San Diego Kurdish Leader Reacts To US Withdrawal From Syria, What San Diego Can Learn From LA About Housing The Homeless, Native American Students Suspended At Higher Rates And More
KPBS Midday Edition / October 8, 2019
News of the Trump administration's plan to withdraw U.S. troops out of Syria has local Kurds fearing Turkey’s reprisal against the Syrian Kurds who’ve been fighting Turkey for independence. Plus, building affording housing to combat homelessness is easier said than done. What San Diego can learn from Los Angeles’ approach to solve the problem. Also, as the war in Vietnam dragged on for years, the wives of American POWs were faced with a choice. Hear how their decision to go public became a national movement. A new study shows Native American students in California schools are being suspended and expelled at disproportionately higher rates than the state average. And, a new book by journalist and author James Verini chronicles the long and complicated history of America's presence in Iraq.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Over the weekend, the Trump administration announced that it would pull American troops out of Syria. These troops, some of them based at camp Pendleton had been fighting alongside Kurdish forces for the last several years. In an effort to defeat ISIS in the region. The curd say they've lost 11,000 troops in the campaign to destroy the ISIS caliphate. The concern now is that Turkey who has long viewed the courage as terrorist for seeking independence from Turkey will attempt to destroy Kurds in the region. Joining us today is Xi NAR [inaudible] who headed the Kurdish community center of San Diego for many years. She nor welcome.
Speaker 2: 00:37 Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Speaker 1: 00:39 Would you start by telling us what your reaction was when you first heard the news about American troops leaving Syria?
Speaker 2: 00:46 Well, like many other curves here and around the world, very, very disappointed. Uh, hearing about this news this morning, actually I heard it. Uh, the smartest, um, Ben use to the curb, but to the world of the world really, that has the standard democracy and, um, fighting for freedom that also could of have fight on behalf of the world. And today there've been abandoned again. So I'm very discouraged at this point. Um, it's sad news. Um, and I hope and we're praying that, um, this actually, um, this news component out on them, you know, they will not draw the trope from the Celia cause this number for anybody,
Speaker 1: 01:40 you know, and it's, it's been estimated that up to 5,000 Kurds live in San Diego County. What have you been hearing from the community here since the administration's decision was announced?
Speaker 2: 01:53 Uh, I've been working on morning, but I pay under CV tax some calls. Um, like I said, it is heartbreaking news for the curve. Um, because we have a saying that we say, Oh, we have no phone but the mountain today to actually feel that way. Um, so they're preparing, I believe, uh, some of the curves that I heard, they might organize some protests, um, over the weekend or so. Uh, but again, um, they're trying to write to their Congressman or Senator and um, they're, they're pretty upset. It's a very upset in use. Um, uh, Curtis for the alarm side with the U S military. We have shed the blood, we fight and the half of the world and today we're just opening the door for that, for Turkey to go slow as it occurs. So it's very scary. They are many people here, um, occurred from uh, Northern part of Iraq, um, from the KRG area. But that doesn't mean anything there. We have many family. Yeah. He San Diego still have family. You know, if the 30 year they know the troubles we withdraw and then Coco move in and I don't know, after that Iranian little girl. So basically either a devastating use for a courageous community.
Speaker 1: 03:19 Yeah. [inaudible] are there attempts underway by any Kurds here in San Diego? To get family members out of the region?
Speaker 2: 03:27 They will not be able to because it is very difficult. Uh, you know, the, you have to, in order they become refugee or immigrant. They have to be in the frame country. You cannot please bring them from there. And unless it's a family reunion and that's a long, long process. I know for sure. I used to do that with many families. It takes up to 10 years a family reunion and that's not what we are looking for because that would not solve the problem to bring more refugee or immigrant, um, where you weren't the Kurt over there to be protected. The one that went around the border in Iraq or were two key to return home. But with the situation right now, it's going to be actually worse even though I'm inside Syria going to be refugees in neighboring countries. So it is the best situation.
