as the future of their country. and the future of afghanistan and the future of 30 million people who have suffered a great deal over the last 30, 35 years. and there's -- if there's a will, and i hope there is, that there is a formula and that can i think deal with both of these issues in a way that can safeguard the longer term interests of the country. and i hope that -- and i believe that -- and i'm positive that with very senior level intense engagement on the part of the united states, which is necessary, that
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hopefully will make -- will things e of the worst that are possible and the mix of things that one can see and identify that could be very damaging, certainly to afghanistan. but also to the broader region. and to the -- given the efforts and the stakes involved for the international community. particularly the united states. those are more negative scenarios can be avoided. thank you very much. i hope that's ok as an opening statement. so we'll now turn it over to david. [applause] >> thanks, al. you're always a very tough act to follow. but i will try. i want to start off by thanking mr. nuwaz and the atlantic
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uncil for not olddle -- only holding this but events to refocus the attention of the united states on the events right now in afghanistan but more importantly the future of afghanistan. i think that is a tremendous contribution to not just the understanding of afghanistan here but to u.s. national interests which still -- which i believe are of really paramount importance in afghanistan. and if we don't understand what's happening in afghanistan, if we don't understand what's at stake, we will make huge mistakes in our policy. the atlantic council is playing a very positive role. and so i appreciate that. i bs want to associate myself very strongly with the remarks ambassador khalilzad made overall. but particularly his point about the progress in afghanistan. it's one of the stories that the american people don't know.
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i've said this before. some of you may have heard this before. the american people and american leaders can't make good decisions on afghanistan because they don't know the facts. most americans that i talked to specially outside of washington think afghanistan has been a failure. that there's violence all over the country. there's been no progress anywhere. everything has gotten worse since we've been there and let's get out. as ambassador khalilzad pointed out that's not the truth. there's been progress massively across afghanistan. i was most recently there in december. the kabul that i saw was very different, completely different than the kabul i saw in 2002. when i first went there. very different of course, ambassador khalilzad will echo this and anybody who's been there including afghans in the audience here. there has been a huge amount of progress. america and our nato allies and in many ways have succeeded in what we set out to do. we are succeeding. but we can still lose it.
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we can still fail. since i left the u.s. government a year ago and spoke out strongly on that and somewhat critically, particularly some decisions made by this administration. i would like to therefore also second what the am bars dorr just -- ambassador said about the administration and what they've been doing recently in terms of trying to ensure that the elections don't turn from a huge victory for the afghan people to not just a huge defeat but a crushing tragedy and a reopening of the civil war. i don't say that lightly. but i know that people on both sides have threatened to go to the streets. have threatened to use violence. and that would be a terrible tragedy not just for the afghan people but for u.s. national interests as well. i will mention here and mention again the close of my remarks that the importance of i would say the original topic of this discussion, which was the future of afghanistan after the elections.
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in other words, what were the priorities -- what the priorities should be of a new government and what should be -- what in the first 100 days or whatever for example, what kind of things they need to do. and i think that's very important because afghanistan, regardless of what's happening now, faces huge, huge challenges. given all that success, maintaining it, continuing it is going to be. very difficult. especially in a region that they -- that afghanistan is going to be forever with contesting powers. and seeking advantage. or seeking their own national interest. but i'm going to go back to the recent events of the election. and just say a few words about those. i think it's important to reiterate the point that the ambassador made. this is the vote count from the election committee, the website and it is the unaudited vote count. and that is f you go back to yesterday, which seems like a long time actually in this
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narrative, you will have noticed that the u.s. state department put out a statement that said that focused on the potentially the lack of wisdom of announcing that with a very strong stress that a lot of fraud was committed. and that no victor should be imputed from these results. that's not to say that isn't a victor. but it's what it is to say is that essentially right now, the margin of fraud is larger than the margin of error. there's so much fraud, so much undiscovered fraud, so much fraud that might be there and might not be, no one knows. and the processes to discover that have come down to a reasonable election result by counting is going to take a lot of work and a lot of that work is the am -- as the am bar dorr said has been agreed on between the two sides. but as often happens in the real world, and politics, things intervene. i want to also second what the
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ambassador said which is that there is time here. there's also not a lot of time. i read the speech that -- i listened to the speech that dr. abdullah gave yesterday. that i think has been a bit misreported in the press. i think the key things that he said was he asked his supporters for time. he is under huge pressure from a number of his supporters to take to the streets. to declare a parallel government. to declare himself the victor. and act that way. now, of course both he and dr. ghani have declared themselves a victor. i think every close election that i'm aware of in the united states or elsewhere both sides always declare themselves the victor and try to figure out what to do and how to move forward and that's what's happening in afghanistan right now. but by asking his supporters to wait, to -- saying that while he had the right to declare a provisional government or alternate or whatever you want to call it he wouldn't do it
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and he would wait. as the ambassador said he's waiting for secretary kerry to arrive. secretary kerry i think played a hugely important and very positive role in 2009. competence, the charisma, the wisdom to play that kind of role. but of course the key actors are afghans. they're the ones who have to make the decisions. secretary kerry and others can only play a role. i think it's hugely important as dr. abdullah announced in his speech that president obama called dr. abdullah and i believe he called dr. i'm sure he did. that kind of personal involvement by our president in the afghan political process at this point, given the stakes that the united states has in afghanistan, is absolutely vital. it will help secretary kerry to have a greater chance of success. and it also makes clear to the afghan people the importance
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that the united states continues to attach to afghanistan. something that has been under question over past several years and particularly the announcement the president made about the time line and the withdrawal a few months back. but that is why as i said i welcome that involvement by the administration. but there's -- there are a lot of pressures there that don't have anything to do with what the united states does and supporters of both candidates in afghanistan want decisive action by their candidates to put them into positions of power. to settle personal grudges. and in some cases go back generations. and certainly go back well to the time that the ambassador and i worked together over there. and i will stress that he was the ambassador and i was the deputy. that that's important to note and a great privilege to be his deputy. but disentangling all of those interlocking webs of conflict, i don't think that's a contradiction, webs of
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conflict, that exist among people in all political systems, is something that eally only afghans can do as said. but at this point in time the united states, the international community, has an opportunity to help ensure that the progress that's necessary in afghanistan is made. i think the stakes are really, really high. that doesn't mean that secretary kerry fails to solve it that all is lost. but what it means is he has the opportunity to make a huge impact. and i think that he will. again, echoing the ambassador, where there are wills, there are ways. and i think there are wills on both sides. the question is, can they be a ught together to a -- to way forward? but it's going to be very hard. one other area that i would mention about whether there's been huge progress in afghanistan, and that's in the afghan security forces, particularly the afghan army. one thing that we should not forget, that as we have put our
