Sen. Dianne Feinstein & Gens. McChrystal & Hayden on "State of the Union"

Sen. Dianne Feinstein & Gens. McChrystal & Hayden on "State of the Union"

By State of the Union - January 27, 2013

CROWLEY: Joining me now, retired U.S. Army General Stanley McChrystal. He is the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and author of the new book "My Share of the Task;" and former CIA director and retired U.S. Air Force General Michael Hayden.

I'm the only one without a military title here today. Thank you all so much for joining us.

I want to start out with Chuck Hagel, because he is what's top on the minds at the Pentagon I think. From what you know of Chuck Hagel, and he would be the first enlisted man ever to run the Pentagon, the first Vietnam vet, from what you know, what sort of reception would he get from the military?

HAYDEN: I think it would be fine. I know Senator Hagel. He was on my oversight committee when I was in the intelligence community. He was a member -- and this is not a universal condition -- he was a member that you could talk to, have an honest dialogue not necessarily disagree, but on a personal base have a candid exchange of views. You could always speak with him. And frankly given my time in uniform, that's a tremendous attribute.

So I actually think this will work out well.

CROWLEY: And you wrote in your book about the trust deficit that happens when the military gets used to a new person. You were talking about the president at the time. But I wonder if having a Pentagon chief with the credentials of having fought in a war, sort of helps with the trust deficit?

MCCHRYSTAL: I don't think it's a prerequisite, but I think it's very helpful. And I think it'll start off.

And then of course he'll build relationships as he goes. He has already got a lot of credibility. I don't think it will be a problem.

CROWLEY: And do either of you see red flags? You look at it, this is a man who has talked about the Pentagon is bloated. There's too much -- I mean, you heard the criticism. Any red flags out there?

HAYDEN: Look, these are issues that any incoming secretary is going to have to face. We know that. Now I'll give a broad macro view. If you look at the outgoing team and the incoming team from a Gates -- Clinton -- Gates, Panetta, compare it to the new guys all right, which would be Kerry, and Hagel, and then John Brennan. On balance, I think the new team thinks more like the president thinks when it comes to foreign policy. This is going to be a team that might not push back as much with regard to cuts or withdrawals or smaller footprints or reluctance to deal with big footprints into new areas. So I think though may be difference in policy, but in terms of the worth of the man for him and the job they receive there, not at all.

CROWLEY: Well, since you went there, let me just sort of switch where I was going and ask you about the smaller footprint, because we do have coming up the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan at the end of the year. And we are seeing Republicans already going, no, I think we need -- we had Lindsay Graham on. He talked about up to 20,000. He says it's too important not to leave a substantial footprint there,

And yet I think that the general is right that we now have a team that seems to be more in sync with President Obama and they want a very small footprint. You talked in your book about training the Afghan security forces. Are they ready for a total withdrawal of U.S. troops when the time comes?

MCCHRYSTAL: I think they are not ready for lack of a strategic partnership in America. I certainly wouldn't try to tell senior officers exactly how many people are required. But I think we've offered a strategic partnership to Afghanistan.

CROWLEY: Does that mean troops, strategic partnership?

MCCHRYSTAL: It means trust. And it's more difficult to put a perfect calculation to that.

The problem with the Afghan government and people is they lack certainty. They lack confidence. They're terrified about 2014, not because there's been no progress, but because they're afraid they'll lose that progress.

They think that in 1989 we walked away from them. We turned our back on the region. And there's a good case to be made for that. And they don't want to see that again.

I think what they need to see from America is enough engagement to show that we are not going to abandon them.

CROWLEY: And what is that?

MCCHRYSTAL: I once asked President Karzai what he wanted, how many troops. He says they want American business. And I want American business here to be making a profit, because if you are here and making a profit, then you will have a stake in our security.

I think that's one kind of indicator. I think it will probably be necessary for us to provide some security help. But they have got to stand up. It's time for them to protect their sovereignty for the most part. And we have got to figure out how best to do that.

CROWLEY: General Hayden, a number?

HAYDEN: I've given numbers in the past, Candy. I've said 10,000 to 15,000. And let me give you a sense of what that comprises. Number one, training. Two logistics.

CROWLEY: Which has been going on since well before even you were there, right?

HAYDEN: It will have to continue.