Speaker 1: 04:21 And you know, Turkey has been at odds with the Kurdish people for decades. They say the Kurds have engaged in terrorism and an effort to achieve independence. How do the Kurdish people see it?
Speaker 2: 04:34 Well, unfortunately you have, you know, current are divided between four countries. So, um, every time, once one group in one country try to do something, and fortunately all are fine for fine, uh, enemy, uh, agree on one thing. And that is not to let the Curt of any project, any independent or anything. So, um, Turkey, uh, is afraid that the curtain cereals and I get from upon and me and like [inaudible] so, and dad would eventually lead to the critic inside Turkey, you know, majority of their current living Turkey. Um, but that's not the case. Um, uh, we can be best neighbor, uh, right now in, you know, Turkey operate more business with the curly narrows more than any other part of their neighbor. So, uh, it's not, we're not brought to anybody, but unfortunately that's how they see it.
Speaker 1: 05:33 Hmm. And you know, backlash to the administration's announcement has been strong from both sides of the aisle. Do you have some hope that condemnation from Republicans in Congress might cause the administration to backtrack on its decision?
Speaker 2: 05:49 Well, uh, I've seen a couple of pieces here and there today. I was watching you or I saw Megan McCain speaking out I, a Congressman and a Senator speaking out. So I hope more would come on board and try to change this decision now. So we are, we're hoping for that. We are praying actually for that. Uh, because really a genocide would take place if you S would, you know, Trump withdraw and then Turkey have a green light to go in.
Speaker 1: 06:19 I've been speaking with Sheena B Navi. The longtime head of San Diego is Kurdish community center. She, her, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you so much.
Speaker 3: 06:35 [inaudible]
Speaker 4: 06:38 um.
Speaker 1: 00:00 San Diego leaders are tackling the housing crisis in a conference that gets underway tomorrow in San Diego County, at least 8,000 people are homeless. One way to get rooms over their heads, build more affordable housing. Some of those involved in the process of creating affordable housing. We'll take part in the San Diego housing Federation's annual affordable housing and community development conference tomorrow. That keynote speaker for the event is Chris co with the Los Angeles branch of the United way. He is credited with directing the coalition that created and passed ballot measures around homelessness in the city and County of Los Angeles. I spoke with him ahead of tomorrow's event. Here's that interview. You're the keynote speaker at the affordable housing and community development conference. In this context, remind us what is meant when we say affordable housing. Um, I think affordable housing here is an apartment just like one that you or I might live in.
Speaker 1: 00:55 So we're not necessarily talking about a special building in a special place. Uh, we are talking about a building where some of the rent is paid for to make sure that someone can afford to live there. And the latest pic poll for the first time in 20 years, California and said one of their top issues with homelessness. Why do you think this is now being seen as a top issue? The issue itself is growing. So homelessness as an issue with our economy's growing, I think it's, it's counterintuitive, but in the way our economy is structured today, homelessness actually gets worse. And moments where our housing prices and prosperity goes up proudly speaking. And so as California has had this period where we're recovering and doing quite well, actually homelessness is doing worse. And so I think one, the issue itself is growing and I think it's, it's happening in all of our neighborhoods.
Speaker 1: 01:55 I think in the past, homelessness used to be confined in certain places. So it's getting the attention, I think it deserves. You directed the coalition that passed ballot measures around homelessness in Los Angeles. Remind our listeners what those measures were. We had two ballot measures that the people of Los Angeles really, um, got behind. That's proposition. H H H was in the city of Los Angeles. That was a housing bond to help build 10,000 units of supportive housing, which is a particular kind of affordable housing. And then measure age was a County wide, a sales tax that added the services to help get people inside that housing. And then more importantly to help people stay in thrive once they made it inside. What do you think was the key to getting those two measures passed is there's so many elements to that, but I think part of it was having a core of solutions that we had tested over a period of time that allowed us to be confident and put that plan forward.
