|New American Strategies
for Security and Peace
Richard Holbrooke, Joseph C. Wilson, Flynt Leverett, Jessica
Stern, Major General William L. Nash, USA (Ret.)
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I congratulate everyone involved, The American Prospect
Magazine, which is a wonderful magazine; Dick Leone
and The Century Foundation; and the Center for American
Progress. I’m particularly impressed by what John
Podesta and the Center for American Progress are doing.
Before I talk about the subject of the panel, I want
to say one simple thing. Ideas matter. Ideas matter.
And in the old cliché, you can’t be somebody
You have to have an idea. And even if the something’s
a bad idea, you need something to counter it. The Democrats
were the party of ideas. The Republicans understood
this and for the last 30 years they have relentlessly
used 501(c)3 organizations to put forward a biased analysis.
Our problems, as progressives or liberals, I prefer
the word “liberals”, frankly… [CLAPPING].
I’m a liberal and I’m proud of it. And I’m
glad Ted is clapping because President Kennedy defined
it best. If liberal means A, B, C, D, then I’m
a liberal. And if we call ourselves progressives, then
the Republicans and the right wing will still call us
liberals and define it for us.
So I prefer the Kennedy-Sorensen approach to the word.
Besides which my parents voted for Wallace in 1948 --
I mean, the real Wallace, Henry A. Wallace. And I asked
them. They were both refuges from communism and Hitler.
And I said, “Why did you vote for Wallace? He
was a Moscow stooge.”
And they said they just didn’t know. So that
was my first introduction. Well, they were new —
they were new Americans and he’d been FDR’s
Vice President. Anyway, I’m a liberal and I think
we need new ideas for liberals. And this is why I think
what John Podesta and his colleagues have done is historically
Now this panel is supposed to talk about peace-keeping
and nation-building. So let us begin with an advisory
warning. Since these words are outlawed by the current
administration, we have to warn everybody in the room
that the language in this panel may offend some people.
You should leave now because we’re going to
talk about these terrible things, nation-building, peace-keeping,
post-conflict resolution. Since I must leave early,
and I apologize for that, I want to make a few observations
on the subject and introduce this great panel, which
Richard and Bob Kuttner and John Podesta assembled.
Peace-keeping, nation-building, post-conflict reconstruction.
Call it whatever you want. It is an integral and essential
part of American foreign policy and has been for 70
years or more. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we failed.
But the goal is correct.
It has been associated overwhelmingly with Democratic
administration. Sometimes for good and sometimes tragically
-- in Vietnam where the intent was good, the execution
mishandled, the outcome catastrophic for the nation
and for our party not so good. But it represents an
important part of American foreign policy.
In the 2000 election Governor Bush attacked the Clinton
administration and Vice President Gore directly for
these actions, specifically discussing Bosnia and Kosovo.
Wes Clark already talked about Kosovo. He and I were
shot at together trying to get in Sarajevo.
We lost three of our negotiating team in that terrible
first attempt to get into Sarajevo. He was my military
assistant advisor for a long time. He’s a wonderful
man, and what he said I fully agree with. But Governor
Bush attacked us. He said inaccurately that he would
not have soldiers of the 82nd Airborne accompany school
children to classes, which they don’t do.
He mocked our efforts. Well, today, just short of
eight years after the Dayton Peace Agreement, whose
anniversary is November 21st, Bosnia is at peace. We
achieved our strategic objectives. The American troop
commitment went from 20,000 on Day One down to 12,000
The NATO commitment from 60,000 overall, including
Russians and Ukrainians, the very kind of multi-national
coalition which everyone here is calling for, down to
about 12,000 today, and the total amount of casualties,
as pointed out in the current issue of Newsweek on the
$87 billion mess in Iraq, the total number of western
American NATO overall casualties since Dayton is zero.
Zero killed and wounded. And in Kosovo, in the four
years since the end of that war, zero. And we have achieved
our objective in Bosnia. The country’s at peace.
Going a little more slowly than I would have liked.
It’s still a cesspool of corruption. The central
government isn’t strong enough.
NATO has completely failed to capture Corrada Chimalatage
(ph.), which is a massive failure. And there are many
other problems. But we achieved our objective at acceptable
Annual costs, which you and I and others agonized
about, amount to about one week of our current costs
in Iraq. One week. And that was at the height of the
involvement. It’s now a fraction of that. That
is nation-building and peace-keeping. It ain’t
perfect, but it worked.
And imagined if it hadn’t worked. Bosnia would,
today, be an Al Qaeda center in the middle of Europe,
a failed state and a holocaust genocide of historic
proportions. And, yet, we were attacked and criticized
for it. And when this administration took office two
and a half years ago, they said that they would be the
anti-Balkans in every way.
And, in fact, the Secretary of Defense tried to pull
the troops out immediately. Now there are five relevant
examples that we need to discuss today, plus some other
things which at least one member of the panel is going
to talk about. The five are Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor,
Afghanistan and Iraq.
Those are the important peace-keeping experiences
of the last decade, the period dating from 1995. The
period preceding that has three tragic examples of failures.
Bosnia itself in the U.N. period stretching over the
Bush administration and I must say in all frankness
the first two years of the administration we were associated
President Clinton himself would not disagree with
that. Rwanda, which we also must recognize as a very
sad experience, and we must learn from it and acknowledge
that it was a terrible mistake. And finally Somalia,
an inherited problem from the Bush administration which
blew up exactly 10 years ago last week in Mogadishu.
But leaving those three aside, Bosnia, Rwanda and
Somalia, let’s look at the other five very quickly.
Bosnia was a success because we engaged, we stood up,
we talked about nation-building. We didn’t run
away from it. We spent money and we internationalized
And Bosnia is now a sovereign state with international
support under U.N. approval, but not directly under
the U.N. We never put Bosnia under the U.N. in the Dayton
period because the U.N. had failed in the early ‘90s
and we could not let them back in. They were not respected.
So they have a minimal role, but we set up a bypass
structure. But then, and this is the key difference
when you get to the U.N., between the Clinton administration
and the current administration, even after we kept the
U.N. out of Dayton, even after we told the U.N. that
we couldn’t use them in the process, we went back
to the Security Council and they unanimously legitimized
what was happening.
So the kind of international cover you need for a
situation like that existed from the beginning. Kosovo
is still a work in progress because the sovereignty
issue, the status issue has not been resolved. And it
is best we bypass it here because it’s not relevant
to this panel.
Nation-building isn’t happening yet in Kosovo
four years after the war for two reasons. The status
isn’t clear. Is it a nation or is a part of something
else? And this administration, combined with the European
Union, has turned its back on it and allowed it to drift.
