tv Charlie Rose WHUT August 6, 2009 11:00pm-12:00am EDT
we are pbs. >> rose: welcome to the broadcast, tonight we take a look at the future of iraq and the united states's mission there with alissa rubin and michael gordon both of the "new york times". and fred kagan of the american enterprise institute. >> one thing iran has done very well arguably better than the u.s. is it has had very strong ties to each of the political parties. it has, you will find the leaders of all the parties have visited iran. some of them have houses in tehran. there is a lot of links with the kurds, with obviously with the shiites, the iranians, most of them shiites and with the sunnis. so iran is a constant factor and in communication and very much on top of what is going on in iraq. will they influence it
disproportionately is what we can't quite tell yet. >> in iraq after many long years of casualties and difficulties, there has been some success. and i think it's the goal now ought to be to consolidate that succeed ses and also to use what leverage we have to try to influence political developments in the right way and that involves arab issue but also involves weighing in if we think there are abuses on the part of the iraqi government and there is some concern that it might be moving in a little bit of a authoritarian direction. >> i think the role we play is a role continuing to encourage iraqis not to use violence, using that term with a lot of latitude. and also supporting the functioning of a political process in iraq so that there is a way that these issues can be resolved in this way. it is a very important role that we can play and i agree with mike tell is a moment where we should be leaning
forward diplomatically and politically. and unfortunately, it's not entirely clear to know me that that is what is actually going on in baghdad. >> rose: we conclude with part two of our conversation with general tony zine -- zinni who served as envoy of the middle east and commander of ce income tcom held now by general petraeus. >> if we say we won't take that risk and we will compromise human rights or our civil rights or whatever, i think we make a big mistake. we damage our is ofs in the eyes of the world and we lessen ourselves in many respects. and i think that's the big message. take the risk in order to preserve what you believe in. >> the future of iraq and the perspectives of tony zinni next. funding with for charlie rose has been provided by the following:
captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: as the united states military shifts its resources and mind-set to afghanistan, a 130,000 troops remain in iraq. since june 30th they have withdrawn from the cities and are taking on a subordinate advisory role where u.s. officers made decisions, iraqis officers are now largely in charge. there has been friction and there has been violence but the top u.s. commander general ray odeiron says the transition has gone better than expected. he says the u.s. military
will play a stabilizing role as the country prepares for national elections in january. but washington will have let's leverage as it presses prime minister maliki towards political reconciliation on oil, law and solving a border dispute with the kurds. the general has said that arab-kurdish tension is the number bun driver of instability in iraq today. joining me now to talk about all of this, alissa rubin of "the new york times", she has been the paper's baghdad bureau chief and will now be moving to report from av ban stand. from washington michael gordon, chief military correspondent from "the new york times". he is currently on leave from the time and work on a book about iraq and fred kagan of the american enterprise institute. he was in iraq this summer and just returned from afghanistan where he was helping with general stanley mckristol's strategy review. i'm pleased to have each of these knowledgeable people about iraq and afghanistan on this program. tell me where you see iraq today, and what are the --
how do you assess the pitfalls that might still be there, and the opportunities and the possibilities even of accelerated withdrawal. >> well, i think what's very clear is that iraq's problems are as general odierono has said. this he are predominantly political to you but there is an undercurrent, under -- ongoing violence that really has not stopped. and i think that is what has made certainly american policymakers nervous. but also has made iraqis nervous. because what they don't feel sure of is whether that could accelerate. general odierno has talked a lot about the friction in the north between the kurds and the arabs but there is also just day-to-day violence going on. certainly it is going on in mosul where some of it is kurd-arab tension but there is also still crimes against christians, murders, and just intrasunni
assassinations. ambushes. just, there's consistently attacks on the police and on the iraqi police and the iraqi mill father. now these are at a low level and people have talked a lot about iraqis tolerance for violence. but i think the question is as the u.s. draws back, does some of that become larger. and i think we're not going to know the answer to that question until there's really a much greater draw down in troops. >> in the memorandum and general odierno's response. >> i saw it reflected what a lot of troops feel which is they feel very frustrated that they're not able to do what they see as their job. but to leave too quickly --
particularly leaves a lot of sort of vacuums very rapidly for the iraqis. and it is quite unclear how they would be filled. and. >> that going back towards violence more quickly. now maybe that's what would happen anyway but the question is do you want to do that right before a national election. >> same question michael, pick it up as to where you think we are and where we're going and what are the dangers and the opportunities. >> well, i think we have to recognize if we stand back from it all that iraq has made a considerable stride in reducing the level of violence thanks to in large part to the american military and the success of the surge, if you look over a several year period. that said, as alissa correctly pointed out, there is the potential for violence. and general odierno has mapped out a prudent strategy and there's a logic to it. he's keeping the bulk of his
remaining forces in iraq through the next iraq national election which is expected in january. and really for one or two months after that, because they think it will take several months for a new iraqi government to form. and after that the reductions begin in earnest. so for those who propose an accelerated withdrawal of american forces, i think you really need to keep the iraqi politics in mind. and the importance of keeping our forced deployment synchronized with iraqi political developments which is what general odierno is attempting to do. >> rose: can we make better the political tensions between sunni-shi'a. between kurds and the iraqi government? >> i think that i agree with general odierno that the arab-kurdish tensions are the paramount problem in iraq today and the problems are primarily political.
