D.C. Councilmember Charles Allen joins us to discuss his "sneaker subsidy" for those who dont drive to work. And At-Large Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich will be in studio to talk about the fate of the Purple Line, the county budget, and his candidacy for County Executive.
A wild week in Virginia politics climaxes with a national stunner: House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor goes down in a primary defeat to a political novice. Shootings in Nevada and Oregon put gun violence back in the headlines. And sudden storms cause local flash flooding. It’s your turn to weigh in on the week’s news.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFrom WAMU 88.5 at American University in Washington welcome to "The Kojo Nnamdi Show," connecting your neighborhood with the world. It's Your Turn. Your Turn means you set the agenda for the topics we discuss with your phone calls, emails and tweets. You can call 800-433-8850 or send email to email@example.com or send us a tweet @kojoshow.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFirst the news. It's being reported that legendary stage and screen actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee has died at the age of 91. That Cleveland-born New York-raised actress and activist, winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Screen Actors Guild Award among others appeared in many, many movies. And with her husband and collaborator Ossie Davis, she was also a major figure in the civil rights movement.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIn 2005, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis received the National Civil Rights Museum's Lifetime Achievement Freedom Award. Ossie Davis died in February of that year. Ruby Dee dead at 91. You may remember some of the films she appeared in, 1961 "A Raisin in the Sun." And on Broadway, "Take it From the Top," Two Hahs-Hahs and a Homeboy," Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing," "Jungle Fever." TV, "All God's Children," "Feast of All Saints." Ruby Dee, as we said, it's being reported that she has died at the age of 91.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAnd it's Your Turn. What do you want to talk about? Allow me to offer you a few prompts. It's been a wild ride in Virginia politics this week. On Tuesday, the number two House Republican Eric Cantor went down, stunning primary defeat to an unknown, underfunded Tea Party candidate David Brat. He announced that as candidate that he would step down at the end of next month setting up a leadership struggle in the Republican Party. This defeat first time in history the House Majority Leader has been defeated in a primary. To what do you attribute the loss, 800-433-8850?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIWhat do you think about the ideological battle going on now within the Republican Party? This is a topic we'll also be discussing tomorrow on the Politics Hour. What do you know about David Brat and his positions? What do you think about the new entry into the D.C. mayoral sweepstakes as an independent, Carol Schwartz who had been an at-large member of the council for some 18 years? Were you in the city when Carol Schwartz was on the D.C. Council? Does it change your thinking about the race?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThe Washington Post editorializes today that the newspaper thinks it's a good thing that Carol Schwartz is entering the race. They feel it gives people a real choice, a real diversity of choices, if you will. What do you think, 800-433-8850? This is Your Turn. You can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAlmost lost in the defeat of congressman Eric Cantor was the other fight going on at the state level in Virginia over expanding Medicaid. Things got really interesting earlier this week after a conservative Democrat from the southwest resigned his Senate seat, giving Republicans control and breaking the stalemate. Would you agree with a budget that does not include expanding Medicaid? Do you think Governor Terry McAuliffe should go it alone in trying to expand Medicaid? Well, what do you think, 800-433-8850?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIOr you can shoot us a tweet @kojoshow. Meanwhile things are rapidly deteriorating in Iraq. Sunni militants have driven Iraqi forces out of the second biggest city of Mosul. Kurdish forces say they are now in control of the northern city of Kirkuk after they say Iraqi government forces abandoned their posts. Do you think things will get worse before they get better in Iraq?
MR. KOJO NNAMDIAt this point the U.S. says it's preparing to send aid. The Iraqi government says it might be open to U.S. airstrikes. Do you think the U.S. should return to Iraq at all? And if so, in what capacity? 800-433-8850, it is Your Turn. You are setting the agenda. And we will start with Rick in Manassas, Va. Rick, you are on the air. Go ahead, please.
RICKThanks, Koko. I guess my comment would be, somebody needs to come up with a bumper sticker that says, the Republican Party will eat itself. Secondly, it seems strange to me that the people who were complaining about Washington gridlock have now voted in somebody who is most likely going to assure an even greater degree of gridlock. Can somebody please explain that to me?
NNAMDIWell, what do you mean by the people who are complaining about Washington gridlock? Because from where I sit everybody complains about Washington gridlock.
RICKExactly. And the people who voted in Mr. Brat are no exception to that. So I understand they're frustrated with Eric Cantor but it seems to me that they left their brains home that day when they went to the polls because this gentleman is just going to embrace the Tea Party's agenda, which welcomes obfuscation and seemed dedicated to not allowing anything that President Obama suggests as legislation to go forward.