And as it drifts, the sides (the Albanians and the
Serbs) harden. It’s entirely different from Bosnia.
And Bosnia, the new generation of Croats, Serbs and
Muslims are beginning to talk to each other again, common
language, inter-marriage, so on. But Albanians and Serbs
really hate each other.
And unless the U.S. stops its disengagement, gets
involved, the situation will get worse. It is a very
serious problem because of administration neglect. But
let’s skip over it. East Timor, a success for
the international community in both peace-making and
nation-building in — after 25 years of disaster
from August of 1999 until May of last year.
In less than three years an Australian-led military
organization, military unit with full authority to shoot
first and ask questions later, sanctioned by the U.N.,
went in, pacified half an island and then the U.N.,
under the leadership of the brilliant, great Sergio
Vero de Mills (ph.), presided over the transition of
And it was Sergio Vero de Mills’ experience
in East Timor, of course, that led him by a route he
did not personally want to take to Baghdad and his tragic
death a few weeks ago. Afghanistan and Iraq.
Afghanistan, the administration did some things right
and some things wrong. It did get U.N. approval and
it did hold a conference in Bohn after the Taliban was
disbursed from the major cities. And it created a legitimate,
internationally-recognized government under Karzai.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that they
also did the exact opposite of nation-building.
Because, again, they have contempt for the concept.
They’ve refused to let the international peace-keeping
group leave Kabul. They’ve limited them to 5,000
soldiers, put no Americans into it and turned down British,
French and German offers of support.
And built up the peace—the war lords in the
city of Kandahar (ph.) and Herrod (ph.) and Kundas (ph.)
and Mazzari (ph.) Shariff (ph.) and Jalalabad (ph.),
all the other great centers of that complicated country.
This was catastrophic. And in the last few weeks the
administration has belatedly semi-admitted it by putting
the International Security Systems Force under NATO,
which it should have done almost two years ago.
But they still are just faking it. They are undermining
their own achievement in Afghanistan. And why? Because
they resisted learning from the successes and non-successes
over Balkans and East Timor. And why did they do that?
Because, as you all know, they followed the ABC policy.
Anything but Clinton or in the kind of context ABP,
anything but Podesta. Now let’s me turn to Iraq
and then introduce the panel. Iraq does not fit this
panel. We are at war in Iraq as we speak. I do not understand
why those of you in this room, why the Democratic members
of Congress, why the Democratic candidates for the Presidency
are not simply getting up and saying the truth.
We are at war. This is a war. CNN calls it the Iraq
conflict on its screen. Let’s avoid euphemism.
Somebody should ask the President and the Secretaries
of State and Defense the simplest question. Do you think
this is a war? Every soldier knows it. People are getting
killed everyday over there, as you all know.
The attacks of the day before yesterday were particularly
extraordinary. Excuse me – yesterday -- were particularly
extraordinary because there were, for the first time
six of them. Not all the bombs went off. They were fully
coordinated. Bill Nash, my friend from the United States
Army and from Kosovo, can tell you that when six bombs
are set to go off and four do in a one hour period,
that’s called coordinated.
And the President’s extraordinary, extraordinary
statement yesterday which I believe if I understood
correctly was that the more terrorism against us the
better we’re doing (or maybe it was the better
we’re doing, the more terrorism we’re going
to have), is going to rank as one of the most extraordinary
statements made by any Commander in Chief in our lifetimes.
And sitting right next to him, my old State Department
colleague, Jerry Bremer said, and I quote -- I quote
this because it was worth writing down. Otherwise you’ll
think I made it up. “The good days outnumber the
bad days”. Right. That’s great. “All
that matters is the last day of the war.” And
this goes to the point of this panel.
You cannot do nation-building with a country at war.
It’s not possible. That the non-military part
of the $87 billion, the $13 billion in loans and grants
pledge in Madrid, a lot of which, of course, will never
be collected. But I think we should all note, as Frankie
Fitzgerald reminded me, that the Vietnamese are sending
rice in irony and the Serbs are sending a thousand soldiers
into the region because they have had a lot of experience
I’m not making this up. I was in Belgrade three
weeks ago and they explained to me how they wanted to
show the Americans how little they minded what Wes Clark
had done to them for 77 days four years ago. But we
promise that we won’t let any indicted war criminals
go to Afghanistan from Serbia.
These efforts are fine, but it doesn’t really
matter how many. It’s good to build schools. It’s
good to repair water lines. We have to do it. But it
doesn’t matter as long as you’re at war.
Those of us who lived part of our lives in Vietnam seemingly
a century ago in a distant part of the world (and I
spent three and a half years in Vietnam) can tell you
that all the efforts we made were for naught because
a few people could disrupt them.
And it doesn’t matter if the majority of the
people want stability or the majority of the people
oppose what’s happening. Until you’re at
peace, you can’t build a nation. And we are at
war, and the most alarming thing about it is that the
administration, the military do not seem to know who
is attacking us.
Is it Baathist remnants? Is it Al Qaeda? Is it infiltrators
from the neighborhood which, by the way, would mean
Saudi Arabia as well as Syria and Iran? And that would
pose different problems. Is it Shiite, xenophobic people?
The only thing that seems clear to me is this.
We. I shouldn’t say “we”. The administration
managed to do something completely legitimate. A regime
change in Iraq. And I supported them on this. I thought
if we in the Clinton administration had opposed Milosevic,
we owed it to President Bush to support a change of
regime in Baghdad because Saddam was even worse than
But because of the way it was done, the unbelievably
inefficient, ineffective, self-destructive way it was
done, we managed to overthrow an Arab who was a bad
Muslim, a heretic in the eyes of Bin Laden or the Wahabities
(ph.) or other deeply religious Muslims. We managed
to overthrow a bad Muslim Arab and turn a growing majority
of the Muslim world against us.
And to what’s emerging is a kind of a jihad.
Even in countries like Indonesia. The epitome of modern
Islam in all the years I’ve been going there is
now rising so that as Clyde Prestowitz mentioned earlier,
President Bush had to spend only two hours in the country
and go to the only Indo—part of Indonesia.
So we are facing a rising tide of problems. Finally,
then, we need to ask this administration very, very
bluntly what do they think is going on. Does the President
believe what he said yesterday or, like Rumsfeld, does
he have a set of secret memos telling us what he really
thinks to be made public later?
