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tv   Washington Journal John Sopko  CSPAN  November 27, 2017 10:54pm-11:58pm EST

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>> host: taking us deep inside afghanistan as john sopko inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction also known as cigar. thank you for joiningng us. remind us how your office came to be, but the role list. at first about the pleasure to be here and i admire you for putting on these three hours on afghanistan. it's our longest-serving war and we need more people to focus on it and i think that's very important. thee agency with the tobacco
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sounding acronym was created in 2008 in basically congress realized we were spending a lot of money there. we didn't do a very good job of overseeing how the money was spent in iraq and created a special agency with inspector general's office. we do audits and criminal investigations. 200 of us. we focus on afghanistan and we only focus on reconstruction. one of the reasons congress did this is because we have spent more money on reconstruction ine afghanistan than we have ever done anywhere in the world. we have spent more money in afghanistan than we did on the entire marshall plan to rebuild europe after world war ii. assumed anything correctly they needed a special agency just to look at it and we have been the existence of them. ruth. >> host: you put in regular
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reports. how long has this cigar office put out these reports? >> we put out quarterly reports unlike other inspector general's. we issue lessons learned reports on a regular basis and the issue audits investigations in inspection reports a on a regulr basis. >> host: what is new and different from the last one? >> guest: the quarter report summarizes what has happened in reconstruction over the last quarter. we are required to do that byeq statutes. what was important there was we focused on the classification issue which was new and classified a lot of information that has been unclassified before. we also focusedd on the casualty issues, the amount of territory under control by the afghan government which has increased
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at the lowest level since we started collecting data on that and again we focused on the economic issue. the economy hasn't turned around for t them. they are facing a bulging population. they don't have the jobs and they don't have the economy. that's the main thrust of the report. >> host: john sopko the inspector general for afghanistan we will get your calls going in just a couple of minutes y 202-748-8000. should hink the u.s. leave, 202-748-8001. fghan war veterans, 202-748-8003. been with this office six years now. guest: yes. host: how would you describe the the country currently as we head into 2018 by thetion to the effort u.s. and allies over the years to build up that country?
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guest: it's not a black/white issue here, there's a mix. of some success some failures. overall, the security situation has deteriorated over the six this that i've been doing job. lthough it stabilized into a better e now, we have a working relationship with the new afghan government, they're cooperative. they are interested in changing, they're interested in changing military and they're also interested in attacking the corruption, em of which is rampant throughout the to try and you're not going win there unless you deal with the corruption issue. they are serious about the problem, the 800-pound gorilla, which i think i was uote as saying before, in the room. here, the taliban and the
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insurgency gets most funding from the drug trade f. we don't do anything about that, we'll win. host: in the report, before we get to calls, you have status of here and headline connol reconstruction pipeline, $120 billion dollars afghanistan relief and reconstruction. you have a chart here breaking everything down. to our viewer what is we're looking at here and what significance is. guest: that particular chart ries to break down just the reconstruction number. if you look at the war fighting, figure think the higher you have quoted, comes from brown and harvard university, is about $sec700 billion. reconstruction, money spent to pay salaries of afghanistan and civil d police servants, that is to build oads, pay salaries of civil
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servants, build clinics etcetera, that is what that down tshows how much money is for security ssues, about $70 billion of that $120 billion goes to the police and the security forces military and then the rest aid, to humanitarian civilian operations or 2k3w06ernance. host: what is your sense coming the recent hearing on the house side where congress is on afghanistan right now and how it views the current effort there? guest: it is hard for me to congress. all of i was a subcommittee of a very important subcommittee of a very important committee of the oversight and government reform committee in the house. and rom talking to members think even talking to the citizens, i think there is war eariness, weariness about the money question about when it will end and question of when we
11:01 pm it now we're cautiously optimistic with new strategy that we're get it i think that strategy is more realistic, based upon what is the fwround, on the ground right now, rather than i itrary time lines, which think this was accurate strategy.of prior host: does the sigar's office in a report you put out, have any connection to the white house? his is written for congress, but does the white house read the reports? do they act on anything? take recommendations? guest: oh, i can't speak for the but i can itself, speak for the administration, the reports go to the various as well as look at, congress. so secretary of state, secretary agency se, any other work nothing afghanistan. they do read them. they do respond and i think cautiously optimistic, as a matter of fact, very happy, in he last six months, the reaction that the department of efense has had toward many
