tv Charlie Rose PBS August 2, 2014 12:00am-1:01am EDT
>> charlie: welcome to the program. tonight a conversation about america and the world with bruce riedel, senior fellow and director of the brookings intelligence project. >> i think the big lesson there is you can't just walk away from afghanistan. this is a very dangerous part of the world. it seems to be a place where important things happen because not only was it a global changer in terms of the end of the cold war, we can now say 25 years later it was the start of the global jihad. >> charlie: bruce riedel for the hour next. funding for "charlie rose" is provided by the following. >> there's a saying around here: >> rose: additional funding provided by:
>> and by bloomberg. a provider of multimedia news and information services worldwide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. to afghanistan, efforts to complete that country's first democratic transition continues. a deal wokerred by john kerry appears to be in peril. both agreed to an audit vote. differences emerging between the two champs. as the withdrawal of u.s. troops draws closer, taliban is making gains in the south and near kabul. bruce riedel knows afghanistan history well. senior fellow and director of the brookings intelligence project. he's written a new book called "what we won: america's secret
war in afghanistan from 1979 to 1989". i am pleased to have him back at this table. welcome. i should say anybody who wants to understand afghanistan and pakistan turns to you as you were the principal advicer of the president of the united states as he was formulating pakistan and afghanistan policy, even bob woodward said the intelligence of pakistan and afghanistan is still part of the world today. what's the future of afghanistan? >> we're at the moment of truth, charlie, in the future of afghanistan. first, the presidential election, we're on the precipice. one of the two individuals will have to admit that he lost. that's not going to be easy.
let's assume we can get over this hurdle, get behind the presidential elections. one of them is beyond the president. then next year we'll see whether the president's gamble that we could build an afghan army good enough. >> charlie: president of the united states. >> yes, that we could build an afghan army good enough to contain the taliban will pay off. it's always been gamble. at this point indications look s like the afghan army is holding by and large but troubling incidents. fights in kandahar this last week in which the afghan army looks like it did fairly poorly. we'll have to watch it closely for two years. it could unravel like iraq did.
it's why we don't set policy for january 2017 today. president obama backed himself in a corner on that. >> charlie: why? i don't know why. >> charlie: very few people think that was a wide thing to indicate by date when you would withdraw x number of troops. >> well, in any war one of the most important things you want to do is keep your enemy in doubt as to what your intentions are. it's always something of a mistake to signal your plans in advance to the enemy and telling them by this date we'll be at this level of forces and by this date down to zero. now the good news is, having decided to set these so far in advance, the president has time to change his mind and i think the lesson of iraq ought to influence that. we saw in iraq we used an egg timer approach.
>> charlie: right. turned out, afterwards, we had miscalculated whether al quaida or al quaidaism could recover and it recovered, huge. >> charlie: we also miscalculated in terms of what the government of iraq might be like. >> that's right. that's right. all i'm arguing for is we need to maintain flexibility. don't make decisions now that are going to hamstring you later on or even worse in this case. >> charlie: so you stay there until how long with the troops? >> oh, i'd continue on the path we're on moving down to half the number, moving down to 3,000, 4,000 in 2016, but i wouldn't decide what 2017 is today. i would just wait and see. maybe we'll need 2,000, maybe nobody. >> charlie: you know everything i know and everything else. but there are even stories about what happened to all the weapons the united states provided. they don't even have an accountability of what happened to the weapons and whose hands they're in. >> this president inherited a
disaster in afghanistan. when i did the strategic review in 2009, this country was on the verge of catastrophic failure in afghanistan. yes, no one did bookkeeping, no one had any idea who the enemy was. no one realized pakistan was playing both sides of the fence. >> charlie: and still are. and still are. we start from that base, of course, you're not going to know how much arms are in the afghan army at this stage. we didn't do our homework for seven years. it's a little hard in the conflict to catch up in the eighth and ninth year of the conflict. >> charlie: i'm asking this naively, why is it so hard to build an army in a country like afghanistan. >> very good question. the soviets in the '90s built an afghan air force which is three or four times larger than what we have built in afghanistan in the last decade. that's amazing to me. why could soviets train afghans
to fly airplanes and not us? couldn't we get russian manuals and teach them in russian? (laughter) i think it comes to a question of resources. for the longest time, no resources went to afghanistan, they all went to iraq. when we started flowing the resources in 2009 and 2010, we impose add timeline on how long it would be. we can still pull it out but along the way from the day we went into afghanistan in 2001, we have inflicted damage on ourselves over and over and over again in this war. >> charlie: was the biggest damage the invasion of iraq? >> absolutely, the best and the brightest of the united states intelligence community had been sent to afghanistan in 2001 in early 2002 they're all pulled out. >> charlie: where are all the smart people from the pentagon and state department and the national security council when that decision was made?