Speaker 1: 03:02 Um, so I think having a tested solution, having a plan of how that solution would be grown and implemented, um, how that solution would be delivered in every part of the area. So having a community based delivery network I think was key. But you know, all of that at the end of the day is in service of a bigger vision of saying how will our community looked different? What does this mean? Um, and being clear about that. And, um, I think part of it, I think you alluded to this before, I, I honestly think people are waiting for solutions. It's something that yes, we need to be clear that this is a worthwhile investment in this as a safe investment. But you know, I think people honestly are frustrated and looking for solutions to get behind. You know, how has measure H which increased the sales tax in Los Angeles County helped the County to address homelessness?
Speaker 1: 03:56 I mean, on a very straightforward basis, measure H has more than tripled our outreach forces on the ground before we had this plan. And we have this system, but it's kind of like having nine one one but not having firefighters on the other end to respond to calls. So measure H has meant that we actually have people on the street responding, not only responding, but proactively building relationships on the street. Um, it's doubled our housing placements. And so after measure H we have two times as many people coming inside. And then the last thing I'll say is that it's actually made space for prevention. Um, federal funding is pretty specific about what you can do with it. And before, because our homeless and this crisis is what it is. Um, the rule had been that you can't use it upstream, you have to deal with what you have.
Speaker 1: 04:48 But of course that's kind of a chicken or the egg question. And so our local money, we're able to actually put it toward prevention. So we've had more resources to test and use on prevention than we've ever had before. And yet the County is still seeing the number of people who are homeless increase. Last year, the number of people, right, who were homeless in LA County increased 12%. You know, why do you think despite an increase in resources, you're still seeing an increase in the number of people who are homeless? The short answer is that's the scale of our challenge today. Um, I think when we started into this, we weren't at the pace of economic growth that we had today. And you know, in some sense, um, longterm, I think all those short term, there may be a correction. I think longterm that's something that's not slowing down anytime soon, especially in LA with the Olympics coming up and some of the broader construction we have.
Speaker 1: 05:47 Um, but you know, make no mistake without measure H our 12% increase would have been 27, 28%. So the statewide average was actually a 35% increase and all around us, we saw that. So without, without that, without some of the investments, uh, our increase of 12%, which is already too high, it would have been even higher and more in line with everything else that we saw. So given that LA is the least affordable market nationally, um, we're not satisfied with a 12% increase. But I think we're grateful that we have the resources we did to, to keep it at that level.
Speaker 2: 06:31 And you know, residents in the city of San Diego will be voting on a measure that will increase the hotel tax to fund an expansion of our convention center homeless programs, affordable housing and infrastructure. Do you see a problem with getting support for a measure that would pay for a number of different things? I think important to any
Speaker 1: 06:50 proposition as being clear of about what will happen from it. Um, and I think in measure H versus proposition triple H, um, you had different ways to do that. And so I think proposition triple H was much more straightforward with the housing bond where it can only pay for one thing and there is a lot of security in that and um, it's easier to explain exactly what it's doing, but at the same time some of that flexibility can be important. So I don't think the flexibility and ability to use it holistically as a problem. Um, I think the opportunity and what's, what will be important is still being clear on what that will achieve.
Speaker 2: 07:31 And those in attendance will be people involved in affordable housing such as elected officials, developers, service providers. What do you hope they take away from your message?
Speaker 1: 07:41 I mean, I feel like San Diego is at such a key moment of what it decides to do in terms of making more of this housing affordable. So I feel if there was one thing that I hope that the group takes away, it's that the future is really in their hands. Um, and then that they can decide what San Diego looks like moving forward. And in specifically, I think that means, do we want to San Diego where more people are inside a than sleeping outside?
Speaker 2: 08:08 I have been speaking with Chris co managing director of homelessness and strategic initiatives with the United way of greater Los Angeles. Chris, thank you so much. Thank you, Jade.