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reports. secretary mattis issued a policy the senior all of leadership based upon one of our dealing it was a report with camouflage uniforms, which decided and we may have wasted millions of dollars on. it we're getting a big response, positive response, secretary dunford -- excuse me, joint chief, e general dunford, in recent testimony commented how they use information. the one thing we author is we institutional memory. a lot of the agencies don't anymore. and people serve nothing afghanistan, some have gone tours, but many months, nine months, a year at most, we have people or three yearsgo and our agency has been around while, relying on
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institutional memory. ost: lots of calls coming in for john sopko, special inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction. chris, you are up first from katy, texas, good morning. aller: great, thank you for taking my call. i have a couple questions in regard to drug trade and the deposit necessary afghanistan. the government narrative since this isn't war, this is a -- not a war choice, a necessity, both presidents bush and obama were referenced 9/11 and i think it important to note that the timing of military action in afghanistan, as you know, came 9/11.ys after since 2001, production of -- has increased providing 90% of the
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nonpharmaceutical grade opiates of the world. world market, so that originated the world market originated in central an, in europe, asia, russia, also important to note is the deposits including among others. important to note the critical investment and it's been said that afghanistan has been characterized as the saudi arabia of lithium karzai claims upward of 30 trillion, quantity that would mining revenue by factor of approximately 60%. these are my questions. you characterize the situation a stalemate. does that not indicate that our going operation there is according to plan and in terms as ar, is this not business usual? it seems we have military on the
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assets,there, protecting protecting opiate fields and ther countries, like china, mining assets and using cheap labor to benefit global trade the united states. host: chris, thank you for for ng. calling. john sopko. guest: first of all, i don't do policy, i do process, but i can upon my experience and experience my office and we're looking at -- actually doing lessons learned report on how we got into afghanistan and the that, gy and planning for seen no evidence that we went to proveanistan either he skurj of e on t openium. there is no evident of that. say that much. as far as why we went in on minerals, we the have gotten very little, if nything, from the minerals or we call extractives which can natural gas.
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so that, again, we have found no have seen nothing that would corroborate that. to develop the xtractive industry so that the afghan people will do better. so they can start exporting other than ut, in response to the implication that there's a aware operation, i'm not of any. host: you mentioned you don't do process, to that caller and several other callers talkedprogram so far, we opium, and processing plants there, does that action the processprocess, of understanding what is going on there? well, look. the stated policy is done by the
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policy makers. can ok at how you effectuate and succeed on that policy. the government gives us policy, you can do it. when you talk about narcotics, on this for harping years, in fact, you're never win the war if that is your objective, on the taliban their funding. our sources and government ources and other experts we've dealt with have said and now nicholson, 60% of the funding from taliban comes from that. got to do ating, you something about it, if your objective is to win with the taliban. now, whether you should do bombing or maybe you should use processes that the policy makers will decide on. are glad that general nicholson has the authority and
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it and we're glad equally important, that the willing to nment is direction, too. so the prior regime in afghanistan was not interested in confronting narcotics and unless you've got a cooperative government, you will direction, on narcotics. washington, what is your name? caller: it's stevie, how you doing? ahead, sir. caller: good morning, thank you for taking my call. morning.od caller: i want to echo chris' undthe impression religious/11, taliban doctrine did not allow drugs >> >>ar through pakistan and i
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iran and iraq in certain areas and to be within the taliban. so now if we have the issue i truly believe it was from the insurance industry with cheap narcotics not had the major push with the opioids through the doctor offices mostly and now it is a different story. was the taliban alcohol allowing growth in their region. >>guest: for a briefue period the taliban stopped the production of opium i debated it for politicalal reasons to get recognition by the international community but at that time it was the government so
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they could raise funding for many:other funding methods but they did for a brief period right before the attack of 9/11. >>host: how powerful is the of taliban u today?. >>guest: that is one of the significant findings of the report that the taliban has the increase of the most controlled have over the country that we identified in the quarter of the report this year. it is hard to identify the areas they control the districts that they control to have influence, on. but right now addison of an
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increase of nine districts over the last six months so 3.7 million afghans now live-in districts under insurgent control. >> and now trying to take 80 percent ofte that territory back. is the realistic?. >> it could be done it is a hard job and a hard task but there was of a strategy on that with troops for training and additional s authorities. so again we are cautiously optimistic so basically the referee i am here to see what happens in a report on that and we are optimistic.