>> a lot of people protested it but they did it very quietly. >> charlie: they don't do this now because of afghanistan. >> right. >> charlie: not because to hav -- not becauseof the weapons destruction or not, but because what will happen in afghanistan will be eroded. >> if you want to take a country like afghanistan which in 2002 had known 20 years or war, had been invaded by not one but two superpowers, which had been poor to start with and try to get it back on track, you needed to put in resources. what did we do? we put in roughly 10,000 troops for the next three years. it was like putting a band-aid on a sucking chest wound. >> charlie: could we have done nothing about corruption? >> corruption in central and south asia -- let me put it differently. corruption across asia is a big challenge. >> charlie: what do you leave after al quaida.
>> after 2016 is some kind of residual counterterrorism capability, and i'll be clear, drones. doesn't mean we have to have drone strikes in pakistan every day or every month even, but i would like to know the united states of america has a unilateral counterterrorism capability to deal with the revival of al quaida in pakistan for the foreseeable future because the one thing we know for sure, the government of pakistan is not going to do anything about the revival of al quaida. >> charlie: i want to come there in a moment. with respect to the surge which came out of the decision-making you were involved in, was that a good idea? >> yes, i don't think we had much choice. >> charlie: because things were so awful? >> if you look at stanley mcchrystal's report, which thanks to "the washington post" anyone can read, it's on their web site -- >> charlie: and not courtesy of stan mcchrystal. >> he says we were on the verge of catastrophic defeat.
he says in that report that the prisons that we were operating in afghanistan in 2009, 2010 were actually incubators for the taliban and al quaida, and they controlled the prisons. in a counterinsurgency, if the prisons you're running are, inc. baited for the enemy -- incue baited for the enany, you in deep, deep trouble. >> charlie: let's flip to pakistan. there is always been allowed a safe haven for people fighting the united states and the afghan government so they can slide back at will. >> that's right. >> charlie: and people i've interviewed about this table says you can never win as long as they can do that. do you agree with that. >> it is awfully hard. very few countries in one
generation fight the same war twice. we've done that in afghanistan. the biggest takeaway for me, it's a whole lot easier if you have the pakistanis overthrowing the government in kabul than if you're in kabul trying to deal with an insurgency by the i.s.i.s. it wasn't charlie wilson's war. it was the pakistani dictator's. >> charlie: a great friend of charlie wilson. >> a great friend of charlie wilson. we've tried to do the opposite in the last 12 years and it's very, very, very hard to do. the only solution that makes any sense is to build up an afghan army that can deal with that sanctuary for the long haul. >> charlie: what you've said which is an interesting historical point and wonderful reading here, it is the idea that we all are familiar with
the idea that the soviet union came in and essentially occupied and controlled afghanistan, and conventional lore is the afghanistan tribes with the help of mujahedeen kicked them out. charles wilson played a role in that. but you're saying who really kicked the russians out was the president of pakistan, a military dictator. >> that's right. i'll put it this way, jimmy carter and ronald reagan made the same kind of deal that winston churchill and roosevelt made with stalin. we need add bad guy on our side. there have been consequences inevitably. >> charlie: which were? i think jimmy carter and ronald reagan knew there would be consequences.