Speaker 3: 08:21 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 A new exhibit at Cornetto museum looks at the founding of the national league of families of pow MIAs KPBS military reporter Steve Walsh says it started during the Vietnam war with a group of military wives in San Diego.
Speaker 2: 00:18 Sid Stockdale was 11 years old when his father James Stockdale became one of the first American pilots shot down over North Vietnam. Now their family table from their home on Coronado is the centerpiece of a new exhibit. Well, this is, this is the table, the dining room table around which the wives of prisoners and missing first gathered on October the seventh 1966 his father was 40 when he was shot down and taken prisoner as the wife of the highest ranking officer. His mom civil Stockdale took it upon herself to begin organizing the growing number of wives who were in the same situation and they began to ask each other what they should do. That over time evolved into regular gatherings at our family house that gave birth eventually to the league of families of pow Mia, which became a nationwide movement. The movement sprung up organically at bases around the country.
Speaker 2: 01:13 Karen Olson Butler was at Naval air station, Lamar near Fresno when her husband was shot down in 1965 there was an inference that he probably was killed in action. I found out he was alive five weeks later on the today show, a friend had called me and said that they had just noticed that he was a prisoner of war. Their group may be best known for eventually creating the black and white pow Mia flag that would become possibly the most enduring symbol of the Vietnam war. But that was years later in 1972 for the first several years, the wise were told to keep quiet, says author heathly.
Speaker 3: 01:53 The government in the military wanted wives and families to say little to nothing of except for close family members and there was some merit to that. In previous words, where the prisoners weren't held that long, people feared it would derail negotiations. Now, Vietnam prisoners who were held up to eight years
Speaker 2: 02:09 lead curated the exhibit, which is now at the corn out of museum based on her book league of wives. It Chronicles the growth of the national league of pow Mia families from small gatherings to a national movement. Civil Stockdale was the first wife to go public about the treatment of prisoners. In an article that ran in the San Diego union in 1968 he says at first the response was muted, but they kept finding ways to get themselves into the headlines.
Speaker 3: 02:38 John McCain, who I interviewed in 2016 said it was like a light switch going off in 1969 the torture stopped. He was moved from solitary, but he said these women, and they're the awareness that they raised in the international community.
Speaker 2: 02:53 He told her that made all the difference. Their story is parts by novel. Early on the Navy showed the wives how to write letters to their husbands and code later. It's mostly the story of this national movement, a rare moment of unity in a divisive war driven largely by these women. Civil died in 2015 walking through the exhibit, her son Sid was struck by a cluster of bracelets with the names of a pow, which was part of a campaign to connect with the public.
Speaker 4: 03:22 Everyone mail their bracelet to the returned pow with a note. It was just amazing. Uh, when we went into my mother's attic, we found a cardboard box. Like this was just full of all these bracelets.
Speaker 2: 03:36 Author Heath Lee originally curated the exhibit for the Robert J Dole Institute of politics in Kansas. Since 2017 it's been traveling the country, the exhibit was re-imagined for the Cornetto museum to emphasize the local history. It's now open to the public.
Speaker 4: 03:54 Joining me is Kane PBS military reporter Steve Walsh. So first tell us who us Navy Admiral James Stockdale was.
Speaker 5: 04:02 Well, he was actually famous. I would call him the second most famous pow from Vietnam after John McCain. It was a vice Admiral. He won the medal of honor for being a pow in Vietnam. Um, he was also Ross Perot's vice presidential candidate back in 1992. If you remember, there's actually a USX Stockdale. It's a, uh, a guided missile destroyer that's based here in San Diego, which is named after him.
Speaker 4: 04:28 Interesting. So as you point out in your story, in the beginning, the prisoner's wives were told to keep quiet. What were military officials at that time worried about?