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>> good morning. there are a few issues. i get my a information from college professors to keep my eyes open so the clinton machinecc suppose of the wine and dine the the taliban to get those transfer fees for the pipeline so i will just a gay said way into the nobel peace prize winner that says it is only fought over natural resources but i want to get into the department of defense so then there was then 11 -- 9/11 and to be frank i believe that conspiracy that the truth lies elsewhere.
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so with the department of defense we might is will be called the department of offense because watching c-span as far as actual terrorist attacks in theou country with the corporate media it is sent to the taliban. so if you look at those statistics there really are not any. there is a lot of fear mongering with the corporate media. >>host: levied john bin you are making your point. >>guest: yes. >> caller: my stay over there forever? and vietnam was bad enough.
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they don't have the draft but as far as i am concerned if these countries want to wheel and deal wide we have to beoi over there with the of military?. >>guest: quickly, these are all good questions you should ask the of policymakers with the administration and congress. the policy is stated by every administration since then 11 we are going in there to find the people that attack us and i beg to disagree i actually do think it was that a grand conspiracy but we were attacked. we went to find the people who did this but we went in to help create a host afghan
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government and to keep the terrorists out of that area and that is the stated goal and we support that goal. >> caller: good morning. i read the report court of the and in fact, it is in front of me. number one how many casualties are there if you would mitt that then you have any idea what can be caused from those natural governments? the report is
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critical event in the love thatl you say that nicholson will change the course of the war if we give them $70 billion per year and they cannot even carry a gun? this is a policy matter but with your assessment and the last thing is that process to get embedded and then started to check on things. >> but with the first point how would you do your work?. >> we work with the military to provide security and also from the statehe department. we don't necessarily in bed
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but they provide security where b they can but we are limited because that it is very insecure situation. we just don't throw back packs:and wander around the country be taken very seriously. also with the civil society organizations to use satellites where we can and collect data from other peoplele operating. that is how we work. we have about 30 or 35 people there with the zero largest oversight presence of any government agency. with that 70 billion spent per year. with that figure that is
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2001 through today. just spending on reconstruction. and to have 7.4 billion in the pipeline. and to spend fivers $6 billion per year on reconstruction. but the question of general nicholson. >>host: one of the clarifications of civilian casualties. >>guest: we don't have the actual data rerelease citing the u.n. organization and to be very trustworthy organization. and they noted it was a 52% increase of civilian casualties from the
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pro-government in the first nine months. but overall the number of casualties has decreased thisis quarter but those caused by the afghans and coalition forces. >>host: with your work those that concern that classification of data. in then negative independent watchdog. so what is going on?. >> into classified the information public the four years. some of that includes casualty's by the afghans
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with that operationalal readiness in even the number of women in the military. when we were concerned about this classification and our concern is it is over classification. we're a strong proponent of transparency that the people or the taxpayers should know how the money is being spent. soda classified we cannot tell if we are winning or losing. soap that is why we strongly objected to the latest round of classification. >> from the research director to be classified or restricted information can they read this report
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publicly?. >> it is public and o available on the web site. as a matter of fact all love the of reports unless classified to implicate security issues, all of these are available on the web site. >>host: we have 30 minutes left with our guest john sopko be general over afghanistan rica's --- three construction the next caller good morning. >> caller: good morning. to focus on what mr. john sopko said we cannot tell if we're winning or losing. that just goess to the heart of the problem. this isn't afghanistan with the u.s. weapons dealers to
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have $1 trillion per year. if we're in the hot zone there is a reason for that because they are selling those weapons systems to come back and kill our troops and number two you can only'' the amount of money forit reconstruction. it could be 6 million but what else are we spending our money on to keep our troops from being murdered by the weapons that we sell to pakistan or saudi arabia? the american people are beginning to realize we're there for reason. but they don't know why. this is the reason to keep lockheed and boeing selling