and i think there is a role for the united states in that. and the americans have not been as engaged in that as they might be. and perhaps as they ought to be. you know the united nations has been involved in that but the chief u.n. diplomat has recently left and is being replaced. and i don't think the u.n. really carries the clout that the united states has. so i think it would be logical for the united states to play a more assertive role in trying to resolve those disputes before the american combat presence ends which is currently scheduled for august 2010 when the combat forces leave, leaving behind a residual u.s. presence of six advisory brigades and roughly 50,000 troops. >> rose: michael, what do you make of the argument that some make that we need to make sure we get iraq right because iraq is more important in the long run than afghanistan. >> it will play a more pivotal role in the region than afghanistan will. >> i think iraq is a very
important country. it's important for our strategic interests. but the fact is we're in iraq and we're in afghanistan and i think the united states has no choice really but to attempt to succeed in both. and in iraq, after many long years of casualties and difficulties, there has been some success. and i think the goal now ought to be to consolidate that success and also to use what leverage we have to try to influence political developments in the right way. and that involves at rab-kurdish issue. but also involves weighing in if we think there are political abuses on the part of the iraqi government and there's some concern that it might be moving in a little bit of an authoritarian direction. so i don't think we have to choose if we do this right. and i think we need to keep, to be involved and i don't just mean militarily. i mean in terms it of the white house, involved in both situations. >> fred? >> i would highlight the importance of seeing the
political side of this through. i think we have an opportunity in iraq that comes maybe once a generation. and it's an opportunity really to reorient our strategy in the middle east in a very fundamental way. but only if we remain committed to helping the iraqis navigate the iraqi scholls of the upcoming political transition. i'm a little bit worried about the administration taking it's off the ball. i'm a little bit worried about the emotions that have surrounded this issue and the campaign making it harder for some people to see the real opportunities that we have. and i do recognize the dangers. and i think that michael and alissa are both absolutely right. that this is not something that we can pocket and move on. you should never turn your back on a war. this is, there is still a war there. violence is at very low levels but that didn't mean it can't come backment and our enemy, an enemy to the iraqi state have not given up. so i think that this is something that i think the draw down makes sense.
i think that the president's call for responsible drawdown is something that the general is implementing very well. and i think it can work. but i think we should be very cautious about ever believing that we're on a glide path and i also think it's time to start thinking beyond, okay, iraq might not be a disaster and start thinking, okay, well, what can we actually get at the end of all of this for the sacrifices that we've made. >> as all of you know ryan crocker said on leaving that the big decisions in iraq remain ahead of them rather than behind them. >> i think that's right. i think there's obviously a big dispute about oil that is fundamental to the future of the country. that has not been settled. it is not that there is not an oil law. and it's not just having a law but it's having a consensus about how oil contracts will be lead exactly how the income will be distributed among the different provinces. that's a huge issue. and it's a huge issue to the
kurds but it's also an issue throughout the country as, you know, sort of how will wealth be distributed. and at the moment it's a very uncertain picture. >> how far along are they in developing refineries and doing something to generate real revenue from the oil? >> well, they're able to sell crude oil. and they sell a decent amount of it. they're not pumping as much as they should be. they're not pumping as high quality oil as they should be. and that's one reason they would like to have investment. and investment would bring new technology and more sophisticated sort of methods for getting the oil out of the ground. and the refineries, there's not much refining done in iraq. they reimport a lot of it. >> who were the political players in iraq who will determine its future? >> well, that's a really complicated question. and i think it's one that constantly, that is in the process of changing now. at one time the united
states was certainly would have been one of the main answers. i think one of the difficulties about become a player in politics is that u.s. power and leverage has already ebbed and is ebbing further. and as either michael or fred said, you know, sort of as soon as the troops -- as more troops leave it decreases even more so. but even now it's less than it was. and it's very difficult to know how the u.s. can exercise leverage. obviously prime minister maliki has some power, there's this very sort of fractured shiite political community, lots of different parties. they come together on some things, they're very much divided on others. mostly religious. there are sunnis. some sunni powers still. and the kurds are an important power, in part because they have been backed by the united states. >> and what about iran.
