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tv   Washington Journal John Sopko  CSPAN  November 28, 2017 3:28am-4:32am EST

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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 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
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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 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
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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 nonpharmaceutical grade opiates of the world. world market, so that originated the world market originated in central an, in europe, etcetera.sia, deposits, including huge veins cobalt, gold, , among others, you know, to note critical ndustrial metals like lithium, been said that afghanistan characterized as saudi arabia of lithium. karzai claims upward of 30 trillion, quantity that would
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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 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
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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. 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 drugs.ng 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
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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 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
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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 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
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religious/11, taliban doctrine did not allow drugs or alcohol. they not n, weren't opium growth in taliban area? they are doing to finance it it.ause they can't get primary financing was pakistan and iran and iraq and different trying to play their own political games within the taliban. so now we're being told that the the ones -- the opium issue? marketing plan from the insurance industries right from the start. narcotics, now they have ot major portion of america hooked on opioids through the and now offices mostly being told it is a different story. correct me if i'm wrong, was the
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against drugs and opium l and taliban allow growth in controlled regions before 9/11? my only question. you.: thank let's hear from our guest. guest: for a brief period, the taliban stopped the production opium. i think they did it for political reasons, they wanted by the ecognition international community. the taliban was the government, could raise funding or money through various and sundry they did for brief eriod there, right before the attack of 9/11. host: how powerful is the taliban today? about the land it has taken back, do you want to put it that way? the : well, that is one of significant findings of our latest quarterly report. the taliban have increased, this i will say - largest, most control they have over the country, we identified
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quarterly report this year. it's hard to identify because areas they control, districts they control and then districts they have influence on. likewise, same thing for the government. data ght now, i think our is that as of august, 2000 17, 54 districts under insurgent control, increase of six districts over the last months. so about 3.7 million afghans, the population. now live in districts under influence.ontrol or north korea general nicholson wants to retake that territory in two years, realistic? eked guest: it could be done, it will be a hard job and a hard task, new strategy on that and he has additional training and he
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has additional authorities, so we are, again, cautiously optimistic. we will -- my job is basically referee, i'm here to see what happens and report on it, best and him the we're optimistic. eather to mark in whitehall, pennsylvania. good morning, mark. caller: good morning, hello mr. doing?opko, how you want to give you a call. far are a few issues, as as i get my information from like different college keep my s and try to eyes open, different things like that. let's see, there was clinton supposedly wined and dined the taliban, according to lehigh valley, to get transfer fees for the tappi pipeline. into ing to take a sedway the nobel prize winner that says today's wars are only fought
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resources and then want to get into the department of defense, okay, i'm there was 9/11, which going to be frank, i don't believe it was what we were told. i believe the conspiracy was the one that we were shown on t.v. lies elsewhere, but i will not get into that. also another thing, the department of defense, okay, so then if we're going to be there for 15, 20, 30 years, might as well be called because i of offense, also watch c-span pretty much as far as terrorist attacks in this country, very slim. on corporate lot media, a lot of breaking news and shootings and things like is not the taliban over here. o if you look at the stats on terrorist attacks, you'll see
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really aren't re any, so there is a lot of fear media, ithing corporate let me emphasize that again. host: mark, let me jump in, your point.g question for our guests specifically? mean, why yeah, i stay over there for -- forever ever? we don't want to top vietnam, that was bad enough. naturally we don't have the anymore, but i mean, as far as i'm concerned, why don't let the countries, if they want to wheel and deal with in and stuff like that centrcent oil, why do we have to be over there proving we will use cohergz? mark, we get the point, want to move on to other callers sopko? guest: mark, these are good questions, you should ask policymakers, the administration congress. i don't do policy, i do process.
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he policy stated by every administration since 9/11, we're going in there to find people and i beg to s isagree, mark, i actually do think it wasn't a grand conspiracy, we were attacked and in to find the people who did that and we went in help create a host government, an afghan government that could continue to keep the errorists out of that area, would not be used to attack us again or attack any allies. that is the stated goal, general mattis and as the has stated recently. we support that goal. host: harris calling from florida, for john sopko. good morning. caller: good morning, three real short questions. okay. caller: i read his report quarterly and in fact, it's in me.t of how many is, you met
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casualties there are? why do you admit that? if you have any idea what casualty caused by our -- the national government. has alwaysour report andsfnlieucritical of of that, you are saying that going to cholson is change the course of the war over there f. we give them $70 a year and they can't even carry a gun, what is the use? policy matter, in your assessment, why does general nicholson so dependent on that? nyour own process of in your writing the report, do you get military hat the u.s. or go free cranking over there
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with backpack and start check og things and thank you very much. host: thank you for calling. the first point first, how do you do your work? guest: well, we work with the military, the military will provide security for us when we field.into the we also get security from the department, so we don't embed, per se, but they provide can.rity where they but we're limited because of the fact, y situation, in very insecure, we don't just backpacks on and wonder around the country, we take security very seriously. doing that, we also have civil society trainedtions that we've and use them. we also use satellites where we data from other people operating in the country. have 30 ow we work, we or 35 people there full time all the time.