Speaker 5: 04:38 So this was the Johnson administration and the Johnson administration did not want to call attention to some of the brutality that was going on in Vietnam at the time. Also, a, as we mentioned in the piece that, uh, this was the common practice was to keep quiet and that these prisoners of war would come home quickly. But in the case of Vietnam, prisoners of war were there for, for multiple years and no one was observing the Geneva convention. And what did the early days of this movement look like? It was springing up organically all around the country. We, uh, emphasize the, uh, the core aspect of it and insignificant with simple Stockdale. But this was happening at bases all around the country, both on the West coast and on the East coast. Uh, one of the more famous members of this group was a Mary Helen Hoff. She uh, designed the pow Mia flag, or at least she commissioned it, uh, that, but that wasn't until 1970 and the league is a board of directors adopted as their official flag in 1972. So the ideas were kind of springing up all around the country creating this national movement.
Speaker 4: 05:45 So what eventually led the government to take the wives of the prisoners of war and more seriously.
Speaker 5: 05:50 So we go from the Johnson administration to the Nixon administration and Nixon sees the PR value of having these wives on board. They are both popular with the right and to a certain degree with the left. Uh, I talked with one of the wives and she says she can't remember ever seeing any sort of protest around any sort of gathering of these wives. So they are eventually they go to the Paris peace Accords that kind of shame the Vietnamese into releasing these prisoners. Uh, so it has a, a real kind of halo effect for the Nixon administration and what happened once the prisoners came home. So there's a big dinner at the white house in 1973. It's supposed to be the largest state dinner that was ever held on the white house. There were tents set up everywhere. Uh, but there's sort of an undercurrent here.
Speaker 5: 06:38 Even though all of the pow wives are invited, the wives of the still missing the MIAs are not included in this group. And this represents a real change in how this groups functions as a, the wives of pow is, is their husbands returned home. They start going more towards their families and trying to reunite and, and uh, bring about, you know, some reconciliation with their families. So it becomes the Mia wives who really take up the cause and create the organization that goes forward and is still operating today. Yeah, I was going to ask, you know, is the national league of pow Mia families still influential? It is. Well, and it is to a degree, but it's still around there. Obviously there are still MIAs from the missing from the Vietnam war. There's over 1500, uh, that are still declared missing from the Vietnam war. Actually, there are some 72,000. There's still good declared missing from the, uh, from world war II. I've been speaking with KPBS military reporters, Steve Walsh, Steve, thank you very much. Thanks, Jane.
Speaker 6: 07:41 Uh.
Speaker 1: 00:00 Native American students make up less than 1% of California's public K through 12 schools. But a new study released last month found that they're more likely to be suspended or expelled at a higher rate than the state average KPBS education reporter Joe Hong has been following this story and joins us with more. Joe, welcome first, who did this study and what prompted the research?
Speaker 2: 00:23 So, uh, this report was a collaboration between education researchers at San Diego state university and a group called the Sacramento native American higher education collaborative. It's a, it's a team of education researchers, native American researchers who study education across the state.
Speaker 1: 00:41 So what did the results of this study done by San Diego state university researchers and native American scholars show?
Speaker 2: 00:48 So the most striking number, uh, that really stuck with me is that native American boys are four times more likely to be expelled than the state average and they're more than two and a half times more likely to be suspended than the state average.
Speaker 1: 01:02 Does the report say anything about schools in San Diego County?
Speaker 2: 01:06 Yeah. So the, the, the written report doesn't explicitly mention any local San Diego schools, but as part of the report, uh, the researchers published a database and you can sort of go in there and look up your local district. And, um, the, the database sort of identifies a districts as um, either high concern, moderate concern or acceptable depending on sort of the disparity between suspension rates between the state average and their native American population.
