Should US stop giving aid to Egypt, Libya?
Political panel weighs in
- Duration 9:17
- Date Sep 22, 2012
Political panel weighs in
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This transcript is automatically generated
Yesterday afternoon when I brief the congress I made it clear that keeping.
Everywhere in the world safe.
Is our top priority.
What happened in Ben Ghazi it was a terrorist attack and we will not rest.
Until we have tracked down and brought to justice.
The terrorists who murdered four.
Well a day after secretary of state Hillary Clinton confirmed the assault on the US embassy.
In Libya was an act of terrorism the senate has approved sending funds to Middle Eastern countries like Egypt and Libya.
The continuing resolution passed by the house last week will head off -- government shut down for another six months.
And is now headed to the president's desk included in that resolution one point six billion dollars in aid to Egypt.
850 million to -- side and twenty million to Libya.
Joining us now our super panel of foreign affairs expert congressman Eliot Engel from house foreign affairs committee Adam -- from intelligence committee and a congressman Blake fair poll found the homeland security committee gentlemen welcome great to have you here today.
Great to be with you -- you -- you -- -- begin with you we -- approximately one point five billion dollars a year to -- second only to Israel.
Why should we continue to give American taxpayer dollars to countries run by extremists and folks who simply hate America.
Well the bulk of the taxpayer dollars that go to Egypt and I'm going to agree with you we're sitting way too much money overseas but the money that goes to Egypt.
Is going to the military and they're the stabilizing force right now.
And Egypt is one of our closest allies -- the money is conditioned on a variety of factors including maintaining the peace treaty with with Israel.
Issues like -- ensuring freedom of religion and freedom of speech as well.
-- mangled the Doctor Who gave us information that led.
As to corner some have been laden is being held -- -- some jail right now and the senate voted down a measure to cut 8 o'clock -- on until he's released.
And until it's clear that -- son is doing a better job of going after groups like al-Qaeda.
We're talking about accountability why aren't more lawmakers -- backing this kind of do.
Well Claude back and I mean look we give foreign aid.
Not only because it's good to the country's for the countries we give it to -- but it's good for the United States and and we want to be careful.
Because we don't want to cut off our nose to spite our face.
Look it's infuriating to watch these demonstrations of course it's infuriating than our ambassador and other other Americans were killed.
But the fact of the matter is I think we have to -- -- foreign aid on a case by case basis.
Did this to me it's not whether radicals are.
Are -- our arts are making trouble because there -- radicals and every country it's how the governments of those countries respond to the radicals now in Libya.
The government is responding positively and you see where there's lots of pro American demonstrations in the streets.
In Egypt there wasn't a such a good response initially in the president was was forceful.
And the egyptians change their tune.
And condemned what happened so I think we've got to monitor all of these very very carefully and understand that foreign aid is good for us it helps.
Our policies but again.
-- their countries that are -- in -- face -- I think each of those countries congress needs to reassess how much foreign aid we send to those countries.
But how different franks is also joining us he's -- armed services committee welcome congressman -- asked you.
Isn't the problem out -- countries like Libya and Egypt are seeing inconsistency in our response to the recent violence and this is seen as weakness.
So they're leaders aren't taking the US very seriously.
Well I believe that's exactly right I believe -- to vacillation and projection of weakness from this administration's actually.
Making some of these things more likely.
Probably most notably their narrative that to affirms the idea that.
Some video on the Internet.
Was the real problem here personnel made that video sort -- the exhibit eighty across the world.
And I have to say to you it's it's it's certainly a partisan remark but it is also something has a disadvantage of being true I believe that this president is reelected.
That's his vacillation projection weakness could capitalize.
Our risk of a global Jihad.
In the next 45 years that might be armed with nuclear weapons and America better be paying attention because we've seen these batters before back in with.
But I had.
Not just say it's a definite sobering sobering thought there indeed to keep a close eye on that the congressman.