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forces down, as -- as american lives lost and americans who suffer injuries, our nato allies whose lives were lost and suffer injuries those numbers have gone down. afghan numbers have gone up. and they've gone way up. especially in the last three to four months. the conflict continues. people are fighting and dying every day in afghanistan. and to date, the afghan security forces, again, particularly the afghan army or the police, is doing better as well. are performing well above where many people thought they would be tow or three or four years ago. they are doing that despite the fact they don't have adequate air power. despite the fact that the intelligence support and logistical support from the u.s. and nato has decreased much more quickly than is wise and an increasing level of risk to that effort. and they're doing so by and large, this is from my own experience so in talking to afghans and being in afghanistan, and doing so
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because by and large they are committed to fighting for their country. they have a national spirit and a national identity. that is put at risk by the current political impasse. and the longer the political impasse lasts, the more likely it is there will be problems inside the army, inside the security forces and elsewhere. i think really a situation is that every day that there's not a solution, makes the situation for the future more dangerous and more difficult to resolve. and again, i trust that the leaders in afghanistan not just the -- not just the two candidates but other important afghan leaders realize that. two other influences i want to mention. i think are important. at the same time, there's this essentially weakness at the center of the afghan political process that the other actors in afghanistan. and most importantly the taliban but as pakistan as well. iran. other outside powers are taking lessons, learning and making
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plans or in some cases having assumptions validated by what's happening on the ground in afghanistan. and that by and large is a real negative for afghanistan. the lessons for those in pakistan without being 100% definite about who i mean there, those in pakistan who see a weak and divided afghanistan as it impacts pakistan's interests take this as a signal that their efforts to that end have always been right and should continue. the taliban are certainly taking -- this as an opportunity to put greater pressure on the afghan security forces so they have mounted up a pretty impressive offensive over the last few weeks. that offensive is likely to spread to other areas in the -- in the south and east. in coming weeks. the continuing unfolding of a kistani offensive in the north and the impact it will have on afghanistan is still unclear. it may well be negative for afghanistan.
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because right now, there's not enough coordination between the afghan and pakistani military and security authorities on how to handle that. there are -- these dangers are accelerating. and it's a time when afghanistan needs united leadership. and that is where i hope it will be. within the next couple of weeks. the final election-related thing i wanted to mention was the role of president karzai. it's been very controversial in afghanistan. people in both camps have described a triangle of evil which involves president karzai, the election commission, perhaps the united states, perhaps who the other side or definitely the other side and perhaps the election commission and different arrays. but president karzai is seen by many as having played a major role in the current impasse. and many people believe that he is doing this in order to remain in power. my own experience, which pales in that with relationship to
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the ambassador, and i ask him to comment on it when he comes up, is that president karzai at heart doesn't want to be president anymore. it's a tough, hard job. he's done it for 10 years. actually more than 10 years, almost 12, over 12 now. he would like to be replaced by a system, by people, who are effective. but who also give him a proper role. but i think there's also a people around president karzai and perhaps even -- always danger to speculate about individuals. and perhaps even president karzai, part of himself that is prepared to stay in power. if the alternatives aren't better. and if the political process doesn't yield a better alternative, and president karzai stays in power, then president karzai will have lost the biggest contribution he can make to his -- the success of his country which is a successful, peaceful, transfer of power from one civilian leader to another. something that, for example, it took the neighboring country of pakistan over half a century to
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do. this is a huge accomplishment. and i think it is something that is important for us to help president karzai to do. and i think in many ways, he wants to do that. so i'm not a believer that this is all a plot by president karzai to take power. but i think that could be the result or to keep power, rather. that could be the result. and a lot of what -- whether that happens or not depends of course on what happens in kabul in coming days so it's important that all afghan leaders who can play a positive role do so in coming days. finally, a couple of words on the most important issues for afghanistan, for any government afterwards. and i had a much longer thing prepared on this a few days ago. but i'm not going to use it. i'm going to say that it needs to be inclusive, progressive, reforming, noncorrupt and young government. to go back to the areas of success, perhaps the biggest area of success in afghanistan, and i see some in the audience who fit this bill, is the
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emrgens of a younger generation that has the potential to really change their country. in many ways more and more has the capabilities to change the country. one of the sad things about the past election is there were no real representatives of that new generation even running for president to prepare to be president, five or 10 years in the future. it's really important for a new leader to empower those and to take steps to be inclusive, to begin to address the huge corruption problem afghanistan faces. and also to really reform the government. because that's what the people of afghanistan very clearly voted for. they voted for with their feet and voted for as dr. abdullah said this speech yesterday, they voted for it with their fingers, those people whose fingers were cut off as a result of the election. and they voted with their lives as the afghan security forces are doing. they want a new government. they want change. if this process results in that, then the afghan people's sacrifices will have been worth
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it and if not, we'll see a return, we could see a return to the incredible tragedies that have beset not just the afghan people but the surrounding countries and the united states. over the last 30 years. thank you. and look forward to your questions. [applause] > david? >> as promised, this was a spectacular introduction to the topic. and not just about the elections but the future of afghanistan. and i'm very grateful to ambassador khalilzad and to david sedney for setting the stage for this very rich banquet of ideas. let me if i may pick up on something that david said, i
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think you said where there are wills, there are ways. and ambassador khalilzad also talked about various possibilities and promised that we might be able to define them in the question and answer session. let me ask you, what are the most likely ways and i'll start with ambassador khalilzad first, what are the most likely ways in which this impasse can e removed and the result obtained maybe even by the 24th of this month? >> well, this is obviously one f the most important issues. nd i'm a little reluctant to go too much in detail if you don't mind. et me say the following --
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i said e certainly as before statements from both candidates. and dr. ashraf ghani has said publicly and the discussion that is i've had with him, referring to the experience of western europe, post world war, whether you had very broad participation, coalition governments to deal with the broad challenges that those countries faced. and given where afghanistan is, it needs near consensus on many issues. to make progress. and there have been ideas with regard to making a distinction between policy making and
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policy execution. and the policy making area, there are lots of potential possibilities for participation . by members of the two teams. and the policy execution section, too, there are areas of participation. there's there is also not executive branch opportunities. by someone whoon comes but does not want to be in the executive branch for participation. whether it is in the legislative branch, the establishment of the
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position of the opposition sense in a formal, legal with specified responsibilities and participation in the process. as david said and you repeated, there is a will. there is a way. i could think of many powerful possibilities that satisfy the requirements of the const touche and and the laws of afghanistan until the constitution changes, meaningful gives a but to the winning team also for the other side. for how tojudgment
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avoid going over the brink. i think the sooner we can make progress to achieve agreement on the formal process to get to and accept did, legitimate winner and there was a phase yesterday and to do the other, my own judgment to solve this problem is you need progress on both sides. i appreciate that both candidates are saying they are not looking for power-sharing and such things. battle aboutf the , one could getis progress on what would happen.