Do they understand what’s going on? I don’t
know. I haven’t been in Iraq yet, but I do want
to make clear before we go on to the panel that we’re
talking about peace-keeping, nation-building, a proud
part of what the Democrats should stand for and always
have. And Iraq, at this point, is something quite, quite
Let me now turn to the panel and introduce this very
extraordinary panel and, since I will have to leave
early, also ask my old colleague and friend, Gayle Smith,
who worked in the National Security Council on African
Affairs to take over for me when I have to leave.
Our panel in the order they will speak are Joe Wilson,
— the Manager of J.C. Wilson International Ventures,
a consulting firm specializing in strategic management,
international business development and destroying the
Bush administration single-handedly. [CLAPPING] Anything
else you want to know about Joe? He’s such a quiet,
modest, typical FSO.
Jessica Stern. Her recent book, “Terror in the
Name of God: Why Are Religious Militants Killed”
is an extraordinary book. Jessica gets into the minds
of the terrorists. Her subject really isn’t directly
related to the panel, so rather than talk about peace-keeping
I suggested to Jessica she just tell us as succinctly
as she can what she understands about terrorists.
The people we’re fighting in Iraq may use terror
tactics, but that’s not terrorism in the sense
of 9/11. It’s something else. And I think Jessica
has very important things to say. She worked on President
Clinton’s National Security Staff and was something,
believe it or not, at the Council of Foreign Relations
called the “Super-Terrorism Fellow”. Super-Terrorism.
And, as you all know, was played by Nicole Kidman in
Flynt Leverett is a visiting fellow with the Brookings
Institutions Savan (ph.) Center. And he also worked
at the National Security Council in the second Clinton
And since I wanted to say something at least mildly
funny about everybody here, I asked his wife, Hillary
Mann, who worked for me at the U.N., a wonderful foreign
service officer, if she could tell me anything really
funny about him. And she said, and I quote, “He
is the author of the failed Mid-East roadmap”.
That must be a terrific marriage. Where are you Hillary?
Okay, finally, Bill Nash. Bill Nash was a two-star
general when I first met him, commanding -- was it the
First Armor Division, Bill? First Army at Fort Hood.
And we were in the middle of the Dayton Peace Negotiations
and we wanted to really impress Milosevic, Tuchman (ph.)
and Isovegavich (ph.) about the troops we were going
to send in.
And it was one thing for Wes Clark and me to say we’re
sending in troops, but I wanted somebody who really
would scare the bejeezus out of them. So we called up
the command. I think Wes made the call because I didn’t
know Bill. And a few days later in comes this guy with
every medal you’ve ever seen, smoking a cigar
in his combat boots, chomping, chomping away.
And we introduced him to these guys. We said to Milosevic,
Tuchman and Isovegavich, “After we’re finished,
he is going to lead the American division that’s
going to come into the American sector”. We got
a peace within a few hours. Bill is a terrific guy.
He has served with great distinction in the U.S. Army.
I next saw him in Mitrovitza (ph.) in civilian clothes.
Mitrovitza is easily the ugliest, most dangerous city
in Europe. And it is one nasty place. Half Serb, half
Albanian. Still a place where I guarantee you if the
American troops, the NATO troops left, there would be
a genocide within hours.
And Bill was there to try to get it under control.
He did a great job working for the U.N. He’s now
the John Vessee (ph.) Senior Fellow at the Council on
Foreign Relations Center for Preventive Action. So that’s
our great panel. I thank you all for coming and I’m
going to ask Joe Wilson to speak first. Thank you. [CLAPPING]
JOSEPH C. WILSON
Thank you. Thank you, Dick, very much. I appreciate
that introduction. When I wrote my modest little piece
in July that was entitled “I Remind You What I
Did Not Find in Africa”, I had little idea that
it was going to be anything more than a two day story
until I heard from a Republican who called me up and
said, “Thank you very much”.
“You’ve given us the ammunition we need
to begin to roll back from the (inaudible) conservative
(inaudible).” And then I heard from a Democrat
who no doubt out of deference to my years experience
in Africa, called me up and said, “Congratulations.
You’re the baboon who threw the terd that finally
hit the target and stuck”.
That’s when I had an idea we were onto something.
I want to thank you, John and Bob and Century Foundation
for doing this. Somebody said this was the best thing
to happen to foreign policy deliberations in the last
50 years. I’m a little older than 50 years, but
I can’t say that.
What I can say is this chair beats the Southern Baptist
Convention -- which I haven’t been invited to
for a repeat. There are three great debates that I’m
part of in this town right now. One is how’d we
get in this mess. Second one is how do we get out of
this mess. And the third one is who decided that their
political agenda was more important than the national
security of our country and decided that as a consequence
they would leak the name of a national security asset
to the press.
Now all three are characterized by lies, misstatements
of material fact and really incredibly poor judgment.
The third one I’ll take up first. The first one
I won’t take up at all, but the third one I just
want everybody to know that my wife, whose name was
the one that was leaked to the press, is doing very
well thank you.
Her culture and her people have embraced her. And
she’s still serving our country and doing what
she swore to do not quite three decades ago, but a long
time ago, to defend the Constitution of the United States.
That said, whoever it was who decided their political
agenda was more important than everything that she represents
in terms of national security, is still apparently alive
and well and ready to leak again in the White House.
So I must say I am absolutely appalled at the apparent
nonchalance with which the President of the United States
addressed this issue. I was just in Los Angeles the
other day and I urged some of my friends out there that
they ought to talk to their friends back here and see
if we can’t get “No Way Out”, the
film with Kevin Costner, looped on one of these movie
channels for a few weeks so people can understand what
it really does mean when national security assets are
leaked into the public.
The second debate, the how do we get out of this mess,
is the one I think we’re all here to talk about
today. And I’m delighted to do that. I was not
a big fan of the invasion conquest, occupation high
risk, low reward scenario that this administration adopted.
I thought we could do regime change somewhat differently.
As it turns out, we had infiltrated the military well
before. If you go back and you take a look at Colin
Powell’s speech and the President’s State
of the Union Address, we had significantly disrupted
the weapons of mass destruction programs. And the question
really was why did we have to go in in order to achieve
our objective when a little bit of patience, a certain
amount of tenacity and a willingness to use many of
the other tools in our arsenal might have yielded the
desired result and kept intact some of the infrastructure
that we needed in order to begin to rebuild.
Instead, we decided we would go in and occupy Iraq.
And in so doing, we failed even those lessons we failed
to learn and internalize those lessons we had learned
in Afghanistan, much less what we had learned in Bosnia
when we did that. And I was a political advisor to George
Jawin (ph.) when we did that one.