Speaker 1: 01:37 So how do these suspensions impact the students? So
Speaker 2: 01:42 when, uh, when students are, are suspended or routinely suspended it, it creates an atmosphere that is not welcoming or conducive to learning and it creates an environment that students associate with, with punishment and, um, and ultimately it suspensions and expulsions they take students out of the classroom. Which research will researchers will say is the most problematic aspect of this type of school discipline. A student should be kept in the classroom. Um, uh, teachers should be building relationships, trying to prevent, uh, negative behaviors that lead to these forms of this.
Speaker 1: 02:19 You spoke with Molly Springer who is a cofounder of the Sacramento native American higher education collaborative and coauthor of this report. She points to a tumultuous history of forced assimilation as part of the reason behind these disparities. Can you talk to me a bit about that? Yeah, that was a
Speaker 2: 02:36 interesting conversation I had with, with Molly. Um, she sort of contextualize it for this issue for me and this broader history where in the late 18 hundreds, uh, the government started these boarding schools for native American students. Um, and sort of the mission statement was to quote unquote civilize these students and um, she sort of sees this very like, punitive approach to school discipline as a continuation of that history where students need to be, need to be disciplined, um, rather than, you know, truly educated.
Speaker 1: 03:11 You spoke with SDSU education professor Luke wood. What did he say about these disparities?
Speaker 2: 03:17 So, uh, Luke for Luke, it really comes down to the cultural disconnect between teachers and students. And, uh, I have a clip here of him saying more about that
Speaker 3: 03:27 most educators are woefully unprepared under prepared to engage and teach native American students because they don't understand their culture, their live social, cultural experiences. And so there's a lot of misunderstanding that takes place. So I think it's also important to note then that we're not saying that educators are bad or that they, um, have malintent we're really saying is that there's a lack of understanding and that creates a pattern that routinely suspends and expels native American students.
Speaker 1: 03:57 So without teachers who are culturally competent, the learning experience can really become hostile for some students. You also spoke with Ron Macau and superintendent of the Valley center, Palma unified school district. What did he say about the disparity there that was pointed out in some of this report and how did the district say they were addressing the issue?
Speaker 2: 04:18 Right. So Ron was very straightforward, you know, th this is a disparity that he, he recognized in his, this straight and um, [inaudible] but it in a way he said he, his district is lucky because is that the district [inaudible] exists in, um, adjacent to five native American reservation. So they sort of have the community resources to build these partnerships with local tribes. And the goal is to do more outreach to do more teacher trainings through these, um, with these tribes. Um, do more parent engagement. And this is something they've actually just started this year. Uh, so this is something that I'll definitely
Speaker 1: 04:58 falling. And do these efforts by the school district really get to the root of what the authors of this report feel causes the disparity you think?
Speaker 2: 05:05 I think so far in, in theory they do in the implementation. Um, I guess we'll, we'll have to see because if it's still early, but in theory a, you know, the researchers like Luke wood and Molly Springer, they want more parent engagement. They want more teacher training. Um, so in theory, what they're doing at Valley center, PAMA, I'm sure
Speaker 1: 05:28 I've been speaking with KPBS education reporter Joe Hong. Joe, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you.
Speaker 4: 05:38 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:00 A new book by journalist and author James Verini called, they will have to die now. Mozal and the fall of the caliphate Chronicles the battle of mazal and Iraq in the book. Verine looks at the long and complicated history of Western, especially American presence in Iraq and the middle East and how that involvement brought about the terrorist group known as ISIS, the group making headlines this week after president Donald Trump announced a withdrawal from Northern Syria. James Verini joins me now. James, welcome. Thanks so much for having me. I know you've not spent much time in Syria, but I would like to begin by asking you a question about that news of president Trump pulling troops from the Syria Turkey border against recommendations from top officials in the Pentagon and state department in general. What are the implications of this?
Speaker 2: 00:49 The implications for anyone who cares about the Kurds and the Kurdish cause, uh, are, are really worrying, um, Turkey and Airtel one, uh, consider, uh, the Kurdish, uh, the Kurdish group in, in Syria to be a terrorist group. And they've indicated their intention of, um, cracking down on it, even as a, even as the Kurds there have carved out a comparatively peaceful section of the country. So it's, um, potentially very worrying.