And logistics, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, because no one can provide that the way we do. Occasional indirect fire with Afghan forces on extremists that American firepower could be called on. And then finally our own purpose for being there, very narrowly defined, when we have to do go and conduct counterterrorism missions, we have got a sufficient footprint and basing structure from which to do that. But this is correct. OK. Just the way it is laid out here. This is about the confidence in our commitment. And the Afghans aren't the only audience. Everyone else as Stan suggests, everyone else in the neighborhood is looking and if they think we are wobbling, every other neighbor is incentivized towards behavior that would actually be bad for us. CROWLEY: Let me move you to another bit story this week and that is allowing women basically on the front lines in a purposeful -- it isn't that women haven't seen combat, because They have played those support roles, but this is about putting women in combat. Do you see a female SEAL in the future? Do you see a female army ranger? Do you see females in special ops, where the physical requirements and physical strength are pretty rigorous? Do you see that?

MCCHRYSTAL: I do. I think you will see them probably in all of those units. I think you already see them serving in functions around the units, intelligence pilots and whatnot. And there are female -- there are positions that are much better for females. There are things you can do in special operations with females that are more difficult to do with just men. So I think it -- it will come.

I would throw, though, it is easy to make a policy decision. And I support that policy. As we implement it, it is going to be a little complex, because with rights come responsibility. Right now, any male can be moved to any job in the military for needs of the service. So once you open the door with rights, theoretically, you open the door where any female who is in the service can be put in a combat position simply for needs we'll have to work our way through that.

CROWLEY: And what does that mean for the requirements? Because do you -- females as we know, just physically in general certainly there are females stronger than males, but in general, when you go -- when you go to some of the special forces, there are some physical things about women that make them less strong than men.

HAYDEN: There are two kind of standards. One set has to do with personal health. So that for just raw, physical fitness for members of the armed services. How many pushups, situps, how fast you run a mile, those standard are different for men and women, because men and women are different.

These kinds of standards cannot be different for men and women. These have to do with actually accomplishing the job. And therefore if the standard is here and only a small percentage of women could match that standard for reasons that are biological, the standard has to stay there, otherwise you're risking mission success.

MCCHRYSTAL: You need to think of it as a team. If you think of an infantry squad, they carry a certain amount of equipment spread across the squad. And they all have to carry part of that in addition to their individuals. If somebody can't carry a part, it puts more on the others and that's why Mike is so absolutely correct.

CROWLEY: I want to talk to you all about drones, because this has been a fascination of mine. The increased use of drones and what is it doing to U.S. reputation overseas? I think you all disagree as to whether these are -- certainly it keeps U.S. troops safer, because you don't have to send actual U.S. personnel in, but is it doing more harm than good the increase in the use of drones in Pakistan and Somalia and Yemen?

MCCHRYSTAL: I think first off, Candy, they are extraordinarily effective. And they are a tool we have to have.

MCCHRYSTAL: And we need to be able to not only use them for reconnaissance, but also to strike.

The problem is every time you take a shot, you need to do a calculation, and I think we've done that in the past at the effect it has around the target then the effect it emanates further. If you look in a place that is a sovereign country, if we reach in and technologically shoot, there is a danger that in the United States that was pretty easy, that really wasn't an act of war. We didn't put American boots on the ground, we didn't accept risk. It can lower the threshold for decision making to take action that at the receiving end, feels very different at the receiving end.

CROWLEY: It feels like war, particularly because civilians get killed.

MCCHRYSTAL: Absolutely.

HAYDEN: Look, I've watched this since the program really kind of stepped up in mid-2008 and it got stronger as time went on.

Now, I would suggest to you in 2008, we were very much focused on what were clearly imminent threats against the homeland, because we saw what was going on inside al Qaeda training camps. And so for that period of time, and for a period of time afterward, that was a compelling concern, that was the one that drove your actions, even though you knew, you had secondary and tertiary effects out here that one day you have to live with.

Well, I think we have got to a point now in many if not most areas of the world, but in many areas of the world, that now those secondary and tertiary affects may actually be the prime result of some of these strikes. And that would then give you reason to pause.

Now that's carefully laid out, Candy. That's not suggesting what went on before was incorrect. It was quite correct. But now circumstances have changed. And the correct decision might be a bit gentler.

CROWLEY: I have to ask you about another issue that's out there, sort of (inaudible). You're civilians now. You're certainly civilians who know your way around guns. There is a -- talk about both an assault weapons ban and a universal background check. From your experience with civilians and knowing your way around guns, which would be more effective?

HAYDEN: Wow. That's not normally in our lane.

CROWLEY: No. But I thought you could... HAYDEN: Yeah. My instinct, and again I'm talking from instinct here and not personal experience or expertise, is to make sure we know who is buying guns to a first order. And I would emphasize that first thing out of the gate.