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the weapons so the to under 50,000 people that work for them in this country to make salaries with huge profits. that is all i have to say for go it is very simple to figure this out. you are just there as a smokescreen for the rest of the. for what is going on and our troops are killed by the weapons systems that we are selling to the middle eastern countries. >>host: your reaction. >>guest: i hope we are more than a smokescreen but the caller is raising the issue is going beyond my jurisdiction or my country. but we give you the facts on afghanistan the other
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inspector general's working in other areas hopefully give you the facts also and as a firm believer lincoln said of the people have the facts we will be free this is what it is all about. >> caller: can you hear me? there was an interesting report to indicate there were planes built that costs half a billion dollars so i am wondering first of all, was anybody punished for that? it seems so incredibly of regis the amount of money spent in a country with the very small economy to begin with it mentions how long
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the war has gone on how much money spent, first of all, justice one example did anybody get punished? and if not, why?, it could be economy? hat small i would like to hear your responses. >> those are all very good questions and i wish i could tell you so they was punished on the purchase of those airplanes from the of boneyard in italy and basically they were a death trap. they could not fly they were not appropriate. with an ongoing investigation criminal in nature we cannot discuss in detailha there is an audit we initiated and hopefully can
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answer the questions but i am outraged. i get angry when we see money like that wasted even if we don't bring criminal charges we will identify why the taxpayer lost so much money to get nothing out of it. >> now with accountability this is one of the most serious issues no one is ever held accountable for wasting money. every time we're not holding people accountable. why is that?. >> i wish we had the answer we had a lousy h our system so the problems that we see inop afghanistan the soldiers
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or the foreign service officers there all decent people or lease to 99 percent are. we give them a box of broken tools that are the same that when you do a series on health and human services the irs and other government agencies as a procurement system that is busted the h.r. system is busted, the rotation of troops are busted and how we've reward people. if that system is upside downta which is what we do in afghanistan in the united states domestically we reward contracting officers homage money they put on a
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contractct. now whether it is good enough but if that is the mentality then spending a guy for spending 500 million he actually got a promotion. so we just see them on steroids. >>host: before we go back to calls, the fraud hotline would is that about?. >> so i hope you show that to the viewers we see this is in afghanistan also of the united states where people called the hot line. that is how we get information to do our work.
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>>host:g, mississippi thank you for waiting. >> caller: when the united states wases backing the afghans they broke russia. now we're in there fighting them. so another question you were speaking about. with the opium fields it is like negative trail. but this is under hillary clinton's watch. >>guest: the $8 billion under clinton and secretary
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i don't know what the caller is referring to but that opm issue we have another strategy or a willing government with that recent government. .. . . . >> good morning. >> caller: good morning. i'm sorry to bother you. i was a good question. i'm very familiar -- i'm around
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it. it's a country that's very limited water available. the farms are very close to the area they help watcher. why we cannot pay those who cultivate opium so they don't cultivated and get the money and advantage. why can we do that is a little more difficult than that. >> i think the caller says there's some areas that are heirs. they do have some water and use canals. it's not as easy as creating a new crop. we'll have another report coming out in the next few months looking what lessons we've learned.
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because we don't have a strategy we've had some programs we've done canals there and we've done crop substitution and it's a little more complicated than that. rather than give aware results amount lessons learned report that we haven't finished we are going to send it out to the agency for comment. >> the former state and federal prosecutor served as general counsel on homeland security. the select committee in the senate permanent committee and a partner, you left the firm six years it go to take on the
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position did have a fixed length of time? >> no. the agency itself is a temporary agency. when we go out i think it's $250 million we have $7 million on the pipeline. we should be a temporary agency to have enough resources? we have about 190 people i think our resources are advocate we keep getting asked to do more things with congress and that's part of our job. we may need a few more dollars to do that. a size where there and useful we might want to address that.
