DefCon 3 3/20/2013
Prospects for peace between Israel and Palestine. Iraq 10 years later - Was it worth it? Plus: What is the future for Afghanistan?
- Duration 28:27
- Date Mar 20, 2013
Prospects for peace between Israel and Palestine. Iraq 10 years later - Was it worth it? Plus: What is the future for Afghanistan?
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That's President Obama in Israel has just touched down -- reality is with.
The leader of Israel Bibi Netanyahu and -- into the American National Anthem being played at the foot of the stairs of Air Force One.
I came to -- -- this is Defcon three and -- really -- showed -- -- -- -- read everything.
From the Arab Israeli peace prospects to the Russians in Afghanistan.
To American veterans and what we are doing and where we are doing wrong to help our American veterans as they move into civil society.
But first joining me is out in the greater Washington Elliott Abrams -- Deputy national security advisor to President Bush his -- the council on foreign relations and he's just written a bark a memoir but it's more than that.
Called tested by -- -- and as the bush administration and the Palestinian Israeli conflict.
I think anybody better talk about the need to talk to right now -- -- then you you're the senior fellow at the council on foreign relations.
And you have spent most of your adult life talking and worried about and thinking about.
The Palestinian Israeli peace prospects you -- Donovan the Bush Administration President Obama came in and said no problem -- have that deal down an eight year.
Here we are what -- bank.
Let's get a lot of ground to make up -- -- -- another year.
He really does he went to Kyra remember 2009 and skipped Israel.
And left Israelis with the impression that he wanted to created distance between them and -- So -- he's got try to endure -- were reset to use Obama talked.
On this trip.
He's starting off on the right foot the first thing he set on getting off the plane with -- I am you know in the land of the Bible we're -- have lived for thousands of years.
Correcting the impression he had left last time.
That he thinks the the Jews arrived in 1945 after the Holocaust.
So he's starting off right we'll see what his major speech.
Is going to be later today.
What are his goals for this -- I think he's trying to persuade Israelis that he gets it you know.
That he likes them that he understands them that he understands the challenges that Israel faces -- security threats.
That Israel faces so they will trust him more because all the polls show that Israelis actually do not trust President Obama.
-- went -- LA Abrams you have -- in those meetings when you traveled with President Bush you know what they're sitting down to talk about now.
-- -- Obama doesn't really care about -- popularity ratings and Israelis are running for office there.
What issues are they gonna talk to -- -- chatter about and what does the president need to get from Netanyahu in this business.
I think he wants first of all to get Netanyahu give -- more time on Iran that is.
He doesn't want the Israelis to take this into their own hands in two or three or 45 months he wants to.
Get more time for his negotiations.
Through the another and talk about Syria.
You know what should receive used to be a case that and was for bush the Palestinian issue is the first issue you talked about then -- get to other stuff now I think.
Iran's first Syria including chemical weapons is the second thing on the agenda and then you get to the Palestinian issue which has come down and in significance.
OK don't want it immediate importance as we just ahead reports yesterday that the Syrians some serious weather was a Syrian government.
Our weather is a Syrian rebels were using chemical weapons.
What are things that struck me in the Libyan war is that our failure to secure Qaddafi is arsenal of weapons which is now what's fueling all the conflicts in North Africa.
All the way to Gaza.
Are we prepared -- we have a plan do you think to get our hands on and secure those chemical weapons that we now or in Syria now.
You know I mentioned the Pentagon has a plan the question is whether the president's can order.
Pentagon has planned to take out the Iranian nuclear sites pentagon had plans to stay in Libya and do more but the president's got to make the decision.
And I think you'll be discussing that with the Israelis that they certainly don't want chemical weapons in the hands of tea parties who we just because their border.
I think this could be a key issue for the two -- Once through the options that we might happen and I don't when I was in the Pentagon we had.
Plans and contingency plans just gosh I would probably have plans to invade Canada for that -- matter.