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oversight e largest resence of any government agency. so that's one question. spent a year,lion i don't want to confuse the listener or your audience, when talk about 120 billion or the that's from 2001 to date. what we are spending just on reconstruction here and i think we noted in the quarterly, is we spend, have about 7.42 billion been pipeline, that has uthorized, appropriated, but not spent and spend 5 to 6 billion a year, we assume will on pent this year reconstruction, not $70 billion per year. i think there was a question how general nicholson. ost: wanted clarification on civilian casualties. guest: we cite, we don't have
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data, we were citing u.n. organization which collects dat on a regular basis and very trustworthy, there, ly, organization able to get out to a lot of places we don't. was a 52% that there ncrease in civilian casualties from pro government, that is coa scompligz afghan era operations months.irst nine verall, the number of casualties have decreased a bit this quarter, but those caused afghans and coalition forces increased a little. host: more about your work, headline in the washington examiner and elsewhere classification of data, u.s. classifies data as taliban made gains, the piece u.s. military the arply restricting information that the independent pentagon watchdog can make
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the key measures in the war, they're talking about your office here. on? is going guest: well, this quarter they started classifying a lot of that we had been previously reporting publicly years. and some of the -- that includes the afghans, force readiness,perational attrition figures, and even number of women they have in police.litary and and we again, don't do lassification, we were concerned by this classification. our concern is that this is we are sification and strong proponent of transparency, we feel that the you, the eople, taxpayer, should know how your money is being spent. this, we can't tell if we're winning or loses,
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that money is being used or wasted. e strongly objected to this latest round of classification. writtenre is memorandum by the search director to you bout all of this, about classified or restricted information, you can see here. read this report publicly and if so, where? quarterly report is public, it's available on our and that's quarterly il, the report. all of our reports, unless or otherwise would implicate security issues, all reports are available on the website. host: we have 30 minutes left with our guest, john sopko, for al inspector general afghanistan reconstruction. back to your calls and debra is chickapea, massachusetts, good morning. caller: yes, good morning.
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want to focus on what mr. sopko just said, we can't tell losing.we're winning or okay, that just goes to the heart of the problem. is not about afghanistan. u.s. s about the five weapons dealers who make a rillion dollars a year in selling weapon systems to the hot zones and we're in a hot zone. there is a reason for that, selling those weapon systems and those come back and kill our troops and two, you said that you of only quote the amount money for reconstruction, well, six billion, but what else are we spending our money troops from being
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that we by the weapons sell to pakistan, saudi arabia, countries? you know, the american people are beginning to realize that there for a reason, but they don't know why and this is reason, because we need to lockheed martin selling weapons so the people who work for them in this country will salaries, but they make huge profits. i have to say, it's very simple to figure this out. you're just there, you know, as rest of creen for the it, for what is going on there. being killed are by the weapon systems that we're to these middle east
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countries. host: that was debra. sopko, your reto that? than a hope we're more smoke screen that, is obviously the caller raised issues going my nd my jurisdiction and country. again, we give facts on reconstruction, the other inspectors generals, areas, working in other hopefully will give you the facts also, and i'm a firm you know, i think people have the facts, we'll be free, that is what this is about. ost: paul from new york city, good morning, paul. caller: good morning, can you hear me? host: yes. your work,nk you for sir. you guys did an interesting report in which you indicated there were planes built, bought from italy, i think c-27a's that cost half billion
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being scrapended up metal. i am just wondering, was anybody that?hed for if not, why not? t seems so incredibly outrageous and just the amount of money being spent in a small economyad a to begin with, you expect to see a lot more that would have come of it and i think it is incredibly disturbing, you mentioned how long the war has on, how much money has been spent and first of all, just one example, whatever happened, did anybody get punishd and if not, why not and just in general, how do we think about that much money being spent and small economy and lousy results? really like to hear your response to those two things, thank you so much. host: thank you. sopko. guest: those are very good questions, i wish i could tell punished on the purchase of those airplanes that
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boneyard in ed of italy and the planes were basically death traps. fly, they weren't the appropriate plane. ongoing an investigation, criminal of nature that, we can't really detail.in great we also have an audit that we've initiated and hopefully we'll be the questions, but i'm outraged, i get angry that see money like wasted and we will get to the promise you.t, i even if we don't bring criminal why es, we will identify the taxpayer lost so much money afghans got nothing out of it. as far as another issue you have here and that is about accountability, that is one of the most serious issues i think our reports, l of no one's ever held ccountability for wasting money. if you look at every report and