CROWLEY: The universal background check.

MCCHRYSTAL: If i know my history, Wyatt Earp made everybody check their guns when they entered town. There are places that guns are appropriate, and there are places that guns aren't appropriate. And there some guns that I'm not sure are appropriate around schools, around streets of America.

I have seen what assault weapons do. I know the training we put soldiers through to carry an assault weapon. I know how carefully we control those. And I think we need to have a very serious national discussion and not simplify it, not make it black, white, all or nothing. But we need one where we are not poking fingers at each other.

We have got to stop the killing.

CROWLEY: General Stanley McChrystal, General Michael Hayden, thank you for your expertise as both military officials and civilians. We appreciate it so much.


CROWLEY: When we return, going after the guns with California Senator Dianne Feinstein.


FEINSTEIN: I'm also incensed that our weak gun laws allow these mass killings to be carried out again and again and again in our country.



CROWLEY: Eight years after the first assault weapons ban expired, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced a second, tougher one. She stood in front of an arsenal of weapon, flanked by cops, victims of gun violence and Washington religious leaders in a news conference that opened with a prayer. A, for presentation, prospects for passage are slim.


FEINSTEIN: Can you win this? Only if you stand up. If America rises up. If people care enough to call every member of the house and every member of the senate, and say, we have had enough. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CROWLEY: Feinstein's bill would ban the sale of more than 150 types of rifles, shotguns handguns and ammunition magazines holding more than ten rounds.

The measure was criticized as too both much and useless.


RICHARD FELDMAN, PRESIDENT, INDEPENDENT FIREARMS OWNERS ASSOCIATION: This bill doesn't ban the guns. There are 35 million of them in existence. There are over 100 million high-capacity magazines out there.

What is going to be the impact on the future ban of those magazines and guns on criminals or crazy people? Zero. Nada.


CROWLEY: For any one who achieved or acquired one the banned weapons legally before the law would go into effect, the only difference would be when they go to transfer or sell the weapon, the person getting would have to undergo a background check.

Next up, Senator Dianne Feinstein.


CROWLEY: Both sides of the gun debate played out yesterday. In Washington, D.C. thousands of demonstrators took to the National Mall, demanding tougher gun control laws, including a ban on assault style rifles and high capacity magazines. And in suburban Atlanta, potential gun buyers lined up outside a local gun show to stock up in case congress does approve some new restrictions.

Joining me now, Senator Dianne Feinstein.

CROWLEY: Thanks, Senator, for being here and what's been a really busy weekend -- will be a really busy week for you with these hearings opening up.

I wanted to play you, first, something that Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia, a man you know very well, said to us last Sunday.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN, (D) WEST VIRGINIA: Assault weapon stand alone ban -- on just guns alone will not in the political reality that we have today will go anywhere. It has to be comprehensive, Candy. And that's what I tried to tell the vice president. And I've told everybody. It has to be a comprehensive approach.


CROWLEY: So you have Senator Manchin saying, look, this has to be more than a gun ban. We have -- Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader in the Senate saying I just don't think this is going to pass. And he doesn't want to bring up something and waste time if it doesn't pass. The president's first major speech out of Washington this term is going to be on immigration.

So what I'm wondering is whether you feel -- this has been a rhetorical priority. I wonder if it's a legislative priority.

FEINSTEIN: Well, let me say this. This has always been an uphill fight. This has never been easy. This is the hardest of the hard.

Now, will it only be assault weapons? No, most likely. There will be a package put together. If assault weapons is left out of the package, and I'm a member of the judiciary, number two in seniority. I've been assured by the majority leader I will be able to do it as an amendment on the floor, which is the way I did it in 1993. So, that doesn't particularly bother me.

What does bother me is I have seen weapons spawned and grown and now in the hands of younger and younger people over these years. I think you reach a point, as I said earlier, where enough is enough. Do military style assault weapons belong on the streets of our cities? And the answer, according to the United States Conference of Mayors, according to major chiefs of police, according to the largest police organization in the world, is absolutely no.

So we do have support, don't mistake it.

CROWLEY: But would you concede that in the United States Senate, this -- the assault weapons ban in particular is a very tough road, because it's not just Republicans, as you know you have fellow Democrats.

FEINSTEIN; I conceded, because the NRA is venal. They come after you, they put together large amounts of money to defeat you. They did this in '93. And they intend to continue it. Well, the opposite can take place...