>> iran is a constant. i think you know one thing iran has done very well arguably better than the u.s. is it has had very strong ties to each of the political parties. it has, you will find the leaders of all the parties have visited iran. some of them have houses in tie ran. there is a lot of -- in tehran. there is a lot of links with the kurds, obviously with the shiites. iranians, most of them are shiites and with the sunnis. so iran is a constant factor and in communication and very much on top of what's going on in iraq. will they influence it disproportionately is what we can't quite tell yet. >> i would just like to say, all of that, i agree again with all of this. but i would just like to add that barham sala is right. but the question we always, the question has always been not when, are we going get all of these huge national deals done soon. i don't think so. the question has always been
are the iraqis going to resolve these issues politically and peacefully or will they try to resolve them by violence. because this is something that the i think the rye racki state will be wrestling with a lot of these fundamental issues for a decade or more. as long as they are doing that within the political environment where the violence is not fundamentally driving the decision-making, then i don't think we have a problem with that. i think that the role that we play is a role of continuing to encourage iraqis not to use violence. using that term with a lot of latitude. and also supporting the functioning of the political process in iraq so that there is a way that these issues can be resolved in this way. it is a very important role that we can play. and a agree with michael. this a moment when we should be leaning forward diplomatically and politically and unfortunately it's not entirely clear to me that that's what is actually going on in baghdad. >> what's going on in baghdad? >> well, i'm not sure that to what extent we're really
leaning forward, particularly the embassy is really leaning forward to help the iraqis continue to pursue political solutions to these problems. to sort of take up the slack as the military withdraws, you would expect to see a more significant involvement and presence of american civilian influence both from the embassy and from outside in trying to help the iraqis to do this. and i'm not, it's early days yet but i'm not sure that that is the direction we are headed. >> is that a criticism of chris hill? >> it's not a criticism, it's a question. and i think that it's something that we're going to have to look at very, very closely. and i hope that the administration and washington will pay very close attention to this question. i think it really is very important. >> michael, you know the military as well as anybody i know. what is the great debate within the military now about iraq. because general petraeus said in a piece that was
written by -- in the times, he said there's just an intellectual shift towards afghanistan. >> well, i think that the concern over iraq is -- pertains to the american role, a year or so and just what that will be. and the degree to which the american forces are going to be under political constraints in iraq. and you know not all the constraints are coming from the iraqis. some of the constraints are self-imposed political constraints from the united states. but you know the iraqi military still, i think the united states still does have leverage in iraq for the simple reason that the iraqi military still depends on us a lot for their logistics, for our air power, for assistance with medevac, something they call route clearance but basically means sweeping the bombs out of the streets so the iraqis forces don't get blown up by them. they want to buy m-1 tanks.
they're talking about buying f-16s. there are a whole host of ways in which the iraqi military will continue to need american support beyond the life of the strategic agreement. and maliki, prime minister maliki when he was in washington alluded o to this, the possibility of continued it american training and involvement beyond 2011. so i think that alone gives us some leverage. i think the debate within the military now is it's easy to stand back from let's say bagged da and let the iraqis have the lead. we're not in a purely advisory role by the way. we still have combat operations. but they're just not in the cities per se. we can do combat operations out of the city. but you know we're standing back. they're taking more of a role. that's all part of the evolution that everybody's anticipatinged. but over -- -- this has been a little bit of a difficult process. and there has been as
reflected in the colonel piece memo some concern over the past month as to whether there are too many constraints being put on american military operations. and then commanders like general odierno have come forth and said no we're working this out. we think we can make it work. i think that's the debate among the forces in iraq. but i think everybody recognizes that the way to the effort is -- weight of the effort is shifting understandably to afghanistan which promises to be a very difficult fight. >> rose: what is the new strategy that is emerging from general mcchrystal. >> okay, i think that michael phrased this very well. the situation, i had last been in afghanistan in february for ten days. and then we came back for this exercise. the situation is worse than i thought it was when hi come back in february. i think that we are in serious danger in kandahar province in particular where the enemy has made significant gains.