if you look at the whole thing, the secret war in the 1980s was a global game changer. the cost of $3 billion and not a single american casualty, the soviet union was defeated, within six months the berlin wall fell, the warsaw pact imploded and two years later the soviet union went out of business. the cold war ended. >> charlie: began with kicking the soviet union out of afghanistan? >> i think that was the catalyst. we'll never know if the soviet union had not been defeated in afghanistan what would have happened. >> charlie: we'll never know if somebody different than gorbachev had been head of the party and resisted more. >> that's right. but we know what did happened. they lost and the cold war came to an end and with that the dangerous of thermonuclear war between the united states and russia. >> charlie: were there lessons to be learned for the united
states before it kicked out al quaida tore taliban? >> the big lesson is you can't walk away from afghanistan. this is a very dangerous part of the world. it seems to be a place where important things happen because not only was it a global changer in the end of the cold war, we can now say it was the start of the global jihad 25 years later. >> charlie: at the same time it was often repeated by the media, every analyst would come to the table and say if you read your history you know the afghans are so independently and tough and tribal that in the end they will kick you out. look what happened to the russians and the united states. >> it's bad history. a lot of countries conquered afghanistan. alexander the great, the arabs, the mon gulls, the moguls, the british actually won the second angelo-afghan war. that's why history is helpful. when somebody gives you the nice little slogans, you wonder, is
that really right. >> charlie: right. and you think of the exceptions and know it's not. >> right. >> charlie: so then the dictator of pakistan gets some credit, in your judgment, a lot of credit -- >> yeah. >> charlie: primary credit. right. >> charlie: with the help of american arms to did the russians o >> right. >> charlie: then what happened in afghanistan? >> we lost interest and what happened because terrible civil war. the city of kabul was not destroyed in the war between the mujahedeen and the russians. the united states walked away from it. the consequence the rise of the taliban and the end the rival of al quaida in afghanistan and consequently 9/11. now, looking back, we can all see this. to be fair to president george bush, sr., at the time, he had a pretty full plate -- the disintegration of the soviet union, creation of countries
like ukraine, proliferation of eastern europe. iraqi invasion of kuwait, east germany. afghanistan which had been one or two on president reagan's priority list went down to maybe number 50 on president bush's priority list. >> charlie: bush 41. yes, it disintegrated into civil war and became broken. >> charlie: to look at the movie or read george crowell's book, you get the impression this was part of the warning and admonishment of charlie wilson. >> it was. >> charlie: we're abandoning this place and it's going to be disastrous. >> i think charlie wilson's war is a great book and a better movie, puts a too much importance on a texas congressman but -- >> charlie: a very interesting
one. >> yes. >> charlie: pakistan and osama bin laden, tell me what you know. >> what i know for sure is that osama bin laden arrived in pakistan within a week after the soviet invasion. the soviet invasion takes place christmas eve 1979. osama bin laden shows up there within a week or so. before the first c.i.a. arms and money even arrive, he starts off as basically a fundraiser for the mujahedeen, but then he becomes what i call a combat engineer. he was building tunnels and underground storage facilities for the i.s.i. to assist the afghan mujahedeen. he actually built one inside afghanistan -- >> charlie: that was the family business in saudi arabia. >> yes. >> charlie: construction. he was an expert at construction. he was a real engineer and knew what he was doing and had access to his family's huge fortune and all their construction gear.
the i.s.i. had to be intimately involved in all of that. the i.s.i. -- >> charlie: so there was a relationship between the i.s.i., the pakistani secret intelligence service, and osama bin laden from the get-go? >> absolutely. second thing that we know for sure was the i.s.i. who introduced osama bin laden to mullah omar in 1988, when osama bin laden came back to afghanistan. remember he left at the end of the war, goes off to the sudan, the united states gets him chased out of the sudan, comes back to afghanistan, it's the i.s.i. that connected the two. third thing, when president clinton fired tomahawk missiles after the attack on the two american embassies in east africa, tried to kill him. >> charlie: right. we know who was at that location, 20i.s.i. officers, ten of whom were killed. we know that for a fact. now, what were they doing at that location? obviously, they were getting ready to meet osama bin laden.
