C.J. Chivers

  • Aired:  05/23/13
  •  | Views: 6,943

The New York Times's C.J. Chivers explains the ways in which the Syrians and Iraqis are involved in the same civil war. (5:07)

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ).

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A JOURNALIST

AND FORMER MARINE WHO SENT THE

LAST YEAR IN SYRIA.

THAT'S ROUGH-- MISSING THE LAST

SEASON OF "DOWNTON ABBEY."

PLEASE WELCOME C.J. CHIVERS.

BESIDES THE FACT YOU'RE THE

AUTHOR OF THE BOOK "THE GUN"

ABOUT THE AK-47, MOST DURABLE

MACHINE EVER MADE BY MANKIND,

PROBABLY-- KILLING MACHINE AT

LEAST.

YOU'RE ALSO THE GUY FROM THE

"NEW YORK TIMES" WHO SHOWS UP ON

THE COVER HERE SAYING-- IN

SYRIA, CLASH OVER HIGHWAY A

BITTERLY PERSONAL WAR BY C.J.

CHIVERS.

I SEE YOUR NAME THERE.

ARE YOU THE ONLY TIME IN THE

"NEW YORK TIMES" ON THE GROUND

THERE IN SYRIA RIGHT NOW?

>> AT THE MOMENT I AM.

>> Stephen: WHAT DO I NEED TO

KNOW ABOUT SYRIA THAT I'M NOT

LEARNING BECAUSE THERE'S NOT A

LOT OF COVERAGE OF SYRIA IN THE

MAINSTREAM PRESS BECAUSE IT'S A

BUMMER.

>> IN HUMAN TERMS IT'S A SORROW.

AND THE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW

PROBABLY FOR STARTERS ARE THE

HUMAN TERMS.

WE'RE TALKING SOMETHING LIKE

100,000 PEOPLE KILLED SO FAR IN

THE CONFLICT, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE

DISPLACED IN A COUNTRY THAT IS

SYSTEMATICALLY, ECONOMICALLY,

PHYSICALLY, SOCIALLY BE

DESTROYED.

>> Stephen: SHOULD WE BE

THERE WITH BOOTS ON THE GROUND?

>> THE SYRIANS WOULD LIKE SOSEE

US THERE.

>> Stephen: WHO THE SYRIANS

O'ER THE ASSAD REBELS WHY DON'T

THE SYRIANS LOOK ACROSS THE

BORDER TO THE STABLE, DEMOCRATIC

REGIME IN IRAQ?

( LAUGHTER )

THAT WE ESTABLISHED AS A MODEL

FOR THE ENTIRE REGION TO SPREAD

PEACE.

>> OH, I THINK WHAT YOU'RE

SEEING IS THE SYRIANS AND IRAQIS

ARE LOOKING ACROSS THE BORDER AT

EACH OTHERRAND IN SOME WAYS

THEY'RE ALREADY INVOLVED IN THE

SAME WAR.

>> Stephen: HOW SO?

>> THIS STARTED OUT AS A POPULAR

UPRISING IN THE SPIRIT OF MUCH

OF THE ARAB SPRING-- PEACEFUL

PROTESTS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.

IT MET AN INTENSIVE ARMED

CRACKDOWN, WHICH IN SOME WAYS

PROVOKED THE CIVIL WAR THAT YOU

SEE NOW.

AND THAT WAR HAS TAKEN A

SECTARIAN CHARACTER WHICH

EXTENDS-- WE'RE SEEING MORE

VIOLENCE ALONG SECTARIAN LINES

REIGNITED IN IRAQ.

>> Stephen: SO ASSAD AND HIS

BUDDIES, THEY'RE SHE ARIGHT?

BUT THE POPULATION IS

ESSENTIALLY SUNNI.

>> IN THE MAIN, THE POPULATION

IS SUNNI.

AND MOST OF THE OPPOSITION IS

SUNNI.

>> Stephen: AS AN AMERICAN

HOW MUCH LONGER DO I HAVE TO

KNOW THOSE THINGS?

BECAUSE I NEVER WANTED TO KNOW

THAT STUFF.

( LAUGHTER )

I'M A CATHOLIC.

I'M NOT A MUSLIM, AND I DON'T

REALLY CARE ABOUT THEIR LITTLE

FIGHTS OVER THERE.