CROWLEY: Are they venal, or do they just disagree with you?

I mean, is the NRA venal, or do they disagree with you on a matter of policy?

FEINSTEIN: The NRA has become an institution of gun manufacturers. This morning on the front page of The New York Times, I was reading about their program now to provide weapons and training for youngsters from eight years old to 15 years old. And this is supported by the gun manufacturers.

In other words, here is a whole new group of people that we can get these weapons to. They just don't happen be adults, they're children.

CROWLEY: Children with guns, certainly in terms of sport and hunting is not a new phenomenon in a lot of places. The NRA would say, listen, we train them. We want to make sure people who have guns know how to use them. But I wanted to ask about the NRA. And in particular, I wanted to just sort of -- this is kind of -- this is Wayne LaPierre, as you know, is one of those who is going to fight you tooth and nail on this. And a couple of things he said over time.


WAYNE LAPIERRE, VICE PRESIDENT, NRA: Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones. In doing so, they tell every insane killer in America, that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

Politicians have no business and no authority denying us the right, the ability, and the moral imperative to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm.


CROWLEY: Wayne LaPierre is coming before the judiciary committee. He'll be one of the witnesses. What are you going to ask him?

FEINSTEIN: Oh, I don't know at this time. But you can be sure I will have some questions for him.

I actually debated him I think on CNN and other channels back in '93 and '94. I know his position. It has never changed.

What has changed in this country is the continued use of these weapons. When we had the first mass shooting in 1966, '67, the Texas bell tower, I thought this was just an aberration. But it hasn't been, and the malls, the theaters, the businesses, the law practices, and now the schools.

For me, Sandy Hook was an epiphany. Sandy Hook I realized that a woman who had guns, who kept them I assume in a respectable area, she also had a son and that son is quite possibly was mentally disturbed. He got a very powerful weapon. And he went out with that weapon and he killed 5 and 6 and 7-year-olds I understand with 3 to 11 bullets in each of their bodies with a weapon that had the velocity of which could really rip these bodies apart. That should not be able to happen.

Now this was a young man, he apparently knew weapons. He knew how to use weapons. He chose to use them against the most defenseless.

Here's a question, does government have an obligation to protect those children? I believe we do. I believe we do.

CROWLEY: Just a quick question on this, because I want to ask on a couple other subjects, and that is could you see your way clear to a school security program or to saying listen, I do think there maybe be should be armed guards at some of these schools?

FEINSTEIN: Of course. And there are. One-third of the schools in America today have school guards. There were two at Columbine. They couldn't get to the shooter. And that is the problem with this thing. Having school guards really isn't the whole answer. The more you have these weapons, these military style weapons that with the single stock of the AR-15 can be made fully automatic, the minute you have it in the Sandy Hook killer's hands, you have a devastating weapon.

CROWLEY: Let me move you to a different subject, simply because it is now bubbling up. I am surprised at the number of people -- the Speaker of the House, president of the United States, some folks on the Senate that say, hey, we're pretty close to an immigration bill.

Give me a sense of where the Senate is on that, where congress is on the immigration bill?

FEINSTEIN: Well, it's my understanding from Senator Schumer, that we will have a statement of principles hopefully within the next week. What I pick up in the Senate is that increasingly people understand that a pathway to citizenship is an important part of any immigration reform proposal. It is my belief there he will be an immigration reform proposal.

My part of this is the agricultural part. And I've been meeting with workers through the farm workers union as well as all the growers organizations, to put together two parts of the program, one is a permanent program for farmers that need to use people 24/7, like dairy and other things, as well as a guest worker program.

CROWLEY: I just have to quickly ask you a very political question and show you a quick, what we call a screen grab. And what our viewers are going to see, what you are going to see, is a picture of President Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton being interviewed together on 60 Minutes. This has captured the 2016 group a lot.

If you are Joe Biden thinking about a run for the presidency and you see that the president for the first time, with someone other than his wife is sitting down for a chat on TV, what do you think that says about where the president is thinking about 2016?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I'm not concerned with that as I am with what Secretary Clinton is thinking about 2016. I think she's accomplished an incredible record and really has really unbridled popularity. She has a total knowledge of all of the issues. She has served in the senate. She has been first lady...

CROWLEY: You're a fan.

FEINSTEIN: I am a fan.

CROWLEY: You want her to run?

FEINSTEIN: I would love it if she would run.

CROWLEY: Senator Dianne Feinstein, thank you so much.

FEINSTEIN: Thank you very much. 

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