>> charlie: didn't he leave and turn one way rather than another way or something? >> there are all kinds of stories. he may have been there, we may have been half an hour off, we don't know. >> charlie: okay. what we do know is who was there, and that's the point, the i.s.i. was there. when this connection, when this family relationship came ton a e to an end or if it ever did is the one of the biggest mysteries we'll never know, between the i.s.i. and osama bin laden. >> charlie: if it ever came to an end? >> if it ever came to an end. because the hideout inpaction where the seals found him and brought justice to him in 2011, very suspicious. >> charlie: he could not have existed like that without -- >> he was hiding in a facility less than a mile from the front door to have the pakistani equivalent of west point. it's a closed military zone. pakistani generals routinely
overflew that facility in helicopters day in and day out. none of them ever saw this tall man walking around on the roof? nobody in the pakistani intelligence service ever wondered what's going on in that building? the people in the region referred to the house as the wa wazeerastad house. >> charlie: why would they know that? >> it must have been clear to the people in the neighborhood that somebody important -- >> charlie: and did you believe this went all the way up to the chief of staff of the army? >> i know a lot about the i.s.i., i've studied about them a lot and worked with them. i.s.i. is not a rogue institution. you do not get promoted in the i.s.i. by blowing up embassies and not telling anyone you're going to do it. >> charlie: you wouldn't be hiding i.s.i. without telling -- >> it wouldn't be a good career
move. >> charlie: so he had to know and is lying because i've had one u.s. official after another sit at this table say well, as far as we know, they didn't know. >> we have no smoking gun, that's true. there is no smoking gun. right? what do you expect to find? a little button inside the hideout that says in trouble, put this button and get the general and the i.s.i., i don't think i'll find that. >> charlie: if anybody in i.s.i. knew, he would. >> yes. >> charlie: it's nature of the beast. >> exactly. >> charlie: doesn't say anything good about him does it. >> no. >> charlie: and we thought he was our -- >> pakistani generals have remarkable capacity to persuade americans they're really on our side, musharraf on up. to give jimmy carter and ronald
reagan credit, i think they looked into his eyes and knew he was on our side this week and for this objective, they didn't come to the objective he was eternally on our side. >> charlie: they talked to musharraf and said, we need you fanned you're against it we'll do terrible things to you. >> i'm sure when he tells you, you're either with us or against us, it's a powerful threat. >> charlie: you know what he means. >> exactly but i think general musharraf said, okay, have to make adjustments and play the game carefully, but in time i can go back to my -- >> charlie: called situational ethics. >> exactly. you know, in his book which is a fantastic book, musharraf's
memoirs should be in every book. he said if pakistan and the unitedstates went to war india would be the biggest beneficiary. i don't think he really did a war game but i think it tells us that the pakistani general's first thought always is what is about india, how does this influence india, how does this influence our relationship with india. >> charlie: kashmir has a huge impact, subjec doesn't it? >> exactly. >> charlie: afghanistan, you believe they had to know when he came there because we established musharraf never lies, he sat in this chair and said, look, couldn't have been there five years. i know that's what you think but he was not there for five years. i said longer, shorter? he said shorter, wasn't there five years. >> right after osama bin laden was killed, musharraf pointed out to a pakistani press, oh, i remember that house, i remember
jogging by it. he then had the item pulled off the internet because it was too revealing about exactly what musharraf should or should not have known. musharraf's motives are hard to understand. >> charlie: this is wayoff the wall for me. we know a bit about how to turn people, about how to get people for a price to come over to our side. we've done that in our history, yes? >> right. >> charlie: how can we find somebody at i.s.i. to say he's across from the military academy? >> because the i.s.i. regards the c.i.a. as threat number one, not only in terms of us penetrating them for information like that, but us penetrating them for the most important information, where are pakistan's nuclear weapons. when we went in and got osama
bin laden, the reaction of most pakistani generals wasn't, oh mix god, but the response was if they can do this, can they steal our nuclear arsenal? one person versus a couple hundred nuclear weapons was hugely different but that's their reaction. tells you they regard us as the existential threat along with india. >> charlie: it is sometimes said that if in fact iron gets a nuclear weapon that the saudis would go to their friends in pakistan that they've given a lot of money to and say we need weapons. is that your understanding of what might happen? >> certainly a lot of smoke about that. very close relations. there's no closer relationship than the one between saudi arabia and pakistan. prime minister sharif this week