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we want to know what will happen to the team that will not do as well. therefore, i think that is as important in a sense. we should have the lead on that and we can take a calculated role but not a lot. i think to avoid a serious need progress on both of these and there are lots of ideas. afghanistan is not the first country in the world to have a potential crisis of this kind. one can learn from the and getce of others some of those good ideas that have worked. there are some that have not worked so well. , so to speak.t >> david, do you want to be a
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little more daring than mr. khalilzad and identifying them? with it's a huge challenge a very daring approach to things and a successful one. a couple of comments. on the issues that face afghanistan and the way to address those issues, if you look at what the candidates have said their priorities are and what they identified in the debates, and lines of the speeches that got the most applause, there is a lot of congruence. smart, these are very very capable people. both of them, i think, have the capacity to be great leaders of afghanistan. they have a track record. if you look at the substance, i think, there is very little difference on the policies they
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want for the future of the after and people and they have the support of the afghan people. that is where they need to come together. the biggest danger is the exposition of politics -- ethnicization of politics. on the one hand, just about every afghan is of the view that it is a unitary state and will stay together. it will not fracture into various ethnic groups. he said that to his speech last and i think the afghans in the room here, if you disagree, please speak up. but what has happened in the election because of a series of , he would no year more than that because he was in kabul where there were
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discussions about the unity government way ahead. those dreams, those ambitions, those efforts were frustrating and someday someone will write a book about it but the bottom line is that they failed. wasresult is that failure tickets that were not reflect of enough of the afghan people as a whole. about not offer specifics who might be changed, replaced, who should give up what is edition in government, but broadly speaking afghanistan needs a government that does not further polarize the country along ethnic lines. that already happened in afghanistan in the 1990's. it would be much worse today if it happened again. i think both candidates realize that. both of them and their supporters are going to have to
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make some serious sacrifices. people don't make serious sacrifices when they still think they can win the whole thing. both sides believe they can win the whole thing now. the problem i have analytically with that is both sides of if they win the whole thing, both sides lose. there has to be a political cooperation. i'm not using the term "power-sharing" it is i think that's the wrong approach. they have to actually reject power-sharing that was agreed to , which i believe was a and no real alternative but it did result in putting people into positions of power where they continue to exploit the afghan people. assuagedgroups were rather than the afghan people being the focus. if that happens again, some kind of power-sharing where different
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ministries are breaking up and they become victims of individual ethnic groups, we will have a continuing set of problems. i apologize but the people who need to be daring are the leaders of that and a stand. ofare the leaders afghanistan. they are the people who have provided the funding and occupied political positions of authority in afghanistan. have been daring may the wrong word. these are riskier ideas. those of you who are well versed in politics and have taken more of a statesman-like approach, let me ask something based on said,mbassador khalilzad the u.s. role. on the one hand, everyone talks but we have the image
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in the optics of the secretary of state arriving there. according to the reports of the help ask thee will arrangements surrounding the recount and the adjudication of the votes. i'm sure secretary of state cary will not be involved in the auditing of the results of the recount. how exactly does one balance this involvement and yet a hands off approach? the trip byt shows the secretary, as david therened, john kerry was in 2009 and played a helpful role. helpful in the
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decisions will have to be made, however -- and the decisions will have to be made, however, by the app dance. but i find in my experience, having been born in afghanistan, coming here and going back, being involved in american diplomacy for a time is that what we are good at, and i mean the united states, we can sometimes see alternatives that, i think, one thing distinguishes, perhaps, the distinguishing characteristic of the americans is that we think for every problem there is a solution and sometimes that can get us in trouble because sometimes some problems are not easily solvable and you have to
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learn how to manage and live with it. that is an american tendency to think there must be a way to solve this problem or to deal with it effectively. i think when people are in the tot of the political battle put that issue especially in the dynamics i have seen up close and personal. david mentioned a winner take all attitude and this is a unique opportunity, so to speak. we can see ways -- although they
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are both smart candidates, nevertheless they are in difficult situations and ideas coming from us or the u.n. can be helpful to them in dealing with their own kind of constituencies and support. to some extent, they may even think it's a good idea perhaps to say that it came from the united states and perhaps even blaming or criticizing us but nonetheless, what alternative do we have? it can be helpful. i'm not saying it's an easy task . the secretary of state must or can solve it that i think he will make a if if the decision of the secretaries can come to
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an agreement for the two sides. it shows that the united states cares about this. otherwise the state will not allow it. and the president will not pick up the phone and call. positive, that is very . isthink the administration on the right track with regards to this. >> david, we would like to hear from you especially your views on secretary himself, the person. his long involvement with afghanistan has been critical. >> as long involvement with the region, he has a very broad and strategic focus and his history and afghanistan has built him credibility. his personal work style, his
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ability to engage on a very tough issues, negotiate down to the very last minute, and keep negotiating as he has proven in his admirable efforts in the middle east and a lot of political negotiations when he was senator. byhink that is also seasoned the fact that he ran for president of the united states. he's been on the national stage in the way few others have been. the combination of qualities gives him a really unique potential. the decisions can be facilitated, helped, explored by the u.s.. i will offer one other thing. -- his is resolved >> when it is resolved. associate very much myself with that correction. juste united states
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retreat into where we were six weeks ago in afghanistan and the history of not just relations with afghanistan but other countries as well is that there continue to be problems. we sometimes facilitate that problem by the almost overenthusiastic embracing of and then withdrawal when the crises are made. i think it's really important that when this crisis is resolved in the united states stay involved and we adopt a about ourolicy engagement and we work very closely with the new afghan government. >> let me open it up to the audience. please wait until you are recognized and wait for the microphone to reach you. overll start in the back there, please. then i will move around the room. >> i'm a fulbright scholar from pakistan. my question is for ambassador
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khalilzad. afghan security forces are melting away in the face of the offensive. like we saw in the iss case in iraq. being, given the trends that i see them, it is unlikely. they have faced considerable challenges in the course of the and areas that have been in the news on and off over the many years over the last decade. lot ande sacrificed a have held together. theudgment is as long as
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political problem that we both have been talking about, the elections coming to a successful and assistance to meaningtan is sustained that for as long as the afghan can afford to pay for the soldiers themselves, they need assistance for the broad -- from abroad. part of the chicago agreement of that help.ning i'm fairly optimistic that the security forces will hold. there is also the issue that we have not talked about yet, the issue of the u.s.-afghan security agreement, the