But what kinds of options are realistic options to -- -- chemical weapons.
Well the first question is whether you can get anybody in Syria to do it that is -- -- reliable Syrian opposition groups that could could do that.
Then you've got possibly Jordanian Israeli work Turkish troops who might do some of this.
Then there's a question of whether they can be taken out from the air that is through say cruise missile strikes drone strikes bombing.
Are there any of the parts of the chemical weapons that are on mixed in that you can actually blow up you could there.
You could take out by burning them and without you know spreading it in the in the atmosphere again if if they're if they're on mixed.
And then -- you know the last case boots on the ground if you really think there are some chemical weapons there that are gonna get in the hands of all Qaeda.
You wanna send in American as well as other troops that would be last resort yes.
So all of these options would presuppose we know where the chemical weapons -- you think you have confidence for about.
Pretty much I think.
You know we've been looking at this and I think the Israelis have been looking at this.
So I would say together we probably assuming they have been moved him we probably do know what the sites are.
Let's switch out -- run.
Biggest problem that Iran is at that -- -- presidency is gonna have is how to deal with Iran do you stop -- via nonstop around.
We sort of talked ourselves and to this position where we have two options bomb Iran.
Or letter Ron gets the bomb do you think there's a third option and -- -- Well there is -- theoretically an option which is the sanctions bite so badly that the Ayatollah has forced into a deal.
So far the only negotiations we're really doing -- with ourselves we keep weakening our negotiating position.
We keep asking them for less.
So realistically I think maybe the third option is a bad deal.
It slows them down a bit but leaves for a year through maybe for -- -- president.
And Iran that is just poised to jump into nuclear weaponry.
Now do you think that's an agreement I mean I.
-- my old boss Henry Kissinger is said recently.
That really the only option he could see the stopper Ron was maybe there would be some way where we could -- Iran that they would cause.
When they are sort of one year away from being a nuclear weapons state and would that be acceptable if that's acceptable to last -- you think that's acceptable with the Israelis.
If it's far enough away and you might be yeah I mean a year two years.
They might be in that circle already of course I think he's really hit -- was really -- worry a lot about a bad deal.
That really leaves them on their own and the other thing -- -- -- that is if we make any kind of deal however bad it is and we make it and the UN applauds.
Had the Israeli bomb at that point -- that we do any kind of a deal no matter how -- we're really taking that option away from them.
You worked on the Middle East especially Israel Middle East relations for your you know as I said your entire adult life you've got kids have been in the military.
What do you think issue look at the area the water that major problems that we have to deal with in the near term and then in the medium term.
Well of course first is the Iranian nuclear program.
But then the second I think is the deterioration we're seeing in a number of Arab states and the possibility of -- greater.
Radical reason to party present.
Mean we do not know who's -- to be ruling Egypt when -- from today.
As we were just saying is a complete mess that is dangerous that you Heidi presence and its thousands of them now.
Dangerous for -- -- dangerous for Iraq dangerous for Jordan and Israel.
So I think he did the decomposition or let's say to -- -- -- instability in a number of Arab states is a he's a huge issue Israeli Palestinian issue has really declined in.
Significance over the last couple years.
So was so when you when people say well we saw the Israeli -- the Palestinian problem and everything else will Fonda plays.
You think in fact it's just that's the opposite of what's gonna happen.
That god I thought I agree I thought two years ago that was a bad argument but today.
Do you think if you solve it waited.
Magic one -- it now the Israeli Palestinian conflict goes away.
Does it -- Syrian stop killing each other -- make Iran end its nuclear program does -- put things back together Egypt or.
Tunisia or Libya no so I I think it's a -- hard argument to make nowadays.
Okay now -- I've got to tell you one of the great things about our technology here on foxnews.com live.
Is that we have viewers who are watching us on their computers or their -- -- -- cellphones and then they're sending -- questions askew.
So they're part of the conversation.