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testified, every time, not holding people accountable. that?why is guest: you know, i wish i had the answer. to, we haveoes back a lousy h.r. system and our system, we -- the problems we see in fghanistan are not because people we have sent to the fghanistan troops, the soldiers, the foreign service officers, the aid officers, they are all decent people, 99% of them are, it is not they are that they are stupid. what we've done, given them a broken tools and those broken tools are the same tools when you do a series on the v.a., on health services, the on the i.r.s. and all the other government agencies, procurement is busted, our h.r. system is busted, you are
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rotation f troops or of people at jobs are busted and people, if our reward system is upside down, which is ward waste, basically what we do in afghanistan and we do in the too, it tates, domestically, reward contracting money they how much whether theact, not contract is good or not and as long as that is our mentality, will not punish a guy for spending 400 or 500 million on don't fly, he probably got a promotion, that is the whole system, we have to issues here.igger we just see them on steroids when you're in a war zone like afghanistan. host: before we go back to calls, john sopko, you brought says, sigar at the top, big red letters, fraud hotline. hotline about? guest: the hotline is how we get
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information about cases, how we information, i hope you are showing it to viewers because really something we appreciate. in afghanistan, we also see this in the united states, where people call or our hotline, we nswer in darria, we get information and do our work. host: let's hear from jeff in laurel, mississippi, jeff, thank you for waiting, you're on with john sopko. caller: thank you. 9/11 happened, the united backing afghan, during the charlie wilson russia, they broke we -- broke russia. and now them, n there fighting they in there to break us. another question you were opium trade,ut, the i think american soldiers field through the opium like a cow trail. they don't mess with them.
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that, why ng with didn't they get them out? happens to ng, what $8 million that came missing under the state department under hillary clinton clinton? $8 million, poof, what happened to it? thank you. mr. sopko? billion t me, the $8 under clinton's secretary, i really don't know what the to, but the erring opium issue, part is we haven't strategy and we really have not had a willing in afghanistan until the recent government. change, but t will you're correct, we just did not how to ood strategy on -- -- th the opium
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anals, helped them build canals. but it is not as easy as crop.ng a new and we're going to have a major report coming out in the next months looking at because we -- security programs, there, we -- results on that lessons learned report, we haven't finished yet, we're still running it by the going to send it out to agencies for comments, i'll the report comes out. host: guest is john sopko,
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pecial inspector general for afghanistan reconstruction, state and federal prosecutor, oversight counsel on homeland security, house committee on energy and on erce, select committee homeland security and senate permanent subcommittee on investigations and partner at ken, howard and feld, you left the firm six years ago now to take on this position, does your of tion have a fixed length time? guest: no, i serve at the pleasure of the president and is temporary elf agency, we go out of existence when the amount of funds fall below 250, 7 billion in the pipeline, may be around for a while. are a temporary agency and should be. host: how many people work with office and doar's you have enough resource? 190 people,ve about i think our resources are
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adequate. keep getting asked to do more things by congress and that is job.of our as long as we are useful, we might need to address that, right now, satisfied with resources. we talked about challenges to your work, politico story recently, defense bill leashes afghanistan wash dog, the lead says lawmakers sopko, special inspector general angered many overnment officials with what they call bastic claims about waste, fraud and abuse, tucked defense national authorization passed both houses f congress recently, requires inspector general overseeing key adhere to ghanistan strict government auditing for reports and other products. you, what is different and in terms of what congress is
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your work and o how will it impact you? i don't really see much areerence, we're glad there standards and we help dod ig, covered by this, will standards, e to meet follow strict standards we can. terry, in new hampshire hampshire, couple of former mentioned the drug issue and when he first started this mentioned this war would be won until solved the there.roblem we can't solve the drug problem in the united states, like to
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and how you are doing you expect to solve a major issue like that when you really on what n get a handle is going on in the united states, if that is what it is whether to stay there or get out, if we can't win that war on drugs over probably get d out, let's deal with our problems in our country. response?, your guest: my response, again, i don't run the programs, to fight just look at how they're carried out and i agree caller, we haven't had issue. the drug i will leave it to the experts dod how to state and traesz that problem and check to see how well it is being done. fulton, maryland, good morning, hamilton. i'm not t's hampton, the secretary treasurer. host: thank you.