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bilateral security agreement, and then the nato-afghanistan agreement. of course there is a need for a andtion to this problem relatively soon before the nato summit in early september so that both of these agreements are in place. both candidates have said they would sign those agreements. that also is an additional element of reassurance and sustaining the kind of support that the afghan forces would need. , i amall of that optimistic now. some have raised the issue that you have not raised about what happens beyond 2016 when all u.s. forces, according to the current administration, will be
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out and it will be a small force under the embassy umbrella. we have been very positive about the administration's efforts dealing with this situation. here, i differ from the position of the administration, i think. i hope that the next president and thisistan president for the next president of the united states would come to some agreement that would retain more forces, including some combat capability, for a variety of contingencies that we can talk about beyond 2016. here we are. with those conditions i
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described, i'm fairly optimistic that what you saw in northern iraq, alln western the places that i know quite i would say that they are , given the other things i have described, if they are in place, it is a contingent answer i've given. david gives his answer, what contingencies are you referring to? internal contingencies are contingencies of the region? judgment is a talkedlar contingency about. let's say in terms of 2016 --
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early 2017, if we do not have any combat forces there and assume the remnants of al qaeda are still there. predicts the ability to based on a lot of experience over the years, it's not very good to say we can predict exactly the problem will go away at that time. is how we are going to deal with that problem? where would they take off to carry out that mission at that time? what is the answer to that problem? going to say that there are just a lot of challenges over the world so we will accept more risk there? is that the answer? todo we consciously decide take more risks there? when you have a vacuum, people
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will go there. so far -- andfied i have had conversations at various levels -- that i have a remainingr for this issue. although i know some people believe that problem will not be there by that time. such things have been predicted and promised before. i just think we need to be more prudent than that. like david. i welcome that question. i spent the bulk of four years at the department of defense where my primary task was helping to build the afghan security oars as particularly the army. ince i left the government, have continued to monitor that very closely. the afghan security forces, the army a stronger today than it because of the
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fighting they have done. being on their round has made them a much better military. the danger of their collapsing in the near future, i would agree with ambassador khalilzad that it is so small we should not worry about it. in the near to mediate future i would worry about them almost becoming too powerful that some will call for a military coup, for example. that is a danger. was thepened in iraq result of a failure of political leadership. the leaders of the iraqi military by and large have been boughtd by a group who their positions as kernels, brigadiers, generals from a president determined to have a sectarian army. if that happens in afghanistan that will at least split the military but it will not destroy, dissipate, but it will
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fight. that's one of the differences. i have worked closely with those who have trained the afghan military and they generally rate fighting capabilities significantly higher than the iraq he wants. it does not necessarily make things easier or better. it can make things worse. on a strategic level, there is a think isevel that i centrally problematic for afghanistan and that is the of an al qaedaaq offshoot, and al qaeda successor. speech the other day from mr. al baghdadi who claimed himself the successor of osama an laden he said he has state. for the last year, there has witha very clear consonant the remaining leadership in
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afghanistan which has not been destroyed, not been eliminated. it has remained the core ideological center of a large group of people who are dedicated to a vision of a new world order, really. and this contest between al baghdadi and all zone where he -- al-zawiri, a sickly what they are saying of the al qaeda in pakistan now, you have a chance. i created a state and it is actually closer to the heartland so everyone should follow me. i personally think it's unlikely that the zone here he -- al zawahiri will follow al baghdadi and isis. their. real challenge i extrapolated a bid from your question going a little off topic but i see that as a
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strategic challenge to become and in doing so seeking a way to compete with isis. here ande a question then i will move to the others. >> please identify yourself. >> my name is vladimir atrophic, former defector from serbia. i have been following this especially since the first and second round as well. one of the things i wanted to point out is i understood there were 22 thousand polling places in afghanistan for the election and in the second round -- 22,00 0 polling places. in the second round, both tsmpaigns had the results shee including the person from the election commission and both of the campaigns received those papers signed by everybody's and 22,000 were not
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signed off. wereentioned the elections closed from the preliminary results announced yesterday. we saw there was a one million vote difference. why would you consider those elections closed? mentioned there is a need to negotiate and have some kind of a unity government. what if there is a scenario of a candidate who realizes from the sheets that he is losing elections by big margins? we saw the preliminary results put him at 56%-44%. he starts yelling, fraud, fraud and then creating a situation where you have to negotiate with the losing side to include him in the government and he is under pressure as every candidate is.
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if you start threatening with an arising and you come into situation where you create a position for yourself to be negotiated into some kind of a power-sharing agreement, would that create a bad precedent for future elections and not just for afghanistan but other areas? places and more than one million votes off. why would we call it a closed election? who created the fraud? you talked about president karzai -- >> let's get the answers to your questions, thank you. >> we call it a close election for a number of things and i will go back to what i said earlier about the margin of fraud being greater than the margin of error at least right now. in the first round, dr. of the left had a substantial -- dr. abdullah had a substantial lead.
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he reached out to a number of areas and increased turnout but the overall turnout in elections , the preliminary results from the first election were 7.1 million and for the second round , the preliminary results es,terday, the unaudited once was 8 million. that implies an increase of about one million votes in the second round of the election. say there is wide skepticism in afghanistan and the international community toward that kind of level of increase in the overall vote in afghanistan even recognizing there was an increase in some areas that there were decreases in some areas. that is something that needs to be looked at closely. clearly i have talked about industrial-scale fraud which could be in the neighborhood.
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they are within that very broad margin of error. will it remain? i don't think so. very careful audit is nece sides of the came so close to coming up with an audit process that should still go forward. state department spokesman said, these do not determine the winner. that was a fairly strong statement for the state department that it worked for for many years. >> on the issue of elections versus a deal, to negotiate something, i would say a couple of things.
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one is that both sides have agreed that the legitimate votes should be separated from the fraudulent ballots. he doesn't want a single fraudulent ballot. , by whata question process should that be different? david said there was progress between the two finical teams. you make a point. legitimate processes increase the system, it comes to a judgment, and the voters choice needs to be respected. anything done outside that would
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put what your party does outside the realm of legitimacy. is giving the country legitimacy, and the risks going on. there is an enemy trying to exploit these things. and gain both sides. they want to have an inclusive government. the challenge for diplomacy in , that can unite the
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country may not satisfy everyone. i think that is the space, in that. both afghan and international community need to focus on that space. >> i'm not taking sides here. both sides committed fraud. all sides. there was fraud at the local level, the chair of election commission resigned amid charges of fraud. there is a huge amount that is unknown here. >> i'm going to take to two questions.