and we have not reacted properly. i think that we have underestimated the nonviolent or nonlethal part of the enemy's strategy which is really a very sophisticated campaign of intimidation and also attraction that the enemy engages in. and i think that we've also underestimated the degree to which misgovernance by this afghan government has been actively contributing to the problem. i think that if the situation is manageable, i think that it will require significantly more resources. and i think it stearn will require a new strategy and a new approach to this problem. i do think that mcchrystal is the right man in the right place. and i think that if he is properly resourced, i think we can turn this around. but i think it's going to be a harder fight probably than most people imagine. >> rose: michael, what's the influence of admiral mullen in afghanistan, and
afghanistan as a priority for him? >> well, i think afghanistan is the american military priority, first of all it's the obama administration's priority. second of all, it is the military's priority, admiral mullen is the chairman of the joint chiefs reflects that. but i think swren mcchrystal is the key figure. and you know, the obama administration has allocated some forces for afghanistan. and it was apparent to me just as an analyst writing an iraq book that that would not be sufficient to turn that difficult situation around. and even general mckiernan who recently retired and was being replaced by general mcchrystal indicated that he wanted some 10,000 additional troops next year, that the obama administration has not yet committed. so one can assume that mcchrystal coming on on the heels of mckiernan will want even more than that. because you're dealing with a country with very difficult terrain. we don't have a sizable
afghan national army. in iraq we have a very large, now, iraqi army and iraqi police. you don't have a comparable large institution in av stand -- afghanistan. there are a whole host of factors that make afghanistan a more challenging place to have a so-called surge in forces than in iraq. that's not to say it's impossible. but just the logic suggests it's going to require more forces, it will entail greater american casualties. and it will take more time than i think a lot of people anticipated. you know, if you reflect back on the campaign some of the candidates were talking about turning afghanistan around by sending a brigade or two. i think nobody really thinks that any more. >> rose: we've seen in iraq the training of a new group of american, future american military leaders. what are they taking way from iraq, because some of them aring to afghanistan, michael? >> well, i think we've learned a lot in iraq the
hard way. you know, a lot of the principless of counterinsurgency were known but i think they were refined. you know, if you do two or three tours in iraq as an army officer or marine, you learn a lot about how to interact with the people, all sorts of tactics and procedures. and basically how to synchronize the civil aware -- affairs with what they call the kinetic, the offensive side of the operation so i think there's a lot that has been learned in iraq that can be applyed in afghanistan. but you know each place is unique. and there's, you know, everybody now is for counterinsurgency. but there's a lot of things being grouped under the rub rick of counterinsurgency that may not make sense in a given situation so i think we've got a lot of experience. but i think afghanistan poses a lot of challenges. there, for example, you don't have, iraq has a
tradition of a centralized government under saddam and since. and nownd maliki's gathering power. well, you don't really have that tradition in afghanistan of a centralized government whose authority can extend throughout the country. that's a massive challenge right there. >> rose: all right. one last question to alissa. first of all, you were the bureau chief in baghdad. and you were given a lot of credit for your impact on the bureau as well as your coverage of that war. so what is it about you and war? you're now going to ca -- cab you will. >> well, -- kabul. >> well, i guess some pem --. >> rose: all 5 foot 4 of you. >> i guess you always want to cover something where you think it -- something's at stake. and there is nothing where it's so, is more apparent what's at stake than in a war. and at least from my point of view, it's always about
civilians' lives. it's a little different for mike whole follows soldiers, and different obviously for people who look at the diplomacy and the global securityment but for me it's taking the same questions but looking at what happens to civilians. and somehow you actually know why are you there, why are you a journalist when you have -- when you see that life-and-death is at stake. and you, maybe by explaining it a little bit better, people make a slightly different decision. maybe fewer people, just might die, maybe just a few fewer. >> rose: someone writing about you said that in your library is not the biographies of great leaders, but potes and people who had written about things in an extraordinary way is that true and why? >> well, that's in my traveling library that i take with me to different places. >> rose: these are things that you refer to all the time, right?
odden. >> odden and yatesment they actually wrote a lot about war. and they wrote a lot about reality. yates saw the irish wars. >> rose: what do they tell? >> well, they told a lot about not being naive about the bar barity of human beings, but also not losing hope in the possibility for some moments of beauty and redemption within -- within or at times of enormous bloodshed and pain. and that's something you want to remind yourself of when you are looking at terrible grief and terrible violence. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> rose: pleasure to you have at this table. whenever you come back for a brief moment, from the front lines. thank you, michael. good luck on the new book. >> thank you. >> rose: fred, again, thank you as always. >> thanks very much. >> rose: we'll be back. stay with us.