-- many Americans are simply disgusted and that we are ready to spend these billions of dollars of foreign aid to countries that sponsor anti American violence.
At a time -- our own economy is suffering and we could use those funds here at home.
Well that's actually true and into local economy goes so arguments are all the more compelling.
At the same time as -- -- -- point it out for assistance -- serves our own interest if it didn't frankly you know we give a lot less of it.
And in the case of Libya I think it's very encouraging to see -- very strong that counter demonstrations in the many thousands perhaps tens of thousands of people taking the streets to protest.
The violence against our consulate to protest these militias that still are running with a free hand in Libya.
-- look it's gonna take time and that's going to be dangerous and frustrating in the short term and mid term.
But it's in our interest that Libya -- -- -- into a tolerant democracy it's in our interest that Egypt evolve into a tolerant democracy.
And it is not our and our interest to see Egypt -- -- peace treaty with Israel.
So we are acting on our own interest.
But clearly a relationship that's gonna change Sheikh Egypt wants a more independent relations from the United States and that states wants a different relationship we don't want us okay.
Egypt be able to use.
Anti American rallies to distract from Iraq.
I'm not -- I hear you there but there are critics of -- White House for example who are saying are angry that it spent 70000 dollars of air time just this week on -- he's on television.
Condemning that anti Muslim film but help fuel those angry violent demonstrations.
Was this really necessary and why does the USC to apologize what had nothing to do with this list.
An apology and I think frankly it's not the least a sign of weakness.
But more demonstration common sense to say that we don't agree with these videos we think -- deplorable.
And and there are no excuse for violently -- that is not -- inconsistent that's why I think a lot of people.
In the United States.
Around the world -- -- -- -- here you know why even do that I disagree completely we do not need to be spending taxpayers' dollars on a on a PR campaign we need to be.
Tight with our money in a time of economic -- and spend it right and what we do send overseas we've got to make sure is targeted to countries.
That are working in our best interest.
And right now you this specific question with -- to Egypt and Libya if we pull that funding without a thorough investigation is what's gonna happen that's potentially throwing gasoline on the fire but we don't need to be going out there -- spending money apologizing.
I edit this I'm not on that note kind of angle you've gut and people here who are ready to say.
We need to have a conditional relationship with these countries that.
They need to do things like release the Doctor Who is in jail who helped the United States by Osama bin Laden and yet.
We are still reluctant to take those kind of steps.
No I I.
Think we take those steps and look look the egyptians -- it's a little -- I voted down senate voted well down.
Well let me just say I I think fact we're not gonna throw good money after bad and I think the president was very firm with Egyptian president morsi.
When their response was it was not a what we thought it should be and I think that you were going to see more of that.
You know I don't think it's fair to say if the president apologized.
Four for the film there was no apology he said that the young.
The the film was reprehensible.
But he also said that's no excuse for violence.
And it isn't and I think that do we we need to continue authority because it's in our best interest.
But we're not gonna throw bad money good money after bad and so I think each of these countries needs to be reassessed.
I've got his second congressman franks let me ask you and your thoughts on this particularly at a time when.
The stakes remain quite high.
Well I just can't emphasize enough how dangerous side believe.
That somehow affirming the the notion that the film is that the root of this this whole problem.
It's true across this country -- -- Internet world.
That their Christian writings that say that Jesus is the son of god.
That's -- me to jihadist is the president going to call for all of those things to be pulled off the Internet.
Because somehow that that doesn't comport with.
The message that he wants to -- to send the Arab world -- -- -- to say to you.
This is snowballing and I hope that that the nation is paying attention because this president's weakness and vacillation is taking -- down a very dark and dangerous road.
I am not I don't.
I like I've got to Canada's -- guys is down -- campaign wrote in the room okay.
Now listen we've got and the discussion on what you're out of time killing -- congressman -- acted politically congressman thank you I'm watching touted hi everybody appreciated him and thanks for joining us.