Speaker 1: 01:23 And I know you're in San Diego to talk about your new book, which focuses on Iraq and the battle for Mosul. The Pentagon calls the battle for mu for Mozel, the most intense urban battles since world war two. What did you learn or what surprised you about that experience of being there?
Speaker 2: 01:41 That's what was really so surprising about it was that it was such a large battle, uh, on the, on the order that we hadn't seen in decades. You know, the Islamic state as a is in Islamicists insurgency. Um, and ever since nine 11, uh, the world had expected that Wars would continue to be asymmetrical as, as, as they're called, things like Afghanistan in Iraq where we're fighting against insurgencies. And the conflict consists of IED attacks and small ambitious, but not major battles over the possession of a city. But that's precisely what Mozel was. So for someone like me, a conflict journalist who's only been covering conflict, um, in the, in the two thousand two thousand tens, it was very surprising to see something on this scale with tens of thousands of soldiers and, and thousands of tons of munitions and, um, and the battle took, uh, over nine months in Toto, um, and it was for the possession of what was the second or third largest city in Iraq. So this, the sheer scale of it, uh, and as you say, the intensity of the fighting was, was surprising.
Speaker 1: 02:57 You know, your title is they will have to die now. Mozal and the fall of the caliphate. Talk to me more about the fall of the caliphate. Does that look like on the ground?
Speaker 2: 03:06 So the Islamic state, um, as you know, originally formed not as a territory holding group, but as an a more traditional, uh, insurgency. It came out of Al Qaeda in Iraq. It was a jihadist insurgency. Somewhere along the lines as Al Qaeda in Iraq was, was, was morphing into the Islamic state in Iraq and then into ISIS. And finally into the califate, some more along the lines. Uh, its leaders decided that they were going to take very seriously the long offered promise, um, of, of recreating the caliphate or creating a new califit the, the Sunni insurgency groups, uh, working in the middle East and the environs had long talked about but never actually done it. Uh, ISIS, uh, actually did it. They actually managed to take enough territory to create Natras in Islamic state, but at califit and when Abu buck are all Baghdadi, the head, the ostensible head of ISIS entered Mosul in June of 2014 he gave his first address, the only public address, uh, that we have recorded at least a in among Western sources.
Speaker 2: 04:17 He gave the address, um, in July, early July of 2014 at the, at the big mosque, uh, in Mozal and pronounced the existence of a caliphate and himself. It's Kayla [inaudible]. This was the culmination of ISIS is power. And it was in many ways all downhill from there. What the Iraqi troops and international coalition were able to do by taking away ISIS is land in Iraq. Um, and then Syria was to dismantle this califit which, which takes away a lot of the appeal of the Islamic state to outsiders. There are many, many people who move to Iraq and Syria while the califate existed, not because they wanted to do violence or fight, but precisely because they wanted to live in a, what they consider to be or were told was a, a righteous state. Uh, a califate living under God's law. These omic Satan no longer has that to offer.
Speaker 2: 05:15 Now all they have to offer is, um, you know, the, the opportunity to do violence in whether it's Libya or Afghanistan or France or the Philippines, or soon enough. Kashmere it's also worth noting that, um, when, when Baghdadi announced the creation of the caliphate and him and proclaimed himself, it's Caleb, he lost the allegiance of many in the world of jihadism. Um, it was many people argued that he did not have the right to do this. Um, and that he was, you know, overstepping his, uh, his bounds essentially. Um, and he was, uh, he was maligned and ridiculed by other insurgents. Ironically,
Speaker 1: 06:04 the United States still has troops in Iraq though far less than at the height of the war. Now, especially in light of the recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities, attention has turned to Iran. What does the American experience in Iraq tell us about how we should be proceeding in dealing with Iran?