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you r: john, i've seen testify before congress and i share your frustration, but i your gray hair. the the -- lessons learned, is there applied and the other question i want to ask, you have sigar and sigar, the special nspector general for iraq, i wonder has it been comparison between the two temporary they took away and what has been applied? because what piqued my interest, tools ealing with broken and nothing is being done as disparate have strategy, unworkable system to be applied. to get your feedback
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and my last question, the temporary aigence seclosed down, will you be writing a book? guest: well, i don't know about a book, but people say comedy., it would be a sigar, ng back to the that was the special inspector general for iraq reconstruction, was set up, stewart bowen years, t for a number of did are of existence, they number of lessons learned decided to doe've is do discreet ones, the first with corruption and what did we learn about that with number of recommendations, dealt with the security sector systems which is train, advise and assist afghan police and
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military and that is being done. we'll look at economic development, next one coming narcotics.l as i don't know that compare the sigir's findings, we've utilized the information sigir identified in iraq, we've also utilized information the gao, dojid, as well as was acting commission that set up. so we've kind of utilized those that is the about as far as i can go. don't know if anybody has compared the two reports. daniel now, om daniel in tacoma park, maryland. good morning. yeah frshgs my analysis, the whole reason we're there, we and so far n -- we've wasted one or two trillion iraq s on both countries, and afghanistan and never going o get our money back and i was
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actually in high school when we were in afghanistan and i don't and 20 or us there 30 more years and i don't want to see any more troops being and killed. i guess your job is to analicize reconstruct se is that country on a troop's life it i don't think it is worth in the end. i think that most americans are it g there and i think that is sad we've had both democrats do republican presidents nothing to lead the countries and i don't think we'll leave in the next two or three presidents? host: thank you, daniel, again, policy issue. i appreciate the caller's i don't do again, policy, i just prevent the facts n how we're carrying out those policies. host: how many times have you been over to afghanistan in these six year? don't have the exact number, i think close to 20. i try to go three to four times
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year and usually stay anywhere from a week to two weeks and try to get around. host: what is it like to be there these day? you don't get around as much as you used to because has ity system deteriorated, basically staying in the u.s. embassy and getting out. visit with the senior ministers, obviously troops, try as much as possible, i learned further you get out likely younter, more will get the truth. you do that. meet with the president and of afghanistan and try to work with them, try to talk to issues.ut i eluded to before, the afghans is, maybe too well. because i actually have a target back over there because --
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they are fighting the same orrupt influences that we are identifying and you know, people may write bad articles about me there, they tend to shoot you in a number of working tors who are for the afghan anticorruption started to identify big fish fish. they are facing people who will you identify their corruption. we try to work with them, educate them, we have sources help them. it is a dangerous place. that is all i can say. from the sigar report in october, ultimately it says the that was ned a force not able to provide nationwide ecurity, that force faced larger threat than anticipated after draw down of coalition
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us more.forces, tell host: well, we had the apability of training and adviseing and assisting. it is just we got into this, we ad never done something this huge before. security sector assistance is, i believe, i testified and you have cited it before, it is system or ew weapon country, to developed to korea, japan, whatever. a e you are dealing with country with high literacy, been years, or 30 something very little infrastructure, the and police were basically destroyed over the last 30 years, so it was very underestimated the difficulty. align our not capabilities to their needs and still got that problem and
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so those are some big key issues, we didn't utilize nato have. as well as we could host: last few calls for john grove, david from elk california. david, thank you for waiting, you are on the air. caller: thank you. c-span, comment first on the young lady who poke eloquently about the proliferation of the industrial omplex and the -- fraud abuse report, that alked about six and a half u.s. army -- rs
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dod ig report or something else, don't know the details of it. -- : if you like caller: the u.s. army -- uest: i'm sorry, i don't know that report. i read that -- since those initial reports and six trillion would attract some attention. host: thanks, david, i think so, don't know thell details of that report, hear from cindy st. joseph, minnesota, welcome to the program, cindy. caller: hi. names ng to the bbreviation sigar, it sounds kind of close to what leah is talking about scie
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ntology. is strange, talking about opium fields and we heard two elections for president that troops over there were saying the only reason promote control voices poppy fields and the other thing we heard rom the same soldiers was that we need to get out of there because we're basically training force. be a fighting and so, seeing how things are oing now, i think our troops need to come home. but i want to clarify on that oincidental name scie ntology, nything to do with you guys -- congress did. anything to do with scientology.