is spending time in saudi arabia with the royals. he lived there in exile for most of this century. i don't have proof positive or anyone has a signed contract but if saudi arabia goes to pakistan and says we need nuclear weapons, it's going to be pretty hard for any pakistani leader to say no. >> charlie: i hear you. there's also this question, do the saudis worry a lot about the fact that something like the arab spring could come to them? >> absolutely. when the arab spring began, king abdullah invested $130 billion in buying off the saudi population. that's a lot of money even for saudis. that tells me that he and the other royals were worried it could happen to him and they responded in the best way they
could, make sure everyone's got everything they want, try to buy everybody off. i think it worries them a lot. i think it's one of the reasons they supported the military coup in egypt. they were the first literally in minutes to endorse the i.s.i. -- >> charlie: and the egyptian government is less dependent on the united states? >> yes. >> charlie: a point they make every chance they have. >> i think the vawdies were scared to death. i think they feel a little but not a whole lot more comfortable. the middle east that surrounds them must look very dangerous. the irani enemy, i.s.i.s., saudi, syria and iraq, which are
islamic extremists but not the pro saudi islamic extremists. the guy want to be the pro kalif. >> charlie: he wants to be the king of all islam. >> if you're sitting in the royal palace in riyadh, it's pretty dangerous. you've had some success in egypt, you roll back history for how long? >> charlie:. sisi has a longstanding relationship with the saudi intelligence service. >> charlie: to understand history, you look at the relationship. >> right. when sisi took over and king abdullah called him five minutes later, i think that had been prearranged. i don't think he was watching
cnn and said, let me call you up. i think it was partially made in saudi arabia. >> charlie: what's going to happen to the king of jordan? >> king of jordan is in a tough place. i was there a few months ago. the refugee situation is staggering. >> charlie: more than a million now? >> it's staggering. and there's, you know, no likelihood these people will go home anytime in the next few years, maybe even longer than that, putting an enormous strain on a country which is already filled with refugees, palestinians. this country has more than half the population of our palestinian refugees or our sons and daughters or grandsons and daughters of palestinian refugees. it's a huge burden on the king. the one thing i think everyone agrees about what we should do in the middle east today is make sure king abdullah and jordan stays in power, that we do everything we can to help him,
economic assistance needs to be as open as they can to keep the little abdullah in power. >> charlie: to give him the capacity to keep his people on his side. >> to manage through this crisis. >> charlie: right. absolutely critical. >> charlie: people respect him in washington, don't they? >> i think king abdullah has a lot of respect and it's bipartisan respect. >> charlie: his father was the legendary lion of jordan. >> right, talk about big shoes to fill. >> charlie: that's my point. he has the admiration of people. >> when his father died in 1999, i went to the funeral, and we talked with king abdullah, president clinton and his team talked to king abdullah, and he looked like a scared young man inheriting a lot of trouble with many, many enemies. he hadn't expected this.
remember, his father only changed the line of succession the last week or so. i think, looking back on it 15 years later, his performance has been very, very impressive. >> charlie: the u.s. is vitally interested in him maintaining power. what do you think of khalid mashaal? >> he's very determined man. he had an assassination attempt in the '90s. i was working for president clinton when the phone call came in from king husain saying i need your help, they've tried o
kill a guest inside my country. president clinton called up -- >> charlie: is that because king husain called b.b. or because president clinton called b.b. and said get that -- over there. >> probably both but i think clinton's call was critical in this. i think clinton's call showed b.b. he was in a really tough place. >> charlie: he had reached too far. >> and his next choice after this was he fired the head of ththe mossad who carried it out. >> charlie: fascinating. what does hamas want?
>> wants to survive in gaza and wants to come out of this war having taken everything israel can throw at it and still be standing. >> charlie: therefore becoming once again more prominent in the arab world and in the palestinian world? >> most important in the palestinian world to see that they are what they call themselves the resistance and that fatah and the palestinian authority are collaborators. that's what they want to show at the end of all this, and it's a terrible tragedy that so many gazaens and israelis are living in hell today. >> charlie: they came there and the israelis came to you, we're leaving, giving it to you. this was ariel sharon.