NNAMDISo you think they may have done better trying to find or elect someone who would have a better chance of dialoging and dealing with Democrats in Congress?
RICKYes. I think it's obvious to vent their frustration with the existing individuals in power is so great that any alternative seems better. But I think that they'll find once this gentleman gets in place that he just may be another Ted Cruz. God help us.
NNAMDIWell, this other gentleman is being routinely described as a Tea Party favorite, which suggests that the people who voted for him were not simply looking for anybody but Eric Cantor, but they were looking for somebody who more accurately reflects their point of view on issues like immigration. They don't want reportedly any kind of immigration reform. What would you have them do, Rick?
RICKIt seems that they don't want any type of change as long as it's brought about by President Blackenstein. If President Bush were proposing it, they'd be fine with it. That seems to me to be the state of mind that these people exist. And I'm sorry if I sound prejudice, but after hearing them talk on news radio and on TV on Sunday morning and listening to them in person, it just seems to me that their main problem is with a black president who is intelligent and does not come from the same blue blooded line that the majority of Washington individuals stem from.
NNAMDIThey will fiercely resist the argument that you are making, Rick. But of course it is your argument and you are free to make it. Thank you very much for your call. You too can call at 800-433-8850. You might've caught Ta-Nehisi Coates' June cover story for the Atlantic. He's the Atlantic blogger. He makes an economic argument for reparations to African Americans, not just for slavery but for property taken under Jim Crow laws and from exclusionary policies both official and in practices like redlining which occurred well into the 20th century.
NNAMDIThe Washington Post recently asked Ta-Nehisi Coates to respond to the four most common arguments against reparations. I'll put one -- again, I'd like to hear what you think. The question was, do you think reparations are practical or even possible for lost income and wealth accumulation? Is it morally necessary to address this even if the amounts might be symbolic?
NNAMDIThe director of the African American History Museum in the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of African American History, Lonnie Bunch, makes the argument that it is morally necessary. What do you think, 800-433-8850? You can send email to email@example.com. We move on now to Randy in Alexandria, Va. Randy, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
RANDYOh well, thanks for taking my call, Kojo. I appreciate it. In regards to the loss of Eric Cantor in the House, a concern now that I have is the -- lacking of diversity, specifically along religious lines, we have a primarily Christian-oriented House of Representatives, which -- no Muslim, no Jews, no...
NNAMDIYes, there is a Muslim. Congressman from Minnesota is a Muslim.
RANDYOh, okay. I stand corrected.
NNAMDII'll get you his name in a second, but go ahead.
RANDYWell, in any case, it concerns me that a good -- there's a portion of the House of Congress that are utilizing their religion as an ideological benchmark for passing the laws and making decisions and with a lack of religious diversity, it brings up a pretty big concern to me. And I don't know how much of that played into Eric Canton's loss, but I'd be curious to your thoughts and everybody else's. I'll just take my -- I'll listen offline. Thank you.
NNAMDIKeith Ellison is the congressman -- the Democratic congressman from Minnesota's 5th congressional district who happens to be Muslim. So thank you very much for your call. You, too, can call us. You're setting the agenda. It is Your Turn if you'd like to weigh in on the week's news or anything else on your mind. Do you think immigration reform is now dead in the water, 800-433-8850? We move on now to Patience in Shepherdstown, W.V. Patience, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
PATIENCEI was calling because my in-laws -- my husband come from a large family. They all live in Cantor's district down around the Culpepper area. And they all went to the polls on Tuesday and voted for Brat because it's an open primary. They absolutely hated Cantor. They hated what he did. They hated what he stood for. And they thought it was more important to give the Democrat in the race a fighting chance. And they knew that Brat was more Tea Party even than Cantor, but they thought that it made sense to do that.
NNAMDIWell, you know, former Congressman Ben Jones of Georgia had apparently encouraged voters in Cantor's district to go ahead and do just that. But according to the statistics, Patience, that the number of Democrats who probably did that could not have been enough to swing the vote as much as the vote was swung. That the percentage points by which Brat beat Cantor indicates that there had to be a significant amount of dissatisfaction with Cantor within the Republican Party itself even though there's a concession that some Democrats obviously did cross over and vote for Brat in that election. So your...
PATIENCEWell, I think that's true.
NNAMDI...so your in-laws all did it, huh?
PATIENCE(unintelligible) this one. Bye.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call. You too can call us, 800-433-8850. On to Jenny in Tacoma Park, Md. Jenny, your turn.
JENNYHi. Hi, Kojo. How are you?
