Newsnight with Aaron Brown
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
AARON BROWN, HOST: We’re joined now by Andrew Breitbart, formerly of the Drudge Report, currently a contributor to the Huffington Post, and Amy Goodman, of Pacifica Radio, where she hosts "Democracy Now." It’s good to see you both.
Amy, you say that we need to pull the American troops out now, yesterday, not tomorrow, right now. What do you imagine would happen in Iraq if we did that?
AMY GOODMAN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: I think it’s more important to look at what is happening in Iraq right now, today.
BROWN: What do you imagine would happen if we pulled out?
GOODMAN: Well, I think it can’t be worse than what we’re looking at right now. We are talking about now, I mean, your own reporters can’t go outside of their hotels, the roads are all cut off outside Baghdad. In this month alone, you compare it to June, 2004, a year ago—then, 42 U.S. soldiers were killed; now, it’s about double that.
BROWN: So you think if actually—if the Americans pulled out tomorrow, Iraq would be a safer place, a better place, a more stable place than it is now?
GOODMAN: I think the U.S. troops, the occupation is the magnet for the violence. It has become the target. And I think that has to be…
BROWN: And the jihadis would go home?
GOODMAN: … removed.
BROWN: The jihadis would go home?
GOODMAN: I think that Iraqis need to be able to deal with their own country, and clearly, the occupation is the most serious irritant. It’s even what people, the Iraqis voted for, when they made their decision in their election, they were voting for parties that were saying the occupation must end. I think Iraqis should be respected.
BROWN: We’ll come back to that. Andrew, do you think that the country would feel more comfortable with the policy if the policy had more specific benchmarks?
ANDREW BREITBART, AUTHOR: I actually agree with that. I think that the president was great tonight, but where has he been the last few months? I think what the president needs to do now, because I think the polls will start going in his way as they do after speeches of this magnitude, I think he needs to start dictating how we’re going to be victorious in Iraq. We can’t just explain why we’re there. We need to declare how we’re going to be victorious. Not against insurgents, but terrorists who are there at the behest of Osama bin Laden, who has called it the third world war in Iraq.
BROWN: I’m not sure, honestly, I’ve never quite understood the mathematics here, whether the most difficult problem we face there are the foreigners, because certainly for a long time in the occupation they were not the most difficult task we faced there. How it became that they are now?
BREITBART: Well, I mean, we’re also dealing with the remnancy of the Baathist regime. So either way, you’re dealing with bad guys.
BROWN: And all bad guys are the same in this context?
BREITBART: I don’t think that that’s a difficult thing to figure out.
BROWN: I’m just trying to make sure that I understand. Yes.
GOODMAN: "The New York Times" last week was revealing what was in a CIA report that said right now, not when Saddam Hussein was there, but right now, Iraq is becoming a training ground for more extremists than occurred in the beginning of al Qaeda in Afghanistan. These are people training in assassination and kidnapping. This all has to end.
BROWN: I agree with that. I’ll agree with that, that it is in many respects a worse place now than it was, in the terrorist sense, before the invasion. What I don’t think I get is how our leaving makes that situation better. I think you do have an Afghanistan.
GOODMAN: I mean, you know, the saying from Vietnam, you’re destroying the village in order to save it. That certainly applies today.
BROWN: Yeah, I lived through the era.
GOODMAN: So that certainly applies today. And I think what we have to look at, is an Iraq that the U.S. is not forcing to privatize, that is getting out, so it’s free to sell its own oil, where the U.S. military, in their terrible fear of absolutely horrific situation is not killing Iraqis and insurgents coming from all over at this point are not coming in and also killing Iraqis.
BROWN: Amy, thank you. Andrew, last word literally, 10 seconds. Do you think the president bought himself six months?
BREITBART: No, I don’t. I think he bought himself another two weeks, and then he needs to declare battle against MoveOn.org and people who have defined victory downwards. I mean, it’s been a disaster the last few months.
GOODMAN: And the president has to stop…
BROWN: Good. Thank you. Thank you.
GOODMAN: … connecting 9/11 with Iraq.
BROWN: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you both. Good to see you.