>> rose: general anthony zinni is here during his 35 year career as pay par even he led central command, a force that oversees the middle east in south asia until he retired in thousand. part two of our conversation with general tony zinni. afghanistan, it's going to be a long shah people like you say. >> uh-huh. >> rose: meaning what? >> i think for several within reasons. one you have to build up the afghan security forces, you can see the marines are there in the worst part of a afghanistan attempting to kler and hold an with thousands of marines on the ground and coalition partners, the u.k. and others, we have a hand full of afghan -- afghan security forces. it's going to take three to five years for those forces to be fully trained, organized and equipped. >> rose: is this political will in america to do that? >> it could be, that political will could be lost if we're not careful. i think it requires us to
constantly inform the american people of the criticality of this region of the world. if we were to withdraw, if we were to allow this to return to being a sanctuary for extremists, if we allowed for this thing to spread throughout the region with a nuclear arm, pakistan at risk, the potential for confrontation between two nuclear armed forces in india and pakistan that could result, when you look at all the possibilities of leting this go, and i think that's got to be clearly made to americans, but not only americans. i mean i think nato has been woefully underrepresented in this thing. when we go to, who really has put boots on the ground and engaged, it's the brits, it's the dutch, it's the canadians. where are the others, you know, in the 28 nation. >> so that's a very important point about presidential leadership. so how do you -- how do you get them to come around? >> well, i think that we have to have these sorts of -- i think this is a defining moment for nato. they shouldn't get a pass on this.
it wasn't just washington and new york that were attacked. it was madrid and it was london and almost several other capitals. and of course the charter says an attack on one is an attack on all. that is what was, you know, evoked in terms of the nato commitment. and i don't think we should be giving passes that, look, you can sort of provide some economic support and you get a pass on putting boots on the ground. only a few countries can suffer the casualties. that's what the american people have a tough time with. >> so you got to say this is a threat to one and a threat to all. >> that's right. and are you hearing now in the united kingdom and canada and elsewhere complaints about this too. because their soldiers are paying the price for this alongside ours. >> i suspect in one way or the other we are talking to the taliban, don't you? >> i think eventually you're going to have to do that. i think there were two sort of channels, if you will. from my being out in the region and talking to people on the ground, not just americans but others, there seems to be an understatement that the taliban are not a monolithic
group. they are not all heavily ideal logical. >> some are kind of mercenaries wnth. >> and some of them are just watching their village. >> looking for money. >> incentives that could bring them away. there a term out there, irreconcilable taliban. >> but it's not an oxy moron. you know, so it is always smart to lessen the number of enemies. we saw it masterfully done in iraq. the sunni awakening, and former enemies that were brought over. >> rose: petraeus did it in mosul in the beginning. >> he did it right from the beginningment we have a great team out there with mcchrystal and petraeus. >> rose: speaking of that. what did you make of this colonel memo, as the old saying goes guests like fish begin to smell after three day, since the signing of the security agreement we are guests in iraq and after six years in iraq we now smell bad to the iraqi nose. today the iraqi security forces are good enough for keeping the government from overtan that might have
toppled it a yearo two. iraq may well collapse into chaos or over causes but we have made the isf strong enough for the internal security mission. perhaps it is one of the most -- those famous, infamous para docks of counterinsurgencys that while the isf is not good in any objective sense t good enough for iraq in 009. >> in terms it of security i agree with that. i do not think the issue going forward is going to be the inability of the iraqi security forces to cope with the security situation. >> rose: they can do it. >> they can do it. they'll have have some problems but they can basically do it and we will continue a security assistance program, military support that will keep, you know, improving their capability. the issue now is governance. it's the maliki government. and it's ability to deliver essential services, good administration to the people. and that's what i heard on the streets when i was out there. >> rose: when were you there. >> i was there in november. >> rose: right. >> and they feel, the people feel strongly if the
government can deliver, if i can have my electricity on 24/7, you pick up my garbage and sewage, they know how to administer a program, allocate resources, you know, i think then they're on the road to success. there's two more elections. the first one went well earlier in the year. if the other two go well, people respond, they're coming to the polls, that's a good sign. if there is some sort of working out of local authority and autonomy in some places because, you know, you can't centralize it in baghdad. that isn't going to work any more. that will work. there are still fault lines between the kurds and the arabs, the and the sunni. an those have to be handled very carefully because those are potential points of eruption and conflict. and they'll have to be managed very carefully. so it's going to take some pretty a bright -- adroit governance capability and diplomatic capability on the part of the government. >> do you think they want us there or not now. >> i think that they are ready for us to leave in terms of our large military
formation. >> but we have essentially gone to do that, haven't we. >> yes, we have. >> what do you disagree with the memo about. he ened it by saying we too ought to declare vict real estate and bring our combat forces home. >> well, i agree with the combat forces. but that sometimes is interrupted as it we are totally out there of there. like i said there is going to be a significant security assistance program. we are going to provide equipment, training, joint exercises, things to bolster and ensure that iraqi security forces are capable. not just military, i mean the key here is police, too. police training. they have all sorts of police. they have border police, oil police, they have patrol police, local police. it's unbelievableably mixed bag. some of the police like the national police we don't have really a counterpart. and the europeans who have, you know, the may be more capable of training them. so there's going to be a military insecurity investment going forward. so the important point there and i would agree with it, is that term combat forces.