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right now i think were satisfied with it i think there's another challenge the defense bill they rain in many government officials and they call claims against waste, fraud, and abuse. this pass both houses of congress lately. it's a key fund for afghanistan, what is different? in terms of what congress is looking to do and how will it impact you. >> will follow the same standard as the required statue. there's really no change. we have always followed the standard. i don't see much difference.
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really hope the dag who is covered by this will help meet those standards. we followed a strict of standards as i can. >> host: let's move on to terry and new hampshire. thank you for waiting. >> caller: a couple of former colleagues mentioned the drug issue. when you first mention this he talked about the drug problem there, we can't solve the drug problem in the united states. how do you solve a major issue like that when you can't get a handle on what's going on in the united states we can't win the war on drugs i think we should get out the steel with problems in our country my responses that
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i do not run the programs to fight drugs, i just look at how their carried out, it's a very difficult task and we have not had a strategy or commitment to do much in the drug issue. i will leave it to the experts on how to address the problem and onto marilyn, good morning. john, a senior with congress but i don't show your gray hair, you said there's lessons learned but are there box of lessons apply
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any of seeger and sieg are has a been a comparisons between the temporary agencies i think your comment say were dealing with these broken tools and nothing has been done the science we have this strategy an unworkable system to be apply. i would like your feedback on what you feel could be resolve. will you be writing a book? >> i don't know about writing a book but people say if i did it would be a comedy.
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going back there is a special inspector general from iraq reconstruction. there was storable and ran out for number of years. they did do some major lessons learned report. what we decided to do was to discrete once the first one dealt with corruption. the second was the security which was to advise and assist the afghan police and military. we'll look at economic development. i don't know anybody who has compared the findings. we use the information we've also utilized as high as the
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contracting commission that was set up. we utilize those and i think that's as far as i can go. i don't know if anybody has compared the two reports. >> let's hear from daniel now. >> for my analysis the reason why where there is to get a return on investment. so far we've wasted one to $2 trillion and we'll never get her money back. in high school i don't want to see is there another 20 or 30 years and i don't want to see more troops being dead and killed. i don't think it's working, i
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think it said that we have had both democratic and republican presidents and i don't think we leave those countries the next few presidents. >> that's a policy issue. i don't deposit just present the facts on how were -- pgh so, and at times have you been over there? >> i think close to 20. i try to go over three or four times a year and stay a week to two weeks. >> what is it like to be there. >> you don't get a round is much as you use to because security has deteriorated. used at the u.s. embassy and i
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usually visit with the senior resident. i want the further you get out from the center the more likely you are to get the truth. i met with the president and ceo of afghanistan as alerted to the afghans know who segar is. maybe too well. i should have a target on my back because our reports are being used by the current government to do reforms. they are fighting the same craft influences that we are identified people may write bad articles about me here but over there they tend to shoot you. a number of investigators looking for the anticorruption
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police have been assassinated as a different environment that they're facing. dip facing people who will kill you if you identify their corruption. it's a dangerous place that so i can say ultimately says the u.s. was not able to provide nationwide security laws after the drawdown of military forces. tell us more. >> we had the capability of training and advising and assisting. we had never done something this huge before is providing a new
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weapon system to develop country, to korea and japan. dealing with the country with high literacy been at war for 30 some years with little infrastructure. the police were basically destroyed over the past 30 years. it was difficult. we underestimated the difficulty we did not align our capabilities to their needs and we still have that problem would really utilize our nato allies how we could. david is calling, thank you for calling. >> i wanted comment on the lady who spoke eloquently about and
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the american weapons. [inaudible] about a year ago i read some reports from fox news about u.s. army inspector general about waste fraud and abuse report the talked about six i have trillion dollars from the u.s. army, do know anything about that? >> i don't know which report your referring to. i don't know the details of that the u.s. army. >> i'm sorry, i don't know that
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report. >> since i read those initial reports it seems to be six i have trillion dollars would attract some attention. >> i think it would bit i still don't know the details of that. >> listening to the names and abbreviation, it sounds kinda close to what they're saying scientology. what else is strange referred to elections from president that many of the troops were saying the only reason were there is to