But in Afghanistan we did, at a minimum, have a fair
amount of international cooperation going in. We had
an objective. We had defined the objective in ways that
the international community could understand and have
some sympathy and support for in the aftermath of 9/11.
But we gave it up. We basically decided that going
in and cracking a (unintelligible) bunch of china was
really all we needed to do. And we let the wussy Europeans
handle the really tough tasks of nation-building because
we don’t do that. And at that time I thought,
“Well, we’ve got really two schools of thought
here in the Administration”, one I call the whack-a-moles,
which are the guys who see a threat out there and go
out and whack it, come home and wait for the threat
And if they have to, they go out and whack it again.
Those are the ones who eschew nation-building. And the
other one I call the “(inaudible) pith helmet
crowd”. And that’s taken from a Max Boot
article which—about Afghanistan in which he waxes
nostalgic about the 19th century British Empire with
British imperialists striding across their empire in
And for me that was a classic way to describe these
new conservatives who are bound and determined to have
a certain (inaudible) head over there as opposed to
over here. The more I look at this, however, it seems
to me there really is just one school out there, and
that’s the whack-a-moles.
And there may be a couple of (inaudible) pith helmet
guys, notably the President who continues to talk about
Iraq and Afghanistan being beacons of democracy for
that part of the world upon which we can kind of build
the concepts that we hold dear.
But if you take a look at it, and Afghanistan’s
a good example, Iraq is an even better example and I’m
prepared to put the assets to it. And, in fact, with
respect to Iraq, it seems to me that (unintelligible)
could be excused if he actually concluded by the bad
reconstruction effort that Balkanization of Iraq is
an acceptable outcome, which, of course, is the antithesis
of what the President articulated in his speech at the
American Enterprise Institute and in subsequent statements.
So I argue that, in fact, the President who gets his
advice and his information only from his advisors, he
said that on (unintelligible) the other night, deserves,
and we certainly as a country deserve, for him to have
the best advice possible. And with respect to Iraq,
which I know far better than Afghanistan, it seems to
me that we need to do a number of things in addition
to winning the war, beating the insurgency that’s
reared its ugly head.
Notably just in the last couple of days beginning
to hit the soft targets which really undermine our ability
to do nation-building type activities. And I think fundamentally
we need to do a couple things. One, we need to internationalize
this about as quickly as possible.
Not because it means that we have less responsibility
or less obligations, but because at the end of the day
we really do need to make an attempt to get the Iraqis
to understand that this is a global effort to help them
in their hour of need after 35 years of Baathist rule,
three wars, and shock and awe.
And it’s not enough to have the U.N. flag (although,
I think the U.N. flag is necessary), but it’s
important to have a lot of different flags. The U.N.
is seen in Iraq as an agent of the west, the implementer
of the sanctions regime. So it’s not enough just
to have that.
In addition to which we obviously have to Iraqi-ize
it as quickly as possible. And all of this means that
you have to have a different configuration of troops
and a different troop strength. And Bill can talk a
little bit about this.
But we need to be focusing on trying to get the Iraqis
to understand that their future can be brighter than
their past was, and get them to look upwards and outwards
rather than downwards and inwards and reverting to the
traditional family clan and tribal mechanism of self-defense
in times of hostile occupation or hostile action against
their core interests.
Now I happen to believe that the hundred day window
that the people went out there several months ago is
almost closed. And, you know, you really very rarely
get a second chance to make a good first impression,
unless you’re Muhammad Ali or Andre Agassi. And
then it takes two decades and we don’t have two
So we need to work on this quickly. And it deals with
providing public safety, providing basic human needs,
support, and providing services. You cannot do this
the way this thing is structured now. And I’ll
close on this. When we did Bosnia, one of the things
that when we briefed the operation, George Jawin had
two slides in his slide show.
One had big “M”, little “c”
and one had “C”, little “m”.
And what he meant by that is when you go into an unstable
situation, you have to go in with a big military presence
and the military has to take on not just the task of
stabilizing and securing the situation, but it also
has to take on some of the requirements of satisfying
the needs of the population in unstable times.
As the situation becomes stable, then you can begin
to hand off to the civilian component those tasks for
which the civilian organizations are better suited to
accomplish and which are really peripheral to the core
military tasks. And in so doing, you can grow the seed.
And as the security situation stabilizes, you can
reduce the “M”, the military part of that.
That hasn’t been done here in Iraq at all, as
far as I can tell. As far as I can tell, there’s
been a contract let to a major contractor and sublet
down to subcontractors, all of whom are expected to
provide their own security, their own logistic support
and give the contractors a performance bond to insure
that they will execute the tasks that they are asked
In a security situation such as Iraq, you cannot do
that. The military has got to be able to provide the
security and provide the public safety if we ever hope
to create a situation in which the Iraqi population,
particularly in the metropolitan areas, are beginning
to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Now I’ve argued and before I got blown out of
the water on this other issue, I argued that if you
internationalize this, one of the things that you need
to do is you need to look at this pretty much as a business
venture. And, of course, this is a business administration;
therefore, they might understand this.
Might. But when you have a vision, as the President
has articulated, and it is clear that you’re failing
in achieving that vision, and as a consequence you go
to outside equity partners to seek additional financing
and support in order to achieve that vision, there are
a number of things that you have to do.
You generally have to give up seats on the board,
you have to give up staff and line positions, and you
have to harmonize your vision to the vision of those
outside equity investors. So if we really hope to succeed
in this, it seems to me the President of the United
States would be well advised to begin making those changes
necessary so as to be able to persuade the outside equity
investors that this is a going concern and that they’re
giving them some confidence that we all share the same
Because at the end of the day… I go back to
what I said earlier. The reconstruction has gone so
badly so far that there is legitimate reason, for objective,
outside observers, to conclude that failure (and by
failure, failure to achieve the President’s vision,
failure meaning essentially the Balkanization of Iraq),
could be an acceptable outcome to those who have so
badly managed the reconstruction.
So that would be step number one. I’ll leave
it there. Thank you. [CLAPPING]
FS: It may well be that we are at war in Iraq as Investor
Holbrooke has said, but many of the soldiers that we
are fighting there are not necessarily attached to a
state but to an idea, the idea that globalization and
U.S. (inaudible) is deeply humiliating to Muslims.
And that the best way to address that humiliation
and to find a new identity is to pick up a gun. As soon
as the war in Iraq became imminent, antipathy to the
United States increased dramatically in much of the
Islamic world according to (unintelligible). And the
Al Qaeda movement began to use the war as a rallying
cry to attract recruits.