you know, because it doesn't mean we are going to leave militaryly totally. we can't and we shouldn't in my mind. >> why aren't you the ambassador? >> i don't know. >> don't you really know. >> no, i honestly don't know. >> i was never told, no, honestly. never told. >> an how much, how hard have you tried to find out? >> not hard, i mean you know i'm past it. >> here's the tore see -- story that we know. one that you had every indication they were about to nominate you and joe biden call kd you up to congratulate you. >> that is true. >> and jim jones the national security advisor says, what did he say? >> well, i actually called him because --. >> rose: you hadn't heard anything. >> i hadn't heard anything. and hi taken my orders from the secretary of state to get my business and get things in order, get the paperwork moving. we're going to move up the confirmation hearing. >> rose: from the secretary of state. >> from the secretary of state in her office. >> rose: saying get ready to go to iraq. >> yes, absolutely, and the sooner the better. ri an crock certificate coming out and i don't want
to gap this too long. and with her were two others her deputy and also bill burns. and she was providing direction to them. so you know, i was beginning to set up to resign from boards and put my finance house in or, kiss my wife good-bye. and nothing was happening. and i called jones and --. >> rose: and had i not called jones late that evening i would have read about it in "the washington post". >> rose: so what did he say? >> he said he didn't know. >> rose: didn't know. >> no. >> rose: but it wasn't going happen. >> no, it had been decided earlier. and i said no one told me. and he said well, i understood that the secretary was going to do that. and i heard from her office well she understood that jones was going to do it. and then the last conversation i had with general jones was that he would find out what happened and why. but i have never had that return call. >> rose: he never called you back. general jones never called you back to say what happened and why. >> no, he hasn't. >> rose: doesn't he owe that to you. >> it up to him to decide
rses well, first of all we're talking about two former marines, are we not. >> yes, we are. >> rose: of the highest level and friends. >> four stars, and friends. and admiration, dual mutual. >> mutual. >> rose: yeah. >> yeah. >> rose: explain this to me. i don't understand. >> i don't know, you are asking me to explain something i can't explain. you know. like i said i mean i say this again. i moved on. i don't worry about those kinds of things. i mean, you know --. >> rose: but you wanted the job. >> which would say, you know, for my country. >> rose: well, because are you -- exactly. >> yeah. >> rose: that is what you have done all your life. you have been a professional soldier. >> my -- is considerably better now. >> rose: i think we are doing all right. i can't, it is unfathomable to me that nobody pick approximates up the february and says to someone who has done what you have done for the country and served where you have served, and calls up and says this is what happened. i'm sorry. >> yeah. >> rose: at minimum.
>> yeah. >> rose: or say to you, also they say he offered you ambassadorship to saudi arabia with no disrespect to saudi arabia. you told them where they could put it. >> yeah. >> rose: is that what you did. >> yes, exactly. and it was no disrespect for saudi arabia. as a matter of fact, had i been offered the position first i would have accepted it. i think saudi arabia is critically important. maybe more important than we've given it credit in terms of importance. but as an afterthought t was an insult, i thought, to the importance of saudi arabia, not just to me. and you know, personally didn't want to take a position like that as sort of an afterthought or a throw away because i think it's too important a position. >> rose: suppose you called on to give a last lecture, say. and you want to tell us what you have learned about u.s. military and political role around the world. >> well, i think first of all, the united states is respected for what it stands for. our constitution, our ideals,
our attempts always to be a perfect nation. we're not always perfect but the idea that we want to be, you know, our reach always exceeds our grasp. and we always are constantly trying to better ourselves. we represent the best in the world. we represent the hope of the world. i'm the son of immigrants to this country. and i know my parents and grandparents came here because this was hope. this was a future. and for their son to become a four-star general and all the other things that you know the good lord has sent my way, this represented america. and so america has to understand it is what jefferson said that shining beacon on the hill. and we have to constantly live up to that image. in everything we do. whether it's the conduct, our conduct in conflict and war. whether it's how we do our diplomacy, how we interact with other nations. and so when things happen that are not american, you know, we go through the abu ghraibs and the other things that happen, it damages us. and it damages the hope in
the world that we represent. that's why, you know, we just discussed how the iranian people love americans. but maybe not american policy, you know. it is our freedoms, it's our education system. it's our rights. it's the way we approach things. when i became a marine i swore an oath to the constitution, not to the president, no, we don't swear an oath to a king or queen. we swear an oath to a concept. and ideal. and that's what we are willing to put our life on the line for. and we have to protect it. i have to put my life on the line to protect the centers that i might not agree with. but that's our system. and when we, if we ever compromise on that, if we ever move away from it, if we ever say for security reasons we won't take that risk and we will compromise, you know, human rights or our civil rights are or of what ever, i think we make a big mistake. we damage ourselves in the eyes of the world and we lessen ourselves in many respects. and is this that's the big
message. take the risk in order to preserve what you believe in. you know, i see this all the time. i saw this all the time in the military where we would not use you know, unlimited force for humanitarian reasons. that we try to observe the just war concept in theory, in what we did and proportionality and other things. it puts us at risk to do it. but it says more about who we are when we do these sorts of things. and i think sometimes we get pressured or out of fear or out of a sense of retaliation, we sometimes slip on those. and we usually come back and you know, every war we've had this happen. whether it was interment of japanese, or whether it was the alien and seditian acts or waiver of habeas corpus, you can go through the well litany. we have come back -- the civil war. we have come back and said we shouldn't have done that. and we learn that lesson and we try to move forward.