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>> hello. i wanted to ask as a young person with afghan and pakistani as a country with sure cultural customs, what challenges do you think the new in a u.s. will face in afghanistan diplomatic relations? >> next question over here. then i will take another pair after this. >> i think the ambassador and david have mentioned that they have come a long way. yet to go a long way.
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do you think there is enough political maturity in the sites, youof afghan use the word facilitate every time. has theional community leverage also. leverage, theyt will come to terms because they need all the help in the world for construction, building institutions, and move forward. the interesting part both of you -- who is actually tough neighborhood? >> both questions. >> the young lady on the question on the challenges of the future for u.s. afghan
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relations, my judgment would be that it is keeping the united states interested, focused. david spoke quite well. we did to attention when there is a crisis and son as disengage until the next crisis. there is a bit of afghanistan fatigue in the united states, and all the other challenges around the world, the challenge for the young afghans from that region and the u.s. is to sustain or expand the nonsecurity elements of the relationship as people to people , as education, cultural,
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political, economic. dominant as be as it had been in recent times. that will be the challenge is a decline in interest. clearly there is a fatigue. there is no appreciation for what david said. how much has been accomplished and afghanistan is fundamentally a different country than it was 10 years ago. that has been largely sanctioned by efforts of the united states. the united states is uniquely played a role in that.
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a million more afghans are alive today that would not be alive if it weren't of the efforts of the united states. how many afghan children are alive today that would not be alive. with regard to the issue of facilitation, the thing you don't have to say a u.s.people know what the is in aanyone who leadership position appreciates that. i wouldn't go overboard beating people on the head to say about the u.s. leverage. the question is will they be able to translate that?
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appreciated in influence and presentation. i think people in that region do of react well to a kind direct threat of the environment. recipe -- and i'm not saying that we are doing that. that we have a stake in their success. but we have done together, how and leverageome, works its own wonders. i don't think you need to be heavy-handed with regard to that
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leverage. -- atld you like to old a a few words? >> maturity of the political antem, the ability to offer emphatic yes. afghanistan is ready for that. i don't think it is appropriate, afghan leaders are very mature. they do have the capability in the last year. we have seen military coups in egypt, thailand, countries that we would often have different points in our relationships called mature democracies. other countries in the region have had no terry gou's. -- military coups. exists in afghanistan. the question is, going back to what the ambassador said. how much will is there for people to act in national
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interests, in the ethnic interest? that is anywhere in the world. say that i support that, it is not with any view that this is of something that is easy or simple to do. does afghans and have the capability and leaders to do this? we hear had an election in 2000 that had to go to our supreme court. democrats today still feel the election was stolen from them. counterure democracies stress points up with the system to the test. the question is how you respond to that. >> thank you. a question in the second row. then to that side.
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>> thank you. thank you. part of my question was -- student of security studies. part of my question was asked by ambassador. the other part was bringing pakistan into the equation. we are having a security transition given that pakistan started military operations which has long been asked to start cracking down terrorists in that part of the world. is a coincidence that when there is an election going in afghanistan, operations or is it an--
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accident? or is it preplanned? >> what steps do you think are necessary to resolve the conflict with the taliban? i care number which one of you pointed it out. the leadership is sitting in pakistan. we have none of for a long time. there is a nice book out about this. what steps are necessary in order to resolve the security conflict? i know that a discussion in
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pakistan on how to deal with the , and the whole issue of the extremists in their. -- there. an urge to have a cease-fire agreement. some incidents and actions that took place, including the iraqi airport attack, those who response for forceful on the part of the pakistan argument.they one the i do not want to say civilian versus military.
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point asould make that part of the characterization of the situation. whether int know the afghanistan election was up in their thankful -- thinking. impact inng afghanistan. even charges you have heard some afghans may have had. there is been a more intense engagement of how to deal with this. the national security advisers
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or and as lama bothered just a few days ago having a dialogue with the prime minister. there was some agreement as to what happened on the ground. the question of argued, i think i have that we needed to find an understanding. i think we have not succeeded. pakistananistan and has been condemns as we have forces. seizes to be a sanctuary for the taliban. and that if we could achieve success, that would
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help a lot with afghanistan. and hardening afghanistan continuing sanctions generated timets would require more on the part of the united states , assuming we are committed to success in afghanistan until it becomes too expensive to have a change of mind on the other side. i believe what is required is ideally from my point of view, talibana position leadership they would be able to support an afghan led negotiation by the future. both candidates have said they support that.
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say besidesould some we cannot as part of remit with afghanistan for you to use pakistan as a sanctuary for military operations. we support diplomacy and negotiation. there may be a process that can be discussed. no longer use as a sanctuary. at the be no country, a sanctuary for groups against the other. for perhapsis room at the right time for diplomacy. in.ring other powers years. tried during the i know president bush hosted holbrooke with mr.
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and have tried. maybe it is some progress here and there. fundamentally the issue has not been resolved. that is a strategic shaping factor in this afghan palace that -- pakistan problem. both countries have affected afghanistan more in the past. it is beginning to affect pakistan a lot. it needs to be dealt with in a separate manner. >> that is a topic we will probably need to hold for a whole session. regional effects. we already be on the time that we promised. also, to c-span. unless you want to add, if you would.
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appreciate the prerogative. in the interest of a promise to c-span, ice and to thank the ambassador, and partners of the atlantic council. we appreciate your continued support of our work and your participation in these events. we always appreciate the participation of our audience. my apologize for those i cannot recognize for the questions. if you havet questions, as soon as i close this session you can come up and talk to our guest. thank you very much. [applause]
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> defense secretary chief hagel and martin dempsey briefed the senate armed services committee at a closed-door meeting on iraq and afghanistan. after the briefing, we heard reaction from committee members john mccain and claire mccaskill. >> it was a classified briefing, so i will not provide any details of that briefing, except to say very clearly, there is no strategy for countering the terrorism inve of
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history on the iraq-syria border. they have no strategy, nor could they articulate a strategy to encompass what our intelligence estimates. >> did they outline any plans? >> no strategy whatsoever. >> are they going to change anything about afghanistan? >> i can't give any details. >> any details on how the assessment is going? >> it is very complicated. active iniran very iraq. time, they are active in syria, trying to help
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assad. ocomplicatestes -- what we can do and should do. iraq's government is announcing and refusing to acknowledge that it must include all of iraq in the government, and until he is willing to do what is necessary, there is going to be a problem. >> did you hear anything that sounds a strategy from the administration? >> i think they have a strategy, but if the american people are looking for some simple would be, it irresponsible to give on. it is complicated. as i said, we have iran on different sides. is makeve got to do sure that we are working with our allies, that we are continuing to appeal to moderate sunnis who ultimately will reject a government that will cut off your finger for smoking a cigarette.