And we've got one email from one of our regulars called isn't anyone listening.
Who says Iran we say everything is on the table do we mean it is everything just gonna stay on the table.
What -- this is.
Is it this is a great question and the Israelis are really trying to find out from Obama on this visit does he really mean it.
That is there a military option because they believe first of -- if there's no real military options you can Iranians will never really agreed there's no real possibility.
For negotiated settlement but secondly if things go badly does he really mean it there is a military option in my view there's no question the Pentagon has one.
They can really destroy that nuclear program four years and years to -- But the question is whether in the president's mind it's real or is it just speeches.
Wow well there you go out you articulated what the options are and then -- a good ones.
Elliott Abrams former deputy national security advisor author of a new book called tested by -- Now LA now -- -- -- time writing this buck and you got free time on your hands relented to become a regular here wanna hear from you much more often okay.
But it's OK yes -- okay you -- thanks so much diet and it is thanks a lot.
-- got a great guy who works here at Fox News this benefactors for a -- -- you -- in front of the camera you often now.
What he's thinking because you're reading about it you're seeing other people in front of the camera talking about the ideas that this guy has given them.
But we are lucky enough to have snagged him ourselves and he's put a cut -- I am for the apple pretty special occasion.
I'm talking about Jonathan -- Fox News man about town who does everything here and there was.
Really bear at the beginning.
When we dealt with Iraq I want you to talk about a number of things you've done but let me just first talk about the job that you've been doing here -- -- now which is at the United Nations.
Yesterday the Security Council -- there was a decision -- unanimous decision.
-- to extend the US assistance mission in Afghanistan.
As you pointed out that the interesting thing about all this is that Russia now chairs the Security Council so what's what's -- That's right KT.
We all talk about Afghanistan and and say it's such an important thing to our strategic outlook on the world but the truth is it matters a whole lot to Russia.
And the reason it does is because Russia is in that region.
There neighbor is Afghanistan and so what happens there ultimately affects all the former republics in Central Asia that border on Russia.
So it is a huge deal for them.
So yesterday as president of the Security Council.
For this month the Russian ambassador spoke.
A lot about how important it was to extend that that UN mission.
On the ground in in the country and Afghanistan where about 161000 UN workers.
Are trying to set up infrastructure for you know future stable government there.
So it really does matter a lot.
You know what when we first went into Afghanistan and you could sort of sense of Putin of Russia.
Was thinking well you know we had a hard time in Afghanistan now you it's your turn you can have a hard time but I think what you're implying is that there may be a shift in and -- -- behavior that now.
They see maybe instead of watching us get tangling in the wind that there are.
Going to help us to try to get out and get out cleanly.
That's right -- I mean they look they didn't have to put up the the blood and other resources to try to.
Topple the Taliban like our forces did such -- -- job -- at doing.
They've enjoyed having the US dedicate all these resources -- and try to correct what was a horrible situation in Afghanistan.
The toppling that forward regime that wouldn't you know wouldn't let women even go to school I mean it was just a terrible situation.
But now we're about to withdraw our forces in 2014.
At the end and there is a lot of concern in the region happens after -- -- Well you've got a lot of different players who were obsessing about what happens after we -- Afghanistan borders on huge global players India Pakistan.
The former Soviet republics right -- -- him all the stands.
Russia's watching the carefully.
And we are watching and of course and very concerned about what happens because that is where ultimately we were attacked constantly and we were attacked from their from September 11.
Q do you you -- there in Afghanistan right after the United States -- NM and I think you.
Didn't you sit down with Karzai early on yes I did yeah early after he had assumed actually looking at pictures of that.
Kinda like we have all day on -- -- -- an -- pilots about the things he you are pregnant kid might wind up with current -- that was.
Now before the marriage went bad.
What was what was it like.
I was -- he's you know he's active well educated he he got his advanced degrees and he got its advanced degrees in.
In India actually at a very prestigious institution that he lived in the United States for some time you know he's that.