and i think when we're harmed in some way, we feel the need to react. we have to remember those things. >> tell me what it is that you think is the imperative for the united states in the world. and what is the nature of the new world? >> yeah. i think that the nature of the new world is not that easy to understand. you know, in the past we understood threats. they tended to be monolithic and clear. i mean during the world war -- cold war era we through what the threat was. now we have a very confused world. there isn't a single threat. it's vague and hard to describe. instability in the world and parts of the world that you know, create problems for us whether they affect the environment, our security, our economic well-being, it's a confused world and it's more difficult than to create a strategy for a confused world. you can see right now in the department of defence trying to decide what kind of military we're going to have
going forward. are we going to be committed and leaning toward these sorts of insurgerys an dealing with terrorism. are we going preserve balance in terms of -- conventional forces even though it may not be the most probable threat to us so we prevent adventurism by maybe potential adversarys that would use that. and so now is the time we need the marshalls and the kenans and the thinkers that can provide a strategic design for dealing with this very confused and a better term complex world. >> rose: so we need a marshall plan for 2010. >> and it may not just be a marshall plan as such it needs to be a marshal design. i don't think we invest enough in understanding what is happening in the world and why it changed too much and what are the dynamics. >> rose: we have a young president who came to office with a huge crisis at hand. global economic crisis. and a war in iraq and a war in afghanistan. >> right. >> rose: and wasn't going well and still to the going well. >> yes. >> rose: and other issues around the world.
do you have any sense that they are, that they have a strategy, they have a plan, that they have a worldview or have they just simply moved from crisis to crisis to crisis? >> i think in some cases they have tried to develop a strategic design. i think in afghanistan and pakistan they have clearly need to internationalize it, regionalize it, the steps going forward and planing it out. i think we have a very strong pentagon team with secretary gates and admiral mullen, i have deep respect for general petraeus and general mcchrystal and others. >> odierno. >> great respect for him. and that's done very well. the economic crisis came on us very fast, very quickly. some decisions were made. very controversial. it's been maybe more reaction area. but in a way i would say we have to understand the conditions. it came upon us that quickly. it was overwhelming. it was hard to think through
what might be done. you had the choices did not present a clear best option it was like the least worst option in going forward. and so i think they're still trying to get grips on the economic conditions and where it is, how deep the problem was, you know, whether the actions they've taken are the right ones, more, different. and there are all sorts of views. >> rose: and providing all the health care for them and all those sorts of things. >> do you think the president did too much at one time. >> no, i think he had to do it. >> rose: all the things. >> education, climate change, health care, were essential to be on the front burner from the beginning. >> yeah there were a lot of frontrunners, unfortunately. you couldn't take them in sequence or one at a time. now having said that, there are some things i would take issue with. i think the president got himself out in front too much like on iran. i don't think he should have been the lead on that. you know, i think he had to pick and choose where he personally was involved and where others might lead the way. i think the jury is still
out on some of this structure. all these special envoys, these superenvoys which superimposed on the existing structure, i mean does that really work? we have these, you mentioned richard holbrook and huge staff and nonconfirmable position. i mean maybe a constitutional issue here. i'm not criticizing it. it's a different approach but. >> rose: it confusing. >> yeah. >> rose: if you are in a foreign country, who do you speak to and who speaks for the -- >> that's right. and of course the team of rivals, strong personalities and egos have at some times caused some differences. who's making policy. they sort of rubbed and bumped up against each other. >> since this book is about leading the charge how do you measure (pam ba. >> i think certain qualities, obviously superb, his ability to communicate, his charisma and personal action, his sort of tireless willingness to commit and work issues. i think he's certainly understands how to lead a
very diverse nation in this case. the jury is still out on effectiveness and performance because we're going to look at the economy. we're going to look at afghanistan, middle east peace process, iran, a number of other issues and we haven't seen the outcome yet and some of the decisions made or the approaches taken or the processes or structure put in have come under some criticism and we have yet to see if these were the right ways to go. so i think on that side of it, because ultimately we're going to be judged on performance, you know, on success. every leader is. we see in sports a manager that the team loves, everybody likes, and appeals to everybody can't win a game. >> rose: doesn't go. >> and certainly he's winning games. >> rose: speak for a moment in terms it of leading the charge, i think in the world that we live in today, the capacity to use language well. >> yes. >> rose: and precisely and evocatively, both. >> i, you know, i think the