Intelligence agencies throughout the world reported
that recruitment to the AL Qaeda movement was up and
that the new recruits were often younger with a more
menacing attitude. There were more converts and more
of them were women, the women for the most part recruited
for logistics roles.
To fight this terrorism successfully… And I
am focusing on the terrorist aspect, the Jihadists that
are coming into Iraq as opposed to the national liberation
kind of war that is also going on. To fight this terrorism
successfully we need to understand its appeal.
Terrorists exploit vulnerabilities at various levels.
At the global level they exploit open borders, ease
of travel, ease of moving money and value. They use
the internet to recruit to spread their message, to
raise money. They ask for checks to be sent to their
They sell posters of (inaudible), key chains to help
generate support, but also raise money. And they also
run businesses on the internet that actually have nothing
to do with terrorism or their purported missions just
as a way to raise money. At the level of states, terrorists
exploit festering conflicts.
They exploit deep frustration with corrupt autocratic
regimes, especially in the Islamic world, and a tendency
to blame the U.S. for supporting them. Weak states are,
perhaps, the most important risk factor, the most important
vulnerability that terrorists exploit.
Terrorists often step in where the state fails. They
provide hospitals, schools, after-school programs, often
through social welfare organizations affiliated with
the groups. And some of the social welfare that they
provide is quite legitimate, but it feeds, in fact,
most, but it feeds directly into the military wing of
Many of the extremist religious seminaries funded
by Saudi charities in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and,
to some extent, Indonesia are becoming factories for
Jihad, creating cannon fodder. Poverty plays a role
here. Poverty is clearly not a root cause of terrorism.
If it were, we’d see a lot more terrorism in
poor countries. But terrorists are able to exploit the
poor. They take advantage of the poor and they take
advantage, for example, of the poorest of the poor who
end up at these extremist (inaudible) that function
At the personal level I think the most important vulnerability
that terrorists exploit is a sense of confused identity
and humiliation. And that applies to all of the religious
terrorists that I’ve been interviewing over the
last five years, not just the Islamist ones.
They try to provide, and often do provide, a sense
of collective identity to those who feel this humiliation.
And remember, humiliation is a feeling. It isn’t
necessarily easy for outsiders to understand. I have
a very famous colleague who likes to say that I have
Prozac approach to terrorism because I focus so much
And I’d just like to tell you that you really
don’t have to take my word for this. You can go
look at the writings of Zawaheri (ph.) and you will
see that he talks about humiliation and that the way
to find a new identity, to become dignified is by participating
in a Jihad.
And by Jihad he means holy war, a violent, holy war.
This is why our continuing problems are so counter-productive
to the war on terrorism. Baghdad is a very important
city in Islam. Its occupation by U.S. troops and tanks
is deeply humiliating. And in the words of a Saudi dissident
who has now been quoted extensively in the press, “It
is a gift to Bin Laden and the Al Qaeda movement.”
One thing I’ve discovered as a result of my
interviews with terrorists over the last five years
is that they start out, or they may start out in any
case, truly believing in a mission. But then overtime
the mission becomes significantly less important as
a motivation for them, and it becomes more of a marketing
It’s a way to attract money, support and recruits.
Over time the mission will change for the truly professional
terrorist organization such as the Al Qaeda movement.
Yesterday Al Qaeda’s mission was the force U.S.
troops out of Saudi Arabia. Today the mission is attempting
to force the U.S. out of Iraq.
Tomorrow it’ll probably be fighting the globalization
and its enemies in other venues. What can we do about
this? We cannot change the terrorists’ minds.
That’s very unlikely. Terrorists become, they
tell me, addicted to a life of holy war. That is a word
that has come up many times in my interviews indeed.
One of my interviewees said that he was addicted to
jihad as I am to writing, which I think was his attempt
to humiliate me. It’s very important that we focus
on the potential support base of terrorist movements.
The level of antipathy toward the United States, as
I said earlier, has gone up so high that it alone is
a major security threat.
Terrorists always require support in the broader population,
and that is why this is so dangerous. We need to focus
on failed states not as humanitarian missions, but as
national security threats. Addressing weak and failing
states needs to be a part of our national security agenda.
We should seriously consider competing with the terrorists
in providing social welfare in states that are unable
to keep up with the terrorists in that regard. We should
be sending in doctors and medicine. There should be
visible evidence of our involvement.
We should remove protectionist policies that keep
Pakistanis, for example, in poverty because they are
likely to become ready recruits if things get desperate
enough for them. And I will stop there. Thank you.
MS: Thank you. As Ambassador Holbrooke alluded to
in his description of my role in the authorship of the
tragic comic masterpiece known as the Roadmap, I have
had the experience of working for the Bush Administration,
and I suspect there are relatively few of us in this
room who can say that.
During the two and a half years that I worked for
the Bush Administration, as during the years of government
service that preceded that, I was a non-partisan civil
servant. But in a spirit of truth in advertising, I
should also say that, again I think unlike most people
in this room, I voted for the President and I very much
wanted to see him succeed.
I was one of the small group of State Department officials
called back into the building on the night of September
11th, 2001 to put together the diplomatic strategy for
assembling the coalition that would go after Al Qaeda
and the Taliban in Afghanistan that Secretary Powell
took to the White House the next morning.
I was proud of that work and the work that I did with
Richard Haas and others at the State Department to put
that strategy into play. I went to the White House,
to the NSC, at the beginning of 2002 very eager to help
the Bush administration develop what I hoped would be
a serious and creative policy toward the Middle East
This was, after all, Ground Zero in the War on Terror.
But I came out of the administration a little over a
year after that deeply convinced that this administration
does not have, and indeed is incapable of developing
or sustaining, a real strategy for prosecuting the War
on Terror or a regional diplomatic strategy for supporting
such a war, including putting post-Sadam Iraq on a more
It’s that lack of a coherent strategy for the
greater Middle East that I’m going to talk about
today. Now there are obviously a lot of things that
have to go into a true regional strategy. In the time
allotted to me I’m going to focus on two –
dealing with state sponsors of terrorism and managing
the Arab/Israeli arena.
But we have surely learned that this is not an option
to be pursued lightly. I believe that a strategy for
getting state sponsors out of the terrorism business
short of regime change has to be rooted in hard-nosed
carrots and sticks engagement. To work, we have to put
both on the table.