He's a very crafty.
Smart fellow what he's dealing with.
A situation that's very complex it's one thing that we have our interest and we want him to.
Conduct himself in a way that.
Ultimately supports our interest because we've invested so much in that country financially militarily so many lives have been lost trying to build a stable country there.
But he his country borders on Iran -- country borders on Pakistan.
Some of the most critical and difficult -- geopolitical situations on earth.
And he has to work with these neighbors so there are times in which he'll break a lot of us in correct his position.
Because he seems to be pandering to essentially and really to our enemies we've lost America.
Why -- -- -- -- Iran get us started out with that we were just -- -- re just too ambitious we're going to rebuild Afghanistan.
Into a democracy or was it something else.
Afghanistan historically as you know KT has been a quagmire for.
Countries who have tried to get involved and try to fix things according to maybe a more peaceful and and progressive.
It dates way back and the afghanis like many.
Do not take kindly to happening foreigners in their -- And there's a lot of influence from Saudi Arabia and and Iran and other players within that country and we at one point or another would would end up in the situation in which yes we were the liberators from the Taliban.
But ultimately our troops stay on the ground and resentment builds and despite all the good intentions.
There are a lot of bad people win in in the bushes there who who really don't take kindly to come to a western presence.
-- we you know I think that's earlier pro and I've been in Afghanistan I remember one thing that really struck me was -- Afghan.
Officials saying to me you know look the only time our country's ever been united as -- When -- -- band together that through expel foreign invaders otherwise it's usually me against my brother.
Or it's me and my brother against our cousin or it's me and my brother and my cousin against the guy in the next village and then we're all united -- somebody in saints and they look at us now.
-- -- That's true in the other thing is there there -- some twenty to 30000.
And how Connie forces who would love to see parts like killed -- they'd love to see America out and all the rest so there's a lot of pressure.
Yeah satellite's gonna get more interesting thank you so much -- -- and -- practice thank goodness we're gonna take a break and then come back and talk about.
The fate the following our veterans the guys who fought in these wars in Afghanistan.
I welcome back to Defcon -- joining me now is Rick Leventhal he's been a Fox News guy who's been.
Watching the Afghanistan of the Iraq War from the very beginning.
He was embedded with American Marines as we went into Iraq ten years ago -- been going back and forth -- -- ever since.
And is kept in touch with a lot of people that you saw.
From the beginning through the middle and now the and what are some of the stories.
Well we wanted to honor these men who worked so hard serve their country so admirable in ten years ago it's -- -- hard to believe it's been done years.
But we wanted to.
Introduce our viewers to some of these men.
Remind them what they did then and show you where they are now and get the reflection looking back and -- we talked to general states declared he's at the Pentagon yesterday it was some of the garner from our -- -- to build -- and today.
We visit with former sergeant Michael -- Corrections officer Michael -- and checks his cell block inside the Jordan lock up in Tampa Texas a medium security facility housing killers child molesters and other criminal.
-- -- -- He says are part death.
Ten years ago Timmons was a US marine serving with a third light armored reconnaissance battalion helping protect other troops on the push toward Baghdad.
Do you think you Iraq.
I don't get it uses.
You know this is a part of my past.
I try not to do long they're thinking about anything.
And I just live my life as if you know and every really happened.
Sargent -- and join the Marines fresh out of high school after growing up -- in north Texas sometimes going without food or running water to kids.
And take -- a liar.
Poured in -- you don't do too much.
He says he doesn't regret his Iraq experience despite being diagnosed with PT SD and he choked us explaining to me why he serves.
I don't because I felt a lot of pride my country.
And I I felt that by joining.
I can get back.
You know to.
The country has provided me so much.
In our freedoms that I had and everything else.
And still do it.
Really -- powerful moment there for him and for us to to remember and revisit and you I thought it was really interest and then he said.
He acts like the Iraq War never happen if you just want to put it out of his mind.