HOW LONG AM I GOING TO HAVE TO

CARE ABOUT FIGHTS IN THE MIDDLE

EAST AS AN AMERICAN?

>> I THINK THIS FIGHT IS GOING

TO GO ON FAIR LONG TIME AND

YOU'RE GOING TO NEED TO CARE

ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT AFFECTS THE

REGIONAL STANLEY.

>> Stephen: HOW DOES THE

UNITED STATES MAKE THE BEST OF A

SITUATION FOR OUR OWN NATIONAL

SECURITY INTEREST?

>> CHOOSE A POLICY.

IT'S NOT CLEARRTO US WHO WATCH

CLOSELY WHAT THE UNITED STATES

WANTS TO HAVE HAPPEN AND WHAT IT

IT IS DOING TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.

>> Stephen: OBAMA DREW THE

RED LINE ABOUT CHEMICAL WEAPONS

AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS WERE USED

AND WE'RE NOT GOING IN.

>> ARE YOU SURE CHEMICAL WEAPONS

WERE USED.

>> Stephen: I SAW IT ON FOX

NEWS.

>> I'M NOT SURE CHEMICAL WEAPONS

WERR USED.

CHEMICAL WEAPONS IS PROBABLY ONE

SET OF LENSES TO LOOK AT THIS

WAR, AND FOR SOME REASON WE'RE

USING THAT AS A TRIGGER IN THE

WEST FOR WHETHER OR NOT WE

SHOULD GET INVOLVED.

IT'S NOT THE BEST SET OF LENSES

FOR LOOKING AT THE WAR.

TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE

BEEN KILLED IN THE WAR BY

CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS.

THE DWENGZAL WEAPONS IS WAIT THE

WAR IS PLAYING OUT EACH DAY AND

IS RUINING THE COUNTRY.

>> Stephen: NOW, YOU'RE HERE

NOW ASY I SAD, BUT YOU'RE A DAD

WHO LIVES IN RHODE ISLAND,

RIGHT?

>> AM I.

>> Stephen: WHEN ARE YOU

GOING BACK?

>> SOON.

>> Stephen: HOW LONG WILL YOU

THERE ABOUT?

>> WE'LL BE THERE ABOUT A WEEK.

>> Stephen: HOW IS THE

DAMASCUS HYATT, IS IT NICE?

>> I HAVEN'T BEEN THERE YET.

I GO IN AND WORK WITH THE REBELS

SO WE GO IN FROM THE TURKISH

SIDE TYPICALLY AND WE RAVEL

WITH SLEEPING BAGS WITH THE

REBELS FOR A PERIOD OF TIME AND

COME OUT.

>> Stephen: YOU WERE A

MARINE, RIGHT?

>> CORRECT.

>> Stephen: WHEN THESE REBELS

ARE ABOUT TO GO ON AN OPERATION,

DO YOU EVER SAY, "HEY, GUYS, I'M

NOT GOING TO SAY THOSE TACTICS

ARE GOOD OR BAD, BUT I'M GOING

TO BE REPORTING FROM BEHIND THAT

WALL OVER THERE."

>> YOU KNOW, I GET IN THAT

SITUATION A LOT WHERE YOU SEE

THINGS THAT ARE HAPPENING THAT

YOU PROBABLY WOULD PREFER NOT TO

HAPPEN ON THE TACTICAL SIDE, OR

THE USE OF WEAPONS, AND I

USUALLY DON'T SAY ANYTHING

WHATSOEVER.

WE'RE THERE TO OBSERVE.

WE'RE NOT ADVISERS.

WE'RE NOT COMBATANTS AND WE

OBSERVE AND GO WITH THEM, FOR

THE BETTER OR WORSE.

>> Stephen: IF SOMEONE WAS

LOOKING AT HOW CLOSE YOU WERE

STANDING TO THE REBELS THEY'D

GET A PRETTY GOOD IDEA WHAT YOU

THOUGHT OF THEIR TACTICS?

>> THEY MIGHT.

THERE ARE SOME REBELS-- PEOPLE

--

>> Stephen: C.J. DOESN'T LIKE

THIS.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING.

STAY SAFE, PLEASE.

C.J. CHIVERS.

THE "NEW YORK TIMES."

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

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