We have to contrast the benefits of cooperation with
the likely cost of non-cooperation. In other words,
to tell Iran and Syria what’s in it for them if
they change their behavior in ways that we want and
make sure they understand what will happen to them if
Unfortunately, the Bush team comes up short on both
sticks and carrots. Their self-generated quagmire in
Iraq has bogged us down so that other road regimes calculate
that we can’t come after them right now. And the
administration has rejected any offer of carrots, which
basically makes diplomacy impossible.
I would add to Ambassador Holbrooke’s list of
things that this administration doesn’t do, along
with nation-building, peace-keeping and the like, it
also doesn’t do real diplomacy. [CLAPPING] Now
I know this because in the aftermath of the September
11th attacks, we wrote roadmaps before the term was
taken for other purposes.
We wrote roadmaps for getting each of the terror-sponsoring
states in the Middle East, other than Afghanistan and
Iraq, out of the terrorism business. But this approach
was killed at the White House by the Deputies Committee,
the same luminaries from OSD and the Vice President’s
Office who before September 11th couldn’t agree
that the Al Quada threat was serious enough to warn
(inaudible) flights over Afghan territory and who were
so eager to go to war in Iraq that our military and
intelligence services weren’t allowed to finish
the job against Al Quada in Afghanistan.
But the Bush administration’s approach to this
critical task has been flawed strategically and tactically
in ways that I’m perfectly happy to discuss. But
I warn you about getting me started too much on that
issue. The administration’s failure in this area
is all the more lamentable given the substantive legacy
that was bequeathed to them when they came to office.
The President could have put on the table a framework
for a two-state solution that built on, rather than
ran away from, the valuable work that was begun during
the first Bush administration and brought very close
to fruition by the Clinton administration.
Without the courage to lay out a clearer vision for
the future, to say what a two-state solution should
look like, not just to say that it would be nice if
there were one, without that kind of courage and without
sustained engagement day by day to move the parties
forward, no administration can hope to achieve anything
in this critical area.
And our position in the greater Middle East will continue
to languish until we do. Now there are obviously many
other aspects to a comprehensive diplomatic strategy
for the War on Terror and other speakers on this panel
and in other panels they’re going to talk about
some of those.
But let me conclude by saying that there was and is
a positive alternative to the administration’s
-- I would say -- non-policy for the greater Middle
East. In the aftermath of September 11th we could have
focused like a laser beam on the Al Quada threat and
used the leverage derived from successful military action
in Afghanistan to draw state sponsors out of the terrorism
business while keeping Saddam in his box to be dealt
with at a time when we could have enjoyed maximum regional
and international support.
And we could have enjoyed that support in part because
we were moving with vision and tactical commitment to
put the Israeli/Palestinian conflict on a path to resolution.
This should still be the model for our War on Terror,
I believe, and our strategy for the greater Middle East.
But now we’re going to have to pursue such a
course with the added burden of Iraqi reconstruction
on our soldiers. And in this context I would say it
is essential that we begin to think seriously about
a regional diplomatic framework for handling Iraq.
In Afghanistan we had the six plus two framework which
brought in all of Afghanistan’s neighbors with
major players from the U.N. and the international community
in a focused, diplomatic forum to deal with the problems
of Afghanistan, particularly as we went to war there
and were unseating the Taliban.
That framework was a success. The bond conference
which set up the Afghan interim authority couldn’t
have happened without that and without the kinds of
diplomatic contacts that we had in the six plus two
framework. I certainly agree that the administration
largely walked away from that success, but I think it’s
undeniable that in the first few months after 9/11 and
with the war in Afghanistan that we were on the right
track in our policy.
We walked away from it. We need to replicate that
kind of model for Iraq. But that’s going to require,
again, something that this administration seems loathe
to do, and that is real diplomacy. If anyone doubts
that this administration lacks a strategy on the war
for the War on Terror, I would ask this.
Phase One of the War on Terror was Afghanistan. Phase
Two of the War on Terror was Iraq. Now we haven’t
finished Phase One or Phase Two, and can anybody in
this room tell me what Phase Three is? If you can, you
should be the one to go to work at the Bush White House
because you could do a better job than they’re
doing explaining administration policy.
But whoever takes office -- whoever is sworn in as
President in January 2005 -- has got to do much better
with the whole host of facets that fit into any strategy
of the War on Terror. But in particular, that President
has got to do better with the regional diplomacy. Thank
you very much. [CLAPPING]
MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM L. NASH, USA (Ret.)
Some of what Dick Holbrooke told you about my involvement
in Dayton is true. One thing that is true is I was walking
across the parking lot with General Clark on my first
round to meet President Milosevic. I looked at Wes and
said, “What the hell am I supposed to say going
in front of Milosevic?”
He says, “Bill, don’t worry about it.
If you’re asked question or it comes time to comment,
say whatever you think is right. If Dick Holbrooke agrees
with you, he won’t say anything. If Dick Holbrooke
disagrees with you, he’ll speak up, agree with
you and then change what you said to match what he thinks.”
When I first heard about this memo, the Longhardt/Slaud
(ph.) memo being late, I’ll be honest with you,
I thought it was an act of deception. I really did.
I thought it was an intentional release of something
to get across the message that it would be a Longhardt/Slaud.
But as I read it and have gone over it, there’s
so much of it that there’s no way you would allow
yourself to say this publicly if you were at all concerned
about the perception of you doing your job. October
16th, 2003, does the U.S. need to fashion a broad, integrated
plan to stop the next generation of terrorists?
The U.S. is putting relative little effort into a
long-range plan. And, gosh, now I understand. [LAUGHING/CLAPPING]
And I’m supposed to talk about the role of coalitions
and the multi-net—multi-lateral approach, but
if you look out over time throughout the period of “this
generation of terrorists” into the next generation
of terrorists, you cannot take any other approach except
a multi-lateral approach.
They were happy that we were there. They were really
happy we were there. This is southern Iraq. This is
not up north in the Kurds. This is a little thing around
Saflon (ph.), the places you heard about during the
last war. But the inability to bring any process to
bear and the lack of involvement.
In fact, the only friends we had up there at that
time were the Iranians who were helping us take care
of some of the refugees and the lack of a comprehensive
approach. As we went into Bosnia, as we built at the
strategic level the coalition to (inaudible) through
the Dayton process but then through some very important
Well, the one I was most affected by was the Secretary
of Defense in the arrangements with the Russians. And
suddenly I had a Russian airborne commander calling
me up in the morning saying, “Good morning, my
commander” to me. Unbelievable. Strategic initiative,
operational implementation, tactical work on the ground
making things work through.
And as you do that, then nobody can argue with you
as you even-handedly apply the terms of Dayton or whatever
its like is. And I will tell you the first thing I did
when Mr. Holbrooke got me to go to Kosovo and that little
town of (inaudible), was I asked for a Russian deputy.