And yet he says he would do it again he doesn't regret his service and he would go back in a heartbeat to repeat what he had done back in 2003.
Constant when -- was wearing a beard because he's still in the National Guard and he was -- in Germany right now on assignment.
And he had to grow the beard for the -- and that the corrections department was very.
Nervous about him being on television with a -- because they don't allow they're there -- -- guards to have beards so.
We want to make sure people or where that he's wearing -- but he's not.
But he -- posted.
The one thing that you found that you've gone back and looked at the did talk to the people that you've met.
Ten years ago you don't know what it was like fan and what they want where where they were in their heads and where they're.
You know some of them are doing better than others.
And do you guys who are still in the Marines for the most part seem to be squared away pretty well.
And -- -- is doing okay.
Another guy that we met with is not doing very well.
-- one of the things that one of the guys made the point.
He believes that his training really paid off prepared him for the experience.
And -- -- in the lifetime marine and it it struck me that perhaps some of these guys who signed up maybe for the college eradication.
-- not envisioning that they would actually wind up in a war zone.
They may have been some of the ones who were and more greatly affected by the experience.
But what I was most struck by was that all of these guys said they they missed the camaraderie they missed their fellow Marines and -- Didn't regret for 12 their service and believe they actually made a difference today that they left Iraq better than -- found.
And do they have any sensitive.
And they have bitterness from the -- the United States and when they find that your -- you know their health their medical and and mental health benefits -- to later they're going from the veterans superb yeah.
To the veterans department seems to -- their files.
We did encounter some of that people -- frustrations with the with the with the services provided the links they would have to go to get those services the gentleman profile tomorrow.
Has some -- major challenges and he has to travel in some cases sixty miles or more to get the help that he needs and it's it's a hardship for them.
Well thank you so much I know that I can only keep you -- I have got -- -- you got it happens every -- Sharon Fox News is happening Rick Leventhal on the talk about this and you've also taken time probably in the middle that I.
To write it unbelievably good -- -- Fox -- -- thank you it's really thoughtful let's -- experience as an embedded reporter.
At the very beginning of the Iraq War and the challenges that he's -- ban and also the challenges that our men and women in uniform and it's now.
Thank you I wanna hurt you would watch special report tonight -- -- there at 6 o'clock that's that's were -- the long version of all of our profile he -- All right so 6 o'clock eastern yet.
Fox News you know Rick Leventhal with -- -- correct and we got Thanksgiving is that much great thank you it's.
And now we're gonna turn we're gonna go to Washington DC where there are group out of current former military.
Who are still learning about hill these are the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans organization says IAB.
A -- -- And we've got with us.
A man who is in the military who -- -- in Afghanistan and Vietnam.
And -- -- -- Vietnam that's my war.
Afghanistan and Iraq.
Tyler -- and it was in the Marines and 2005.
To 2009 that was some of the most difficult fighting in half and Iraq.
Tell me about your story what is your story personally.
Tell our story personally is is something not typical.
My -- -- run up high school -- wanted to serve my country.
I wanted to do my part go overseas and fight this wonderful opportunity I have in America.
On the other but that's not the big story of why we're here this week.
We're really focusing on.
Not if it was a good decision to go under direct ten years ago.
You know that -- historians to decide that somewhere here today to focus on -- -- -- now.
I mean it's -- two veterans are killing themselves every single day to us that's just uncalled for.
I'm looking at the VA wait time that -- a month VA said one million veterans are to be waiting on a pending claim to assess as an astronomical number.
That -- -- so that's why I'm here with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Such a demand that the president -- -- on this fixes this started commission pursuant to dealers you know we're tired of waiting we need help we need yet care.
And we deserve it so we we went overseas and thought we should have come back and fight for benefits.
But I'm glad that I've -- him that opportunity yet more than.
Yeah and I tell -- charming I am of the Vietnam era MI RR what are worsen our vets -- -- -- states.