Speaker 2: 06:22 Well, um, it's the irony of course, or an irony of the American invasion of Iraq was precisely that it, uh, gave rise. It allowed Iran to rise politically and militarily and the region. Um, all of the, uh, all of the problems we've been having with Iran in the last 15 or so years. Not all of them, but many of them STEM from this fact. The fact that our invasion and occupation of Iraq allowed Iran to, uh, increase its prominence, uh, in Iraq of course, where it funded, um, the Shia insurgency, but also in Lebanon and in Syria and elsewhere. On the most basic level, I would hope that, uh, the administration and the U S government remember that, remember that it was the, the war or the attempted war in Iraq that allowed Iran to rise like this. Iran is still very prominent in Iraq, geopolitics and in the Iraqi military. Um, and that's not going to change anytime soon. Uh, it is a, it's a less obvious, um, outpost of theirs. Um, if you're looking at the landscape of the region, but they still, they still wield a great deal of power in Baghdad. The Iranians,
Speaker 1: 07:44 one aspect of your book deals with how new technology is changing the face of war. What does that mean for American military involvement in Iraq and the greater middle East?
Speaker 2: 07:55 To my mind, the more interesting technological aspect of, uh, the battle for Mosul in the war against ISIS was how it involved everyone in the war. Uh, so to speak via technology, meaning that everyone around the soldiers, of course the jihad is, uh, the civilians, journalists and everybody else. Everyone had smartphones and smartphone cameras. So everyone was able to, um, uh, photograph and film this war and disseminate their footage around the world. And as you'll recall, that's how, uh, many of us, or many people who were not in Iraq consumed this battle and this war was via amateur footage taken by people on the ground with their phones disseminated via social media. I would argue that, um, perhaps even more interesting and significant that then mil military technological changes are the technological changes that are allowing average people, uh, populaces to record and depict war.
Speaker 1: 08:58 Do you think it gives people and more honest perspective about what war is?
Speaker 2: 09:02 Well, that's a great question and I, I asked myself that a lot and if I might just plug something else. I have an essay in wired this week that, that poses that question. You know, I think if we're being optimistic, yes, perhaps this, um, amateur, if we want to use that word or just citizen, uh, recording of war depiction of war will allow people such as Americans who have, have never had to suffer through a war on our well, haven't had for a century and a half. Perhaps it will make us more cognizant of the horrors of war and the futility of war such that, um, we won't be so eager to Russian tours in the future. That would be, um, that would be a nice outcome.
Speaker 1: 09:44 And, you know, the war in Iraq has largely fallen out of the headlines, but you argue in the book that it's critical Americans not forget about our experience in Iraq. Uh, apart from avoiding getting into Wars in the future, why is it important for us to always remember America's involvement in that country?
Speaker 2: 10:00 When the United States invaded Iraq, it was almost as though the youngest or one of the youngest powers in the world was taking on the oldest power in the world, so to speak. Um, and, and you could sense at the time in 2003 and 2004 that as Americans, we were so anxious and fearful over what had happened in nine 11 that we felt the need, not just to lash out at another country, a country that, that produced none of the bombers involved in nine 11. But we, we, we felt the need to somehow lash out at history. It seemed to me at the time, it seems to me even more so now. We thought we, we, we fooled ourselves in the idea that the new world could once and for all a rid the, the world of, of, of the curse of war that we could finally purify the old world. As it was. Of course, we weren't able to do this. And, uh, the invasion only began more war. So, um, what I always like to tell people is, uh, pay much more attention to history. You'll see that nothing that's being done hasn't been done before. And, um, we have enough books and enough evidence, uh, that we can very easily anticipate the mistakes we're going to make if we don't pay attention enough attention to history.
Speaker 1: 11:21 I've been speaking with James Verini, author of the new book. They will have to die now. Mozal and the fall of the caliphate. James, thank you very much for joining us. Thank you Jane.