ability to communicate, to move people with words should not be underestimated. and i think maybe more so now because we are high communication society in the world today. information technology allows us to do that. we can project ourselves all over the world in the most remote places at a moment's notice. and i think that communication has taken on more importance than ever before because it's in realtime and it is highly competitive out there. you have others that have different messages that are competing with yours and so if you can bring that personality to bear, if you can bring that kind of emotional -- and the em pottee and the ability to get the message across and now with president obama. >> here in your book you
said personal development is one of the most significant attributes of a truly successful leader. think, if i had to pick a single indicator of a future top leader i would say it's the degree of his or her commitment and determination to improve themselves on their own. >> absolutely. >> see tell me about that before we go. because that's what i --. >> i met too many leader that have stopped learning. they think they have arrived. and i think to the day you lead leadership positions totally you should never stop learning and developing. to me i've spent almost 50 years in leadership positions. and i learn something new every day, usually from the lead, you know, from the bottom. i said i learned more from sergeants than generals in my time in the military. and if you are not constantly looking at ways to improve yourself, improve your confidence, improve your leadership ability to learn more, learn more about the environment you're functioning in. >> that is the changing environment you live in. >> and that has to be constantly done, you know,
and we have seen too many leaders shut down. they have old business models. old ways of doing what they do. they're outdated. they've lost touch. they continue to do things in a way that are making them fail at an ever more increasing ratement and they don't change. we've seen that in industry, in business, whether it's automobiles or airlines or whatever. and so they lose imagination, innovation, because the learning process, the analytical process of the environment they're in has ceased in some way. they think they've arrived and they don't need to do that. we've all encountered those kinds of people. >> who is the greatest military leader we've ever had? >> you know, arguably, george marshal, i think. he's also been a hero of mine. i think he was not only a great military leader, operationally tackically and strategyly, he proved to be a great secretary of defense and state. his design for how we would deal with the cold ware era set us up with a marshall
plan, the creation of nato, you know, working with the truman administration, restructuring government, 1947 national security act. and he was a key architect of much that. and it got us through half a century without us going to a hot war. and so he pit myed, i think, not just a military leader that can lead in a military context but had the scope and the breadth to lead in other areas too, in diplomacy, in understanding the future, in setting up our economic structure. and to looking at parts of the world and what we needed to do to change the conditions out there that lead to chronic warfare and chronic conflict. >> rose: if the president would call you tonight and say general, i need you, would you go serve? >> absolutely. if i felt i could serve my country, i don't think in terms of serving in administration or an individual, i think in terms of serving my country, if my country said they needed me, and i felt that i had something to offer and
contribute, it's just in my dna. you know, and i would do it. >> rose: general toni zinni, the book written with tony coltz is called leading the charge, leadership lessons from the battlefield to the boardroom. thank you. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: here is a sneak preview of tomorrow night's show t is a look at julie and july ya, the movie about julia child starring meryl streep and the director. >> were you spys? >> no, yes, no. (laughter) >> you were in the office of strategic services and you are not spies? >> i was only a file clerk. but paul, paul designed all the secret war rooms for general -- >> well, just maps and exhibits and things. >> he did. he single-handedly won the war. >> well, i had to.
someone did. i mean it was drag on, wasn't it? anyway, so there we were in china, just friends having dinner, and it turned out to be julia. it turned out to be julia all along. julyia, are you the butter to my bread and the breath to my life. i love you, darling girl happy valentine's day. >> happy valentine's day. >> she was irresistable. and every one fell in love with her. when she moved to france, i mean she lived in a couple of countries where she was even taller than tall. she was in china and then france and within a week everyone there knew her because she was so -- she stood out literally and she
relaxed everyone about the fact that she -- >> was bigger than they were. >> yes. >> a larger-than-life character even. >> she was the real deal. and i'm sad i never met her. >> me too. >> because i think she -- i think she would have been one of those, one of the few that just made you not remotely disappointed in them as a person. >> i felt such, you know, you never know, really, the ins and outs of a person, a personality. i mean it's hard enough to know, understand the people in your own family and your own parents. but to imagine that you know the inner life and conflicts and anxieties of a public person, it's very, very difficult. but it's endlessly interesting. it's what makes me want to be an actor.