They have the same problems and we promised ourselves as a nation we -- never gonna let that happen again we were never gonna let people go without the benefits that they needed and they earned.
And yet it seems like we are about this backlog it seems like when you're in the Defense Department everything's okay -- you leave the military you go under the veterans' administration.
And people fall through the cracks especially forget about a year delay for benefits.
We BMI of -- -- Kansas is over 450 days just to wait to hear from the initial claim.
-- NASA decision yes you are disabled and you deserve medical treatment or are you don't you know we Francis wasn't service connected.
Tommy -- accident Vietnam -- yes they they had the same issues that we're dealing with and it's time to fix it you know when is it going to be -- the times now.
And that's why we're here to speak to shed light on this justice is ridiculous.
You talk about -- -- these this transition from DOD to the veterans administration.
There's no us seamless electronic record from the DOD to the VA.
We gave DOD and VA had a lot of money.
Two work on this electronic record that essentially follows you from the day -- -- until you know that they -- wherever that may be.
Minute last week there's decided to carry out pot on and they say we can't do -- -- -- thirteen for crying out loud.
I mean there's many companies out there that deal with electronic medical records as kind of the wave of the future -- why can't the DO do you get behind this like it did you do this seamlessly.
That's one of the problems 97% of claims are still done by paper.
And could yet be kidding me I -- I'd find out this information -- -- -- and just blows your mind since common sense.
Almost and his is not getting done so that's again why we're here and now we do have a petition.
On I ABA dot org would love for your viewers -- -- signed on there and sign -- so just demand -- they're commission to look at it as it's not working it needs thanks so.
Yeah I -- putting this up on the screen now -- signed the back I've signed it I think everybody should go there and sign that the country needs to know that it's not just the military who are affected by the isn't enough -- -- Is everybody in the country.
Cast your quick question to just to clarify if you're military -- you're getting and you've been injured and you're getting your medical benefits and you're seeing.
Here's therapist you know for your bad whatever it is and then you leave you retire from the military what happens you do you still get to go twice a week to see.
For your physical therapy eerie ear during your -- health care are you just.
Out in the open for -- a year or -- you say 400 days with no care at all.
Yeah what when that you're -- with that situation a lot of times it is a fairly.
Nice you know process from transferring.
The biggest thing we're seeing now and problem not just talk with other veterans -- friends with.
As a lot of there's a -- TS the and it CBI black stuff kind of the non visual wounds as -- my column.
That's the ones that are very are having a really hard time to do that one you you go see a therapist.
You know in your base in California let's say and then you move back to Kansas are like -- on to college Manhattan Kansas very small community.
It's a two hour drive -- the VA hospital plus you know 435.
To get those -- -- so that's where -- -- -- more of the the non.
Physical like you know amputees type stuff.
Well thank you so much for taking the time I want to just again this is IA DA data or.
You and a member of other veterans are on Capitol Hill this week -- stormy in the hill.
You want to have everybody in congress pay attention which also want everybody in the country to pay attention so what can people do to help.
They're -- now we've got riled up and their man.
We're always -- -- any change I've -- -- biggest thing they can do is go to -- dot org has signed this petition to get behind it.
You know we have over twice 6000 not the party signed -- -- some real momentum behind this on top of that if you back home.
And you know -- want to say thank you say welcome home I've got your back I support you thirdly.
Veterans' unemployment still at nine point 9% for my generation I'm -- has fallen 2% since last year.
But that's still it is ridiculous you know we we have these skills these management -- leadership.
Logistics -- membership training.
-- -- so tell us sales allied itself freedom and the idea of being a democracy to the Iraqi and Afghan people are and that's about -- and then sales job as you can get.
So these people if you're back home look at a veteran for a possible person to hire now we need jobs we candidate we can work we want to -- it.
And we just need -- there's this this little issue of translating military skills to civilian but there that we haven't -- -- Tyrus.