>> right. >> charlie: and he probably was the only person who could have done that. >> was the only person who could do it. >> charlie: and they just throw it away. did they throw it away because they have real grievances? >> they have real grievances. >> charlie: then. in hindsight, which is much easier, is unilateral withdrawal was a mistake. sharon should have negotiated a withdrawal in which the palestinian authority got credit. by doing it unilaterally, he undermined -- >> charlie: he didn't want to wait. >> he didn't, and he didn't like the palestinian authority. >> charlie: true. what's going to happen in gaza? >> it will get worse before it gets -- >> charlie: and how worse will it get? >> it could mean israel reoccupies, in effect, the gaza strip. it may never say it's doing that, but if the israeli defense
forces stay where they are today they will be occupying about half to have the gaza strip. >> charlie: and they believe they may have to do that because they want to wipe out hamas once and for all? is that the goal? >> what they said is they want to eliminate the tunnels. >> charlie: yeah, i understand that. what did they mean? >> they'd like to see hamas collapse, but that's dangerous, too, because who's going to take hamas' place? >> charlie: they have more radical elements, already. >> right. >> charlie: is it possible for hamas or fatah or palestinian authority to form a palestinian government that is not dedicated to the overthrow of israel and believes it's possible to live in a two-state, side-by-side solution? >> i believe that, at the end of the day, the solution to the arab-israeli conflict has been staring us in the face since
bilthe2,000s in camp david. i think two-state solution along the 1969 borders -- >> charlie: some definition of right of return that will work. >> the right of return will be primarily to the west bank of gaza. >> charlie: right. it's been staring us in the face now for well over 15 years. it's a question of political will. it's increasingly -- >> charlie: on both sides. on both sides. >> charlie: prepared to take the risk and to trust the other side. but verify. >> it's increasingly clear to me that that political will will probably not generate from within the region. it's going to take the united states in a very tough series of negotiations to provide the political will. >> charlie: could it be aided by the arab league or some arab -- >> there are a lot of people who could help. whether they will or not is another question. there are a lot of people that
can help. >> charlie: why does qatar support hamas? >> qatar is a very unusual state. >> charlie: you're telling me. qatar foreign policy can be explained by a rivalry with saudi arabia which is completely imbalanced. qatar is a tiny little city state and saudi arabia is a big country and home of the two holiest places in islam, but qatar doesn't want to be told by saudi arabia how to do its business and it has enough money it can spite the saudis and do whatever it wants to do and it's become a habit. saudis are anti-muslim brotherhood and qatar will be pro. >> charlie: and they created al-jazeera. >> and military base in the region. >> charlie: they're playing both sides all the time.
>> playing every side all the time. >> charlie: makes them smart? makes them clever, i don't know about smart. from the saudi standpoint, qatar is the village that got out of control. that's what my saudi friends tell me. >> charlie: the village that got out of control. what are they prepared to do about the village out of control? >> they have been pretty tough on the qatarys this year. >> charlie: they're talking all the time. >> they're all talking. they may be doing something else. it's very interesting qatar's bid to who' host the world cup n soccer has been the subject of all these revelations of corruption. i wonder where these revelations are coming from? >> charlie: where do you think? a neighbor? >> i don't know but it wouldn't shock me at all. >> charlie: so they support hamas just to spite the rest of their neighbors or because they want some kind of islamist
credit. >> that's an important factor as the only arab country which it is today actively supporting hamas, the qataris are getting credit on the street. >> charlie: israel. do you believe that they want a two with-state solution, and do you believe they really want the palestinians, or do they like the situation now and that they want just to play that out? >> i think most israelis -- >> charlie: i'm not talking about that. i'm talking about the people in
power. >> i think benjamin netanyahu was content with the situation and felt they could managed it and keep it where it is. he is not a supporter of the two-state solution. >> charlie: so they are prepared to just carry it out? and suppose you had b.b. on the phone now as you did when you were in the room with clinton, i mean, wouldn't you tell him it's in your national security interest to solve this problem? >> i would tell him it's in israel's national security interest to find a solution that strengthens the palestinians who want to make a deal with you, and you figure it out, mr. prime minister, how do do that. i'm certainly willing to give you my advice but that ought to be your prime objective out of this whole thing. >> charlie: the national
security interest with israel -- obviously he hated going to white house and shaking yasser arafat's hand. that's why camp david happened. >> the last detail on the national security service publicly said b.b. failed to focus on the issue. this is the man who spent hours and hours in meetings with the prime minister over many, many years, and i think he probably has a right. >> charlie: so let me understand that. he focuses on iran to diverta tension from the palestinian issue. >> right. >> charlie: he says iran is the big enemy and nuclear weapons by iran will be the worst thing that can happen. >> and i think it's obvious to anyone watching tv today that the relationship with the palestinians that aren't 1,000 miles a way but are next
door, israelis and palestinians have to find a way to live with each other, otherwise they're going to be going through this -- >> charlie: an economically vibranvibrant palestine next tol is what is best for israeli's long-term security. >> exactly. >> charlie: and is time not only israel's side? >> if you look at development of al quaidaism in the region, the idea, i don't think time is on israel's side. the idea of al quaidaism, that jihad is the only solution to the problem of islam -- >> charlie: is growing? it's growing. you see it in iraq, syria,
yemen. five years ago, you didn't see al quaidaism in syria, you didn't see it in egypt. >> charlie: and it's growing. those trends are very disturbing, if you are someone who carse about the survival and kurt of the state of israel. >> charlie: it's a threat to the security of a lot of places, isn't it? >> absolutely. but target number one, osama bin laden, everything he said in his entire career, in the end of the day, when we have defeated the americans, then we'll move on to israel. that's target number one. >> charlie: he didn't want to defeat the americans, he just twooptd drive them out -- >> osama bin laden basically taught what he did or was a part of in winning the war against the soviets in afghanistan in the 1980s and said let's do the same thing to the americans.