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that is what this extreme organization represents. ultimately, extremists will not govern. the administration is being appropriately cautious and careful that there is not one-size-fits-all in the middle east right now. >> [indiscernible] >> i'm not going to comment about that. the administration has requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding from congress for stopping some of the influx of children and dealing with the situation along the southern border with mexico. lauren meckler is with "the wall street journal." what is in the administration's request? >> a lot of the money is to essentially detain and house children and families who are crossing the border. that is where the crisis has
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been. thousands of, children traveling alone, and adults traveling with children in each of those cases, there are special needs for housing them. the administration is unable to handle it right now. >> you right in your piece in "the wall street journal" that the white house's proposal puts the president in an awkward position, asking for more staff and detention facilities to crack down on illegal crossings when he had hoped to sign a liberalization of immigration law. does the white house get anything out of this request that they had wanted to get even before this crisis started? >> no, this request is related to the crisis itself. it is a very different sort of situation. this really is a request for a crackdown. there is some stuff in there that immigrants rights i do fits -- advocates do like like legal
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representation for minors, efforts to stem the root of the crisis in these central american countries where these children are coming from, but most of the money is either to house these children while they look for sponsors in the u.s. or for families to hold them in order to then quickly process them and deport them back to their countries. >> how was the request receives on capitol hill? >> there's a little bit of a mix. in general, there was openness from both parties. oute are a few concerns there. there are some republicans who are saying that this request should be offset with other peopleg cuts, or a few have said, no, we should work this into the regular appropriations process, but on the most part, there was openness from republican leaders as well as democratic leaders. harry reid said he hoped to move it before the august break. there is another piece of this request, which is not the funding, but it is for a change
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in law, which the president reiterated in a congress -- in a letter to congress today. it would essentially change the way the government handles unaccompanied minors. law, a twothe thousand eight law dictates that the way these kids are supposed to be handled is they are placed with hhs, which looks for a sponsor, and then their deportation proceedings unfold slowly, because our immigration courts are incredibly backlogged. it can take years for their cases to be heard. that is not the way kids from mexico or theoretically canada are handled. those cases are expedited. what the white house is asking is to work with congress to change the law and allow for the expedited removal of these kids from central america, as well. that is much more controversial with democrats. republicans are very open to that idea. democrats, not so much. weeks ago, you
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tweeted, obamas deportation policy complicated by the surge of children. what is next in terms of this immigration request? again, harry reid, the senate majority leader, said today he hoped to move it through before the august break. that is a pretty fast-track. it is unclear what will happen in the house. the chairman of the appropriations committee, hal rogers, the republican of kentucky, said that he was -- essentially, he said he would have to review the request, but he issued a very sympathetic statement to what the request is trying to accomplish. -- this couldt's move quickly. however, again, if republicans try to attach this obama request or a version of the obama request to change that 2008 law, then that could complicate this. ever wenty, no one broke betting against congress
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doing something. they tend to act very slowly. this is a situation where people from all parties view it as a true emergency. >> you can follow her reporting on twitter. thank you for the update. of fema and the u.s. customs and border protection will testify about security challenges along the u.s. border and the influx of immigrants to the u.s. live coverage from a senate homeland security committee starts tomorrow morning at 10:00 eastern on c-span three. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. later in the day, also on c-span 3, ncaa president mark emmert will take questions at a senate hearing about college athletes and academics. we will also hear from author and historian taylor branch who wrote it 2011 cover story for "the atlanta magazine -- "the atlantic" magazine.
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whistleblowers who accused the department of veterans affairs of retaliating against them for exposing poor medical care testify tuesday night on capitol hill. that hearing is next on c-span. on this morning's "washington journal," we will look at border security and the inflicts of immigrants across the u.s. border -- influx of immigrants across the u.s. border. now, the house veterans affairs committee investigates the increasing number of whistleblower complaints coming from employees at v.a. centers across the country. we will hear from whistleblowers from the phoenix, st. louis, and los angeles v.a. centers. congressman jeff miller chairs the committee. in audible conversations
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[inaudible conversations] this hearing will come to order. welcome everybody to tonight. titled dea whistleblowers exposing an adequate service provided to veterans and ensuring appropriate accountability. i would also like to ask unanimous consent that the representative tom price from the great state of georgia be allowed to join us and participate in tonight's hearing. without objection, so ordered. i think i heard an objection. tonight we will hear from a representative sample of the hundreds of whistleblowers that have contacted our committee seeking to change the va to improve patient safety and better serve the veterans who have served our great nation. we also hear from the office of
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the special counsel regarding its work protecting the whistleblowers and the vital information that they provide. the representatives will also be here to answer for the departments reprice holes against whistleblowers and its continuing failure to abide by its legal obligation to protect employee rights and report waste, fraud and abuse and mismanagement to the inspector general, to the council, to the congress and to this committee. it's important to emphasize the scandal regarding the data manipulation of the scheduling did not spring forward out of thin air at the department of veterans affairs. deceptive performance measures that serve as window dressing for automatic bonuses have been part of the organizational cesspool at the department for many years. instead of being a customer driven department, the focus
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instead has been on serving the interest of the senior managers in charge. the manipulation of the data to gain the performance goal is a widespread cancer in the va. we have often heard the va is a data rich environment, but when it is exposed as a visible trouble to manipulation come it cannot be the date of the distrusted. until recently the va would continue to try the patient satisfaction exceeds the private sector. that may be true at a few select centers however as our colleague demonstrated through the local polling such results have been overgeneralized. moreover in the course of the committee we have held a series of hearings showing a pattern of preventable patient deaths across the country from pittsburgh to augusta to columbia and phoenix.