And having a Russian deputy with me as I dealt with
the Serb/Alba—Kosovar/Albanian confrontation was
a very valuable asset. Was he as in my mind and understood
everything I was up to as well as an American deputy
I could have gotten? No.
But when you work in that environment, you worry more
about what the unique contributions other nations can
make rather than what things they can’t do just
like Americans. And if you concentrate on what their
special talents are, you can create a far greater thing.
Last thing I will say -- because we don’t have
any time for questions if I talk much more -- is that
in nation-building everything is related to everything
and all of it is political. And as you go about this
business that we’re faced now and you and I can
wax eloquently about how we shouldn’t be there,
but we are there.
So the challenge to the nation is figuring out how
to work our way through this. And we need to understand
that this is a big, overwhelming problem that will be
a next generation issue before we work our way completely
out of it. Without the establishment of public security
there will not be any nation-building.
And despite the misjudgments that led us to this situation,
we have got to come to grips with that issue of establishing
public security. Nearly 40 Iraqis died yesterday. Okay?
Yes, one American. But 40 Iraqis died yesterday. That
is no way to build a team.
That is no way to build the railroad that is supposed
to be the new Iraq. And we have got to come to grips
with that. And lastly I’ll just say that one of
the things I think we need to explore more is as we
approach these issues of nation-building, we need to
work more consciously as part of a comprehensive strategy
from building from the ground up, the bottoms up if
you will, creation of both political, economic and security
opportunities that way as opposed to major large-scaled
programs from the top down.
And I did it in about four and a half minutes. Thank
We’ll take a few questions now. If I may, I
just want to point out that there is one threat of significant
consistency between and among all of our speakers. Joe
made the point that we can’t succeed with reconstruction
unless we internationalize it. Jessica, I think, made
the important point of building on Susan’s earlier
point that unless we compete with the terrorists at
their base -- in other words engage with failed and
weak states in some manner -- we’re destined to
Flynt, I think, very eloquently made the case for
a regional diplomatic framework, and we just heard that
coalitions provide tangible assets that compliment our
own. So I think we can, if nothing else, conclude from
this panel that absent that kind of international cooperation
at all levels, we’re going to continue to face
the disarray that we face today.
With that, let me turn it over to questions and ask
that if you’re over on this far side of the room,
if you would jump quickly forward because I can’t
see you. We have a hand in the back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE/FEMALE SPEAKERS
Peter Ganz (ph.), Refugees International. I think
the other thing that we need to think about when we
talk about peace-keeping, post-conflict operations is
the capacity to do those operations. And there is a
capacity gap. And I think the reason why I’m heartened
about the Center for American Progress and the other
organizations in this conference here is that there’s
a lot of organizations that want to support enhancing
capacity, but that’s not the only thing that we
end up having to do in the policy community here in
Instead, we have to fight the legacies of organizations
such as, dare I say it, the Heritage Foundation and
anti-U.N., anti-peace-keeping, anti-multi-lateral policies.
So I think one of the questions that we need to ask
here, and I’m asking it of the panel, is how do
we go about it.
There are a lot of ideas about how to create the capacity,
but we need to move those ideas in the ways that the
other folks have been moving the anti-ideas forward.
MS: Yeah. Let me just share with you one experience
we had when we did the Bosnia deployment. Early on when
we were building the plan, when Dick and Bill were back
at Dayton, we were going around. One of the first things
we did, George (inaudible) and I went down to—went
down to Geneva to meet with (inaudible).
And we did that because one of the lessons we had
learned down in South (inaudible), we learned coming
out of Rwanda was that there needed to be much more
coordination and a much closer lash-up between the military
and the NGO community, including those who would deal
with internally displaced refugees in the aftermath
of some conflict.
And so one of the first things we did was we went
down and we set up a liaison office. And automatically
you enhance capacity because you put together these
two cultures that don’t otherwise meet and are
mutually suspicious, suspicious certainly at that time,
of each other.
Curiously, the NGO community was more suspicious of
the military than vice versa, than the military of the
NGO community. But it worked. As you have a capacity
there, you had an ability to move the civilian elements
into place to do those tasks for which they are uniquely
or far better qualified, just as soon as the situation
had been stabilized enough to permit them to come in
there and do that.
My understanding of this particular operation in Iraq
was that those lessons were not internalized. They did
not carry over in the planning for the reconstruction
here. So I think that you go back to lessons that we’ve
already learned and see how you enhance what we’ve
already learned in that regard. I don’t know --
MS: You know, back in the days of Iraq ’91,
I almost got in a fist fight with the U.N. (inaudible).
By the time we went to Bosnia, he was the first person
I went to see. That type of involvement. But I think
your question also kind of deals with how you engage
politically on that, and I’ll let others comment
FS: I can’t see because of the lights, but we’ve
got someone right here.
MS: No, no. Right behind him. Right next to him.
FS: Hi. Celia Wexler, Common Cause. We see major U.S.
corporations, many with ties to the administration,
competing in a rather obvious way for business in Iraq.
Does that, and in what way, does that complicate the
move to more international cooperation in Iraq?
Nash: I think it complicates it greatly on two accounts.
Number one, its freezing out some of those who might
be induced to participate if there were economic opportunities,
but more importantly is the failure to pursue a more
bottom-up type approach. You know there are a number
of stories like this coming out. When I was on a very
short trip hosted by the Department of Defense last
month to Iraq, the Division Commander told a story to
us about a cement factory where a large unnamed independent
contractor had given a 23 million one year estimate
to refurbish this cement factory, and the Division Commander
who couldn't do it gave less than a hundred thousand
dollars to the Iraqis that had run the place before
in seed money and the place is up and running today,
creating both cement and jobs. And so, the large corporations
not only push out, you know, because of not being
internationalized, but also are doing things that don't
go as as fast as well.
Now the cement factory, and I know some people in
here are concerned, will not pass an OSHA or an EPA
inspection, but it’s producing cement and it’s
producing jobs for Iraq. That’s okay right now.
MS: Let me add one thing to that if I might, and that
is that however noble everybody’s interests for
going in, very quickly with all of the money that’s
being poured into these various enterprises, they will
become entrenched, invested interests and they will
be expected to act in their own interests, which will
be, as Bill suggested, (inaudible) to perhaps the interests
of competitors and the interests of host-country development
in indigenous activities.
FS: I think we had a question from Ted Sorensen.