we will encourage them to come into afghanistan and then we'll fight a guerilla war against them, sooner or later they will be exhausted and defeated and go home. he didn't realize he was going to get a bonus, that the americans were not only going to go into afghanistan but also to iraq and he would have two quagmires to bog the united states down in. fortunately, especially in afghanistan, we were able to find afghans who wanted to be on our side. that's the big difference between the soviet war and the american war. in the soviet war, the vast majority of afghans were on the side of the mujahedeen, 90%. in this war, the vast majority of afghans were on our side, at least up till now. >> charlie: is this the most alarming thing you see on the world front now which is this rise of islamism in so many other places, or jihaddism -- a
very important point to make -- jihaddism, is that the most vexing challenge to america? because it's not a state. >> right, it's vexing in two very dangerous ways. al quaida 3.0, the third generation of al quaida, is a threat to us directly in terms of attacks on the united states homeland. the national counterterrorism center has already raised the alarm and all these westerners going to iraq and syria are sooner or later going to come back and, just like the volunteers who went to afghanistan in the 1980s, they're going to come home with an agenda, and it's not just going to be to burnish their medals from the battles they have been in, it's going to be new battles ahead. that concerns me number one. number two is that the global jihadists in pakistan which are under pressure now from the american drone operations are
the most dangerous at the end of the day because what they want to do is provoke a war between two nuclear weapons states, india and pakistan, and that to me is the worst possible outcomes of all the foreign policy -- >> charlie: and why? because groups who have been attacked see india as an artificial creation and they want to restore the mogul empire. they're as crazy as this caliphate in iraq but more dangerous because they're playing with nuclear weapons. >> charlie: have they come close to steal a nuclear weapon? clear they have enough money to buy one. >> it certainly is a vexing issue. >> charlie: yeah. i think if you look at the revelations we got from snowden about what america's top intelligence priorities are, if you look at that paper -- >> charlie: what does it say?