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host: paul on the air for john sopko, down to the last couple minutes, hi, paul. caller: yes, sir, two quick questions. i remember the how much of the problems are americans coming over to afghanistan? i think it will work for you. to give america all it's worth. i will take the answer off-line. that was one of the most outrageous things. we built this wonderful building surge,was to be for the by the time they started construction the surge was over. the marine corps general, i have to give kudos to him.
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they say they did not want the building. please don't build it. it will be a waste of money. they were overruled by generals sitting back behind the lines saying we have to build it because congress gave us the money. we told dod we should hold that general accountable for wasting $37 million. the pentagon said that is not a problem. different leadership for general mattis is a different secretary of defense. get a different response if we revealed that report today. as far as we know it is still not occupied. the afghans can't sustain it. the are not able to get electrical systems in place. it has been a waste. host: hello, douglas.
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caller: good morning. . have a problem we should use the wisdom of had in the bible. a lot of people in the united states are that way. they need to check the bible and see what is going to happen to these countries. , letey want to continue them destroy themselves. i would like to know what your comment is. don't do policy. i can't respond. caller: hello. you are between a rock and a hard place it seems on this project. to -- i don't even
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comprehend how anything can get done with so many people includingo each other working with the government that is totally dysfunctional and crooked. where do you see yourself going in this direction? is there any point to it at all? guest: i appreciate your appreciation of my frustration but i am eternally optimistic. what is the alternative. i firmly believe strong oversight -- oversight being will makeo a mission the government better. why i took this job is because i have been watching government screw ups since i started in 1977.
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change are not going to unless you give strong oversight and keep harping at it. how we do to change business and improve how we do business in afghanistan and what we have identified as problems. host: you talked about the reports on corruption, on security, on developing inside the country. what else do you want to know that you might not know now? caller: looking at the -- guest: looking at the planning. what have we learned from the way we didn't plan to go in there? ambassadors, to get their ideas. what is useful to them? a number of ideas still percolating.
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host: mohammed caller:. caller:i have a question concerning the drug trade. during the vietnam war we had military import of drugs. now we have afghanistan. makinged to stop excuses. we are the largest importer of drugs that you can think of. look at what is going on in the country. nobody wants to say that we can't stop it. we can't stop it. drugs run the world. that is all there is. guest: we don't have any evidence of that. most of the opm coming to the
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united states does not come from afghanistan. most comes from latin america. most of this drug goes to europe . quite a bit goes to canada and china. we don't really see much here. i don't think there is a grand conspiracy. host: sarah, good morning. caller: good morning. i believe money is power and power corrupts absolutely. i have a question. how is it good for afghanistan's reconstruction when there is a world site represents afghanistan history and it is slated to be turned into a coppermine by a chinese entity? i would recommend to viewers to look up a documentary called shadow world on pbs.
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it shows the real corruption behind political power and it is all the way to the top. the corporate takeover of the world by the 1% and how they shuffle money around, take bribes on these arms deals. that is shunted to offshore accounts. that is what is going on with the world today. corporations don't care about people. they don't care about civilization. they care about money. that is the bottom line. money is power. this is the problem with the world being run into the ground. my relatives fought in afghanistan and iraq and have been ponds of the united states government in this.
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we can't let halliburton be the iraq,nside contract in which is a contrived war. we are seeing it in afghanistan. trade, thehe drug arms deals, all this is keeping us involved here. asis a never ending thing long as the wealthy corporations make money. they control everything. host: thank you for calling. we are just about out of time. guest: there are a lot of people who believe there are conspiracies out there. i don't. my office was created. you're looking at the head of a government agency, appointed by a president. there are 70 other inspectors
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general and our job is to get the facts out there. we are not part of that conspiracy. viewderstand there is a there is a grand conspiracy. we live in a country where they create independent inspectors general and we fund them to bring out truth and give you the facts, and let you determine policy. the latest report outcome here is a look at it from october of this year. .ou can read it our gas, the special inspector
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