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the satisfaction results are refuted by piece tragi these trs and every one of these locations whistleblowers played a vital role in exposing the patient deaths at the department. they serve that the central function of providing a reality check on what is actually going on at the department. at a great risk to themselves and their families they dare to speak truth to power. the system is designed to crush the dissent and altered the fruit. tonight we are fortunate to have three distinguished positions testify with regards to their experiences in the va. we will also hear from a conscientious program manager in the va national health eligibility center who will show that the disease of the data manipulation may have spread to the initial eligibility determination for the medical benefits. none of these whistleblowers
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lost sight of the essential mission of the va, the mission to serve veterans. they understand that people are not inputs and outputs on a central office spreadsheet. they understand metrics and measurements mean nothing without personal responsibility. unlike the supervisors, they have put the interest of the veterans before their own interest. unfortunately, what all of these whistleblowers also have in common is the fear of reappraisal by the department. they will speak of the different tablet three tactics used to keep the employees in line rather than pushing them out it is time that the va -open-brace the integrity and accomplish the promise of providing high-quality healthcare to america's veterans. in order to make sure there is follow-through in the va, i've asked my staff to develop legislation to improve
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whistleblower protections for the va employees and i invite all of the members of the committee to work with us towards the end. wait for that i now yield to my good friend and a ranking member for any opening remarks that he may have. >> this committee has held many hearings over the last year on problems with access to the va health care. at each of the hearing's problems were disclosed and that the va promised to improve, but little has changed. the va is widely known to have a culture of denying problems, not listening to feedback. be it from congress, veterans with its own employees. the department of the administration has had the reputation as being intolerant of whistleblowers. so far this fiscal year nearly half of the matter is
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transmitted to agency heads by the office of special counsel and several involve the va. according to the osc, it currently has 67 active investigations in return for a complaint from the va employees and has the cases from the va employees as of june 12014. a recent "new york times" article stated that within the va. they recently stated that he was the way disappointed not only in the substantiation of the allegation by the whistleblowe whistleblowers, but also in the failure within the department to take the whistleblower complaints seriously. the problem of the intimidation
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and retaliation may be magnified by what some consider a protected culture of the medical profession. it is often thought to be against the code to point out colleagues mistakes or where a nurse is told that it is not appropriate to question a physician or a surgeon. the natural tendency is to close the ranks where the mistakes were made. after we listened to the testimony from the whistleblowers. we worked to address those problems. changing the culture is not easy and it cannot be done
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legislatively permit additional resources at it. real solutions are hard to find. it is clear that they are structured and are incapable of making changes in the culture. i noted that acting secretary gibson announced today that it has taken steps to restructure the office of the instructor by creating a strong internal audit function which will ensure quality care patient safety remains at the forefront. this raises a additional questions on how they will be better enabled to undertake investigations resulting from whistleblower complaints forward by the osc or how it would also have the authority to ensure that medical actions will be taken to the appropriate
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components of the va. time and time again as the june letter demonstrates, the va found faults but determined they didn't affect the health and safety of veterans. anyone reading the specifics of any of the cases would find that this conclusion as it is stated to be a serious disservice to the veterans have received inadequate patient care for years. i agree that june 23 letter quotes that this has prevented them from a comforting the severity of the systematic problems and from taking the necessary steps to provide quality care to veterans. and of quote. we all seem to have some goals this evening. we all want the va and we used to feel comfortable raising problems and having them addressed without the fear that
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raising their voices would mean the end of their career. the va stated that it wants to make fundamental changes in the cultures of the workforce intimidation and retaliation is unacceptable. talk is cheap and change is difficult. i would propose the first order of business is to take accountability seriously. if any employee is a show to have intimidated or retaliated against another va employee, then that employee should be fired. the va should have zero tolerance of policies that would harm whistleblowers and in committee at whistleblowers or retaliate against whistleblowe whistleblowers. as i see it, effective leadership and accountability is the only way to begin the process of institutional changes. and i hope tonight is the beginning of that change. with that mr. chairman and i yield back the balance of my
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time. >> thank you and i would ask that all members would wave their opening statement as it is the custom of the committee. thanks to the witnesses that are here at the witness table tonight. our first panel that we are going to hear from his doctor matthews the former chief psychiatry at the st. louis va healthcare system. the associate director chief of staff o legal and quality assurance for the greater los angeles va healthcare system. doctor katherine mitchell medical director for the iraq and afghanistan post-deployment center at the phoenix va healthcare system and at this time i would like to introduce the colleague doctor price to briefly introduce his constituents that will be the fourth witness on the panel this evening. >> i want to thank you and the ranking member for allowing me to offer this introduction. this is a remarkably important topic and i commend the committee for the work that you have done.
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i worked at the va hospital for a number of years during my training and they know how important it is to have honest and real information for our veterans to honor the service which is why we were pleased to welcome mr. scott davis will be on the panel. his father served in the vietnam. mr. davis is a specialist at the national health eligibility center in atlanta and he' he has been in contact with my office outlining his concerns and he has come forward with those that he has been a courageous manner. i have no doubt his testimony will shine a light on the situation. we must know the facts on the ground. i welcome mr. davis and thank you for allowing me to join this introduction. >> we appreciate you joining this evening and i would ask the us is if you would please rise,
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raise your right hand. hand. do you swear under penalty or perjury the testimony you are about to provide is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? please be seated. all of your statements will be entered in the record. you are now recognized for five minutes. >> chair man and distinguished members of the kennedy i am honored to appear before you today to speak about my experiences serving in the capacity as the chief of psychiatry for the department of veterans affairs in st. louis missouri and the capacity of the detail when i was removed from the position. i want to very briefly outlined the goal i had when i took the position as the chief of psychiatry leaving my full-time faculty position at the university. i had simply wanted to create the very best care possible with
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the resources that i have added very soon i realized that the metrics i had that they were putting out was not reflecting what i was actually seeing. i made the point that i would review every complaint and the majority of the complaints that i have had to do with their inability to obtain care at a reasonable time. the long wait times having difficulty even contacting the clinic to schedule an appointment. so i started out with a simple question as to how busy are we really at the outpatient clinic. and the answer that i got was not very good. i got the answer and they verified that the psychiatrists were spending approximately 3.5 hours into patient care i couldn't account for the rest of their time. i put this transparently as a
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prospective data where anyone could challenge me and ask me questions whether that was accurate or not and i didn't get one valid question. so i knew that it was accurate and i discussed this with the chief of staff and i wanted to change this. there were two things i wanted it changed. one is that the veteran had easy access to care, timely access to care and the second was that no veteran but he turned t would bf they came into the clinic. i had a very sad and complaint the disabled veteran that had requested his friend to drive because he doesn't drive. he drove approximately an hour and i have to com a half to comc and he had to requests. he wanted to see his provider because he wasn't doing well and he wanted his medications refilled. unfortunately he had neither of those requests met and was sent away with another appointment 48
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days later and his medications were not retold and just before the meeting i checked and that veteran unfortunately hasn't come back to the clinic since last may and his description of that includes how disappointed and how upsetting the va was for not providing care so that was the context of how i started out. i discovered that the time wasn't being utilized properly and that there were a long wait times and the metric that is important especially in mental health is engagement in care where the dropout rate and what i found is that there were 60% of the veterans that were not coming back for their visits in the outpatient setting so there was a 60% attrition rate so there were only four pieces of information that i needed to provide good care. one was the weakest time and the second was the utilization of
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the expertise or what amount of time does the physician actually expand the indirect patient care and there was the retention of the care how many veterans actually follow up with care or drop out of care. it'if the veteran satisfaction h care like a chair man miller talked about these surveys must be incomplete and may not be in the spaces. i wanted it to be a complete set so i talked to those i knew from washington university and they pledged $60,000 over two years to institute a satisfaction survey so i had the contract with the education contractor and i want people in and dialed questioners and my intent is that while the veteran is waiting in the waiting area to be seen what would be able to complete the questionnaire using touchscreens which would be automatically compiled and i
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would have the information on whether a particular clinic or health care professional i need to focus on so this last bit was very concerning to the staff and shortly after i made the disclosure including the avoidable death i wanted the analysis on and the impatient suicidsuicide attempts while the commission was reviewing the hospital that was completely covered up and i did not go along with that so very shortly i was pu putting detailed and ws told there would be an administrative investigation and that i was put in the attention he valuations. i took this job also dealing with veterans. i tried to complain and while they were processing my complaints, i took this very seriously to evaluate the veterans whether they had a compensable mental disorder related to this service.