it says pakistan's nuclear weapons and the security of the nuclear weapons are among the top three or four priorities in the world. >> charlie: to make them secure? >> helping the pakistans to make them secure but the pakistans don't want our help because they are convinced any help we give them in securing the nuclear weapons is an act to clandestinely figure out where the nuclear weapons are and they're probably right about that. >> charlie: why won't they bleat us talk to a.q. khan? >> a.q. khan didn't pirate nuclear material all around the world by himself. he had the help of the pakistani army. he was able to fly around the world in pakistani air force jets and sell stuff and have it delivered. the last time i checked on
expedia you can't get apactiony jet to deliver you or stuff for you. the pakistani military was involved and a lot of the politicians were intimately involved like bhutto. >> charlie: bhutto was involved in what way? >> the early negotiations with north korea on exchanging nuclear secrets in terms of missile parts. she even admits it in her memoirs. if mr. khan was on your show and told you the truth, it would be highly embarrassing for the government of pakistan and for many, many pakistanis. >> charlie: yet he's a national hero in pakistan because he gave them nuclear power. >> the father of nuclear weapons, the only muslim country with a nuclear weapon. >> charlie: who's next to get it, iran, obviously. >> they're the closest by far. >> charlie: do you think they will? >> i think there is a chance for
this deal because i think seven parties to this deal would prefer a deal to nuclear war. (indiscernible) and the iranians. >> charlie: the iranians don't want to be decimated. >> they will put a hard deal on the table. what concerns me is with the ukrainian situation we'll see the russians fall off the wagon mere. >> charlie: suppose jimmy carter said to the " ayatollah, i'm going to level iran and we have the nuclear weapons to do it and i realize i'm sacrificing great americans but i'm preparing to do it because you're setting a precedent, this is embarrassing, worse than embarrassing, it's a declaration of war and we want to win this war and we realize there will be casualties but you will be one of them, what would have happened? >> i suspect he would have
called our bluff. >> charlie: because he was a religious fanatic? >> right. but i will grant you -- >> charlie: were you aware of information to believe that? >> i worked on that problem for 444 days. there was pretty strong information that khomeini was prepared to sacrifice his country. >> charlie: what kind of information? >> intelligence people around him who knew him. but i will give you a counterpoint. when jimmy carter was told that the iranians were seriously thinking about putting the hostages on trial as war criminals and spies, he sent that message to khomeini that if you do this there will be war, and they never went on trial. >> charlie: but, i mean, that seems to me to be contradictory. >> i'm afraid my answer is
contradictory on that one. my gut tells me khomeini would have called our bluff, at least in the early days of the whole thing. but when carter did send a very, very tough message, i think in august, september of 1980, they never went on trial. >> charlie: and then do you know any other way to have gotten the hostages out other than the way they tried? >> no, and the desert one tragedy was, of all the possible outcomes of that mission, much better than some of the disasters that could have happened later on. >> charlie: like? had we gotten into tehran, getting those hostages and the commandos all the way outside of iran would have been a really difficult mission. that's why bob gates, when he looked at the mission to kill
osama bin laden, his mind was just preoccupied with desert one. desert one was a real, real, real long shot, and it failed early on. it could have failed even more catastrophically on the streets of tehran. >> charlie: he was in the c.i.a. when carter was president. >> that's right. >> charlie: the interesting thing, as i understand it from him, is he was just prepared to go and bomb the building and take him out that way and not know exactly whether he was there or not. it was a very gutsy call by president obama. >> it was a remarkable call. >> charlie: where would you have been on that. >> i think he did the right thing. >> charlie: would you have advised him to do that? >> i would have. >> charlie: suppose bob gates would have stood up and said, you know how hard this is, bruce, this could turn out like desert one, what would you say? >> i have a long history of bob gates telling me i'm wrong or right about something.
i think the world of bob gates but i think the president did the right thing. one more thing i'd say about that call, when he decided to send the seal team in, he also made the decision not to tell the pakistanis. when you stand back, think about it for a minute, by 2011, two presidents, bush and obama, had given pakistan $25 billion -- billion dollars -- in aid since september 11. why? to fight al quaida. at the moment of truth, when the president of the united states was told this is where he is, he decided he couldn't trust -- >> charlie: even though he'd given them $25 billion. >> and we continued. >> charlie: and what if we hadn't given them the $25 billion? >> $25 billion was, in my view, a worthwhile effort in seeing if we could bribe the pakistanis, and we know the answer. >> charlie: we couldn't. we couldn't.
so my response today was we tried it, was worth the try, but don't keep trying to bribe them, it's not going to work. >> charlie: did you believe this mission could work? in other words, jim mccraven said to me in interviews, he said, i said to the president, this is what we do, we take he continuesers into places and pick up people and bring them home, that's what we do, and the president said, okay. >> i think that ten years of warfare in iraq and afghanistan have honed the abilities and capabilities of our special forces to a level unique in the world. >> charlie: what do you write in your memoir? >> there's a lot i can't talk about so wouldn't be much point in that. >> charlie: thank you for coming. >> my pleasure. >> charlie: the book, "what we want, america's secret war in afghanistan 1979 to 1989", which we've talked about. bruce riedel. thank you.
pleasure. >> pleasure. >> charlie: thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and early episodes visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org happy was made possible in part by...