MS: This is, I think, primarily for Bill Nash. The
explanation from civilian and military leaders of the
coalition in Iraq for the continued horrific attacks,
explosions, bombings and all the rest has been twofold.
One is they say it’s the terrorist support over
the borders as Jessica mentioned.
And they say it’s pre-existing arsenals of ammunition
and explosives and the like. Is it possible, given a
minimum degree of military competence, which I do assume,
that we could go into a country and not secure the borders
and secure the arsenals?
MS: It’s one thing to talk about the administration,
sir. I wish you wouldn’t make me talk about my
friends. I don’t understand it. You know, the
debate has always been that we’ve had this about
are there enough troops. And there was a major disconnect,
and I think it was more honest than I realized at the
time, of a lack of understanding by the civilian leadership
in the Pentagon that it does, in fact, take more folks
to stabilize a country than it does to conquer a country,
especially if you believe in a transformation way of
war where using speed, precision and intelligence focused
on enemy units to conquer that country.
But there was a failure to understand that the need
then was to provide stability in terms of territorial
integrity. And territorial integrity is not just keeping
somebody from taking the territory, it’s also
from violating the territory. That, obviously, was not
Now much to my shock, sir, the thing that surprised
me the most on the trip to Iraq last month was that
when I questioned several division commanders who had
fought in the war as to when they found out what portion
of Iraq they would occupy subsequent to victory, I learned
that in both cases the two divisions that were still
there that had fought in the war, they found out a week
after Saddam’s statue fell.
Okay? And that, to me, was just a manifestation of
a total lack of vision with respect to what you do once
you catch the car.
FS: We have time for two more questions. Way in the
MS: It seems to me that the easy answer that we always
have for winning the peace is to internationalize it
has fundamentally changed in our opponent’s attack
in Iraq. The thinking was because of Vietnam, Beirut,
Somalia you make them bleed a little bit, America runs.
They know we can’t do that anymore because of
that set up. So we’ve got to stay there almost
no matter how much we bleed. So they’re now hitting
the soft targets. The U.N. gets blown up for the first
time ever. IRC, blown up first time ever. They’re
going after the NGOs and the support structure.
And, as Ambassador Wilson said, the U.N. is viewed
in Iraq as a function of the U.S. because it did the
inspections among other things. So it’s almost
like our conduct in some areas has discredited the support
structure that we have historically used to win the
peace and then separately they’re discrediting
it, other parts of it, by bombing it and associated
it with us while hitting Iraqi police and other things.
So it seems to me that winning the peace is now exponentially
more difficult because the components that we have traditionally
relied on to win the peace after the war in securities
there have been blown up along with us. And I just wondered
if you’ve given some thought about that or maybe
you disagree with it.
MS: I think that all goes to what Bill and myself
were saying earlier about the need to assure public
security and public safety. The U.N. is a special case.
But when they hit the NGO and the other soft targets,
they’re hitting them largely because it helps
to make more difficult the reconstruction because anybody
whose risk adverse is going to leave, and because it’s
easier to hit them than it is to hit American forces.
They’re more heavily armored and for whom force
protection is now increasingly important activity. So
they’re good targets of opportunity and it does
undermine the will of the international community very,
very quickly. I mean, you’ve seen that the U.N.
is basically drawn down completely.
The ICRC is probably going to have to do something
along those lines. But it goes back to, I think, what
we were trying to say earlier, that at the stability,
the stabilizing stage you have to have a significant
presence there to both do the tasks and to protect those
who would be doing the tasks.
So civilians who would be doing the tasks. You cannot
just subcontract this to a general contractor and expect
that it gets done.
FS: I would just add that the involvement of Al Quada
and sympathetic organizations is really a problem precisely
because they see the United Nations and these international
institutions and of various sorts and NGOs as instruments
of U.S. (inaudible) and that fighting those organizations
is an important part of the clash of civilizations that
they are trying to bring about.
FS: We’ve got time for one last question. We’ll
take it from right here in the middle. Please, go ahead.
MS: Thank you. Lawrence Freeman from Executive Review.
I didn’t hear every single presentation but it
was conspicuous to me that the Vice President, Dick
Chaney, was left out. And it would seem to me that if
we’re going to stop this insanity which is coming
out of the Bush Administration now and this war which
could rapidly expand to Syria, Iran and even Lebanon,
that you would take out the lead duck of the neo-con
And I just wanted to know if the new American strategy
for security and peace, if there was ever—somebody
was deliberating not attacking Chaney here today. But
certainly I think he’s the guy that has to go
for the most rapid change in policy we could incur (inaudible)
going to the rebuilding process.
Maybe any and all people might want to say something
about why this has been left out today.
MS: Sure. I have my—I have my favorite list.
I call it the (inaudible) by Christmas. And it’s
Rumsfeld for having failed the troops, having failed
the President, having failed the country; Karl Rove
in handcuffs or not in handcuffs being frogged marched
out of the White House; and Mr. Chaney because it’s
increasingly clear that all the avenues lead up to him.
But I don’t know if I’m going to get there
or not. It seems to me when you’re dealing with
elected officials, particularly when both houses of
Congress are controlled by their party, that the way
you deal with these issues is at the polls. So one of
the things that I’m doing in my current 15 minutes
of notoriety is trying to get out and talk to a lot
of kids about getting out and voting because that’s
the way we will deal with the Cheney problem, assuming
that I fail in my trifecta. [CLAPPING]
FS: I’d like to give Flynt the last word.
MS: Since you asked a question about inside the Bush
administration, I suppose that’s why it falls
to me to have the last word. Look, it is certainly true,
and everyone of you understands that the Vice President
and people on his staff have advocated within the inner
councils of the administration views and policy options
that, I think, most of us believe have helped us get
into the mess that we’re in now, but in the end,
you know, this is the Bush Administration.
And in the end Presidents get the policies that they
want. And I think it’s both a failure of analysis
and of really holding people accountable in the best
sense of that word to blame this situation on one or
another cabinet member, one or another senior advisor,
one or another faction within the administration.
In the end, as Harry Truman’s sign said, “The
buck stops here.” This is the Bush Administration
and the President gets the policies that he wants.
FS: On that note let me thank all of our panel and
all of you for attending. We’re going to take
a brief break and gather back here at 5:00. Thank you
very much. [CLAPPING]
MS: Thanks to this panel. And please do enjoy the
break and do come back at 5:00. We’ve got a very
distinguished panel talking about weapons of mass destruction
which were, of course, the rationale for the Iraq mis-adventure.
So have a good break and come back for the last panel
of the afternoon. Thank you.