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controlling voices. the other thing we heard was that we need to get out because were training them to be a fighting force. things see how things are going there think our troops need to come home. i wanted to clarify that letting come up with the name, congress did i think it has to do scientology two quick questions for you, i remember some of the afghans never wanted to occupy. what happened to it? how much of a problem is americans, and over to afghanistan for years and to say
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we need to have this project how many of it is americans trying to milk as much as he can often. >> concerning that building is one of the most outrageous things we brought this wonderful building is supposed to be for the search. by the time they started the marine corps general they said they did not want the building please don't bolded it would be a waste of money and they were overruled by some general who said we have to build it because congress gave us the money. we told dod and we should hold
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them accountable for wasting 37 million they said that's not a problem we don't mind it. general maddox is a different secretary of defense maybe we could get a different response if we release that report today the afghans can't sustain it or to get the other systems in place. i have a problem with the world. we should do some of the wisdom that they had in the bible. a lot of people in the united states is that way too. i think we waste our time over
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there. if they want to continue leave them alone let them destroy themselves. >> ever done to policy so i can't respond. there between a rock and a hard place ibis self-employed and i don't even comprehend think a good dose only people attached to each other including a government that's totally dysfunctional and obviously crooked. where do you see yourself going in this or any point i
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appreciate your appreciation my frustration. i'm eternally optimistic. because what's the alternative i also believe that strong oversight and oversight being inherent to a mission will make the government better. i've been i took this job because i watched government scripts since 1977. you are not going to change it unless you have strong oversight. the change agent. trying to change how we do business and the afghanistan. you've talked about the reports
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on narcotics and what else do you want to know that you want to know deeper what do we learn from the way we have plans or didn't plan we talk to the ambassadors and aid in dod to get their ideas we have a number ideas so percolating mohammed in new york i would question concerning the judge trafficking. we had military influence in drugs we are the largest by
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stopping the drug you will be frozen all the research nobody wants to say we can't stop it. we can't, thank you very much. >> we don't have any evidence for that. most of the opium coming from the united states doesn't come from the most comes from latin or south america. most of the struggles two-year credibility close to canada, china, pakistan, iran. we don't see much of it here.
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i believe money is power and power corrupts is a good for afghanistan's reconstruction where there is a world heritage straight there which represents afghanistan history when it's slated to be turned into a coppermine by chinese entity. i've also look at shadow world pbs and it shows the real corruption behind political power. the corporate takeover of the world. by the 1%. how they shuffle the money around and take bribes from these arms deals.
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that is god to offshore accounts the corporations don't care about the people they don't all they care about is money. and money is power and this is the problem with the world in the country being run into the ground. we have been ponds and dick cheney being the only inside contract in iraq which was a contrived for along with the drug trade, alarm steals is keeping us involved here.
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so never emptying thing as long as the talk of science the wealthy corporations are controlling everything. >> final thoughts from our guests. there's a lot of people who believe there's conspiracies out there. i don't. my office was created someone who is coming planted by an inspector general of ours is to state facts. were not part of that conspiracy. we understand those of you that there's a grand conspiracy. we live in a country where they create independent inspector general and they we try to let
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you determine the policy. >> here's a look at it, it's from october of this year you can read it argos guest has been john, thank you. >> it's a pleasure. i enjoyed it. >> "washington journal", live every day with new some policy should that impact too. coming up on tuesday morning, the week ahead with bloomberg stephen dennis. in the nuclear expert talks about the nuclear arsenal. watch live in join the discussion. french president mccrone
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unveiled the plan to curb violence against women. his replan remarks are next. >> next french president talks about women in france. he said 123 women died in attacks last year. his remarks have mark the international day for the elimination of violence against women. this is courtesy of free lunch 24. >> were going to go live where president is speaking


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