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in many instances the veteran was and her properly and i had doubts whether the prior evaluation report was the same veteran or not and this was a serious concern so i started to look at their ideas again to make sure that this wasn't some other person. and the problem was that the veterans did not have enough time to explain the situation. it was a conveyor belt system where i was specifically told i was spending too much time with the veterans and i should hurry up and see the veteran and check a few boxes because it is meant for someone to raid the disability but that wasn't how i saw my job and that isn't the right way to do it. these are disability valuations and you have to make sure they are stored properly third is to
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make sure my report reflects the inconsistencies so they can determine how i made my decision. there were a few errors that were there and that really bothered me. i wrote to the chief of the primary care recently about these examples about why this was unfair and how it affected the life of the veteran and just two weeks ago in june i detailed out to another place, so from my perspective i believe that the veteran's interests first and i have disclosed the wrongdoings
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that i found promptly to the chief of staff and the chief of mental health with expectations that they would address it and what i found is that nothing is really changed. two weeks ago via response to my finding about these evaluations that were not done properly was to detail elsewhere. this seems to be an ongoing practice. when it is detailed i don't have any responsibility of the chief of psychiatry and that is the responsibility that i accepted. the two people that i had worked hard to recruit one was trained at hopkins and the other at harvard and they both declined to join the va. there is a sense of a mission that is lacking and i hope this
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committee with its covers what h take aggressive action to make sure this retaliation stops and that people responsible are held accountable because with it being so unbelievable it is really important that while we work on the data to make sure that it reflects is important that people step forward and are then able to speak the truth and then talk about what's happening at the patient interaction level and i think that -- i'm hoping the committee would do that and i am really honored that i have this opportunity to be able to answer questions and then to be here. >> we will have an opportunity to ask questions and get into the specifics. next i would like to recognize the doctor for five minutes.
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>> thank you for inviting me to testify today. i am honored and i think it is a very important topic. we shouldn't lose focus of that. i am very proud of my position and i can think of can't thinkr job in serving our veterans. that retaliation is alive and well across the country. especially with the va administration. my first encounter with a number of years ago. by the inspector general to investigate time fraud in my area. i was among the 30 individuals that gave testimony. i gave honest and true testimony ended during the testimony i feared retaliation and i outlined how i felt they would retaliate against me. every aspect came true. the person that did the deposition was an inspector
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solomon from the inspector general's office and she promised i would be protected in the state and federal governme government. three months after they came out with the final results, one of the individuals paid back a year salary to the federal government and resigned. another individual who they recommended immediate termination was allowed to stay under the supervisory role. there was an end-of-the-year party because we were affiliated with the university that was nearby and at that party, this slide was shown. that actually is me. i was younger back then and i had hair. i am flipping the bird and i said if all else fails. with 300 individuals i was labeled a rat. i was labeled the person that drafted out this person. the slide that follows this is
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so heinous i can't even show or discuss it today. i could discuss it under a subpoena. the person is still in the supervisory role at the va. no apology, nothing. i somehow survived that. the retaliation. the problem they have is the va and the veterans deserve better than matter what happens to me to focus should be on the veterans of the country. i somehow survived that process. and again i was retaliated when i gave my opinion on the investigation of the physician that was wrongly terminated. i was asked to change my testimony and i stopped getting
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paid for two weeks. i didn't lose my house, but the harm that it causes the family members of federal workers who are being retaliated against cannot be measured. two young girls i would be proud if they decided to join the armed forces or work for the va. i think the va has the potential to be one of the finest institutions in the world. we have seen certain aspects of pharmacy cannot be matched. it's one of the best in the world. a very efficient. but there are those that are efficient within the system. but what we should ask of assaults when someone came up with the idea of seeing a veteran in 14 days, that was actually it sounded like a good idea. they would be seen promptly.
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what we should be questioning is if we made a mistake that somehow overloaded the system, how come people's names disappear off the list's how come hundreds of thousands of veterans electronically no longer existed? that should be the question. retaliation exists because there is a culture. the culture of the retaliation is that the cancer or the veteran administration. most physicians and nurses and people working in the hospital are disgusted. people care. some of the testimony that he we heard from the phoenix va with a wrenching. i couldn't sleep. and i believe there's a lot of people in the system that feel the same way. but there is a cancer in the
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leadership. a few individuals that perpetuate this idea that we should be silent. that we shouldn't stand up and tell them to do the right thing and be honest. everyone makes mistakes. but when you make a mistake and try to conceal it, that is the question that we should be asking. who are these individuals that would alter the data and hide the truth and to prevent the patient care? ..
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>> it's always the same. they isolate and usually transferred to another position. why? because they are slowly building a case to say that you are crazy. they you are not being truthful. and i apologize for running over. i would hope that i have given -- 270se to 176 pages six pages, i think, of evidence. a number of other statements and individuals that would be helpful trying to improve the system. i would hope, especially the press, i challenge you to be a real


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