JENNYSo, Kojo, I've been thinking in reference to your question about Iraq, I mean, I have to tell you that my heart is broken and I feel sick at my stomach when I think of in -- certainly in my opinion and many others, that we completely destabilized the infrastructure there. And what has happened and to think about possibly even bombing or sending any -- it's just unspeakable.
JENNYBut also as a therapist, I work with (word?) and soldiers and their families. And so I also see firsthand, on the North American side, the impact of this war, which is horrific on these young people. And I'm telling you they've been extraordinarily traumatized. But this whole idea is just completely heartbreaking. And I have to say kudos to Nancy Pelosi for saying, hey we shouldn't have gone in there in the first place. So...
NNAMDIBut you know, our former -- General Colin Powell the former Secretary of State is the one who was quoting what is often said in antiques stores, if you break it you own it. We went into Iraq because we were led to believe there were weapons of mass destruction there being kept by then President Saddam Hussein. There turned out to be no weapons of mass destruction. Can it be argued that, in any case, we broke it and therefore we have some responsibility to fix it?
JENNYWell, you know, I think that's a very good point. I do. Certainly thought by breaking it again, I think that we need to think very, very carefully and mindfully about how we go in there and provide support. But certainly not in a way that it means our, quote unquote, "leaders" are thinking about doing that. Look, you know, some people like us that are in there working with these people to go over. Can we stop? You know, we're never going to stop this when it's so destabilized in this terrorism when we go just for the idea of not doing prevention.
JENNYSo, yeah, do I think we should do something? Yes. But certainly not in the way that we think about it. Or I shouldn't say we because I don't, but you know what I'm saying.
NNAMDII know exactly what you're saying. Jenny says we don't need to go in and break it all over again. What do you think, 800-433-8850? Whether you want to talk about the recent events in Virginia, Carl (sic) Schwartz, former Republican declaring as an independent for mayor of the District of Columbia, what's going on in Iraq or the recent state of violence, or I guess these days we don't call it recent anymore. We can call it ongoing. A little more about that when we come back. But it's Your Turn. You control this agenda, 800-433-8850. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back. It's Your Turn when you decide what we talk about by shooting us a tweet @kojoshow, sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us at 800-433-8850. You can send -- you can also go to our website kojoshow.org and join the conversation there. We got a tweet from Jonah who said, "Cantor let the leadership get to his head. Goes to show you can never neglect your constituents." Michael tweets, "How can Nancy Pelosi say Iraq is not our responsibility when we're directly responsible for this current situation?"
NNAMDIDavid in Elkins, W.V. says, "So much for Citizens United. Corporations may have money, but they don't vote, people do. If the people would stop listening to the ads and study the issues, no amount of money could save the likes of Cantor." And then Tom in Vienna writes, "I have a feeling that some of the voters may be even enough to have made a difference. Voted for Mr. Brat as a protest vote never expecting that he might actually win. I know I have cast such protest votes, especially when an incumbent is considered a shoe-in." We go back to the phones now and we talk with Seth in Washington, D.C. Seth, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
SETHHi, Kojo. How are you doing?
SETHI'm calling about the situation in Iraq and especially these, what they call them in Arabic, (word?) group. And it's I guess been described as a group so violent that even al-Qaida, you know, is washing it's hand off of it. You know, we just saw the Iraqi army actually that was trained by the U.S. abandon their posts and left their weapons behind allowing these terrorists to actually capture a couple of, you know, the second largest city in Iraq as well as Saddam Hussein's hometown.
SETHAnd then we could hear many politicians in the U.S. actually asking for the arming of the secular opposition in Syria. This same terrorist group in Iraq was able to overrun the Iraqi army. How can we actually guarantee when we arm the secular rebels in Syria that the same does not happen to them, if we were to give them sophisticated weapons that many of us are asking for?
SETHWhat would prevent these terrorists, the (word?) group, from actually (unintelligible) to seize these secular rebels and take the weapons? So they've become doubly, you know, doubly deadly not only for Syria, but also for the whole region.
NNAMDIIf you're drawing references about Syria, Seth, are you also drawing any references about -- or drawing any inferences, I should say, about Afghanistan?
SETHAfghanistan is different in one small respect. Afghanistan has -- we're not trying to arm anybody except for the government. And then you have the Taliban which predominantly is the main -- you know, is the main force that are fighting the regime there. Unfortunately for the Middle East, and especially Iraq and Syria and a few other countries, the support for this terrorist group is so wide. And, you know, many suspect actually some governments are providing support for these groups, financial anyway, that I'm not as concerned for Afghanistan, for that -- you know, with this group because they -- as their name indicates, they're (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDI...as you are with Syria.
SETHYeah, Syria and Iraq. So...
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call. We'll see what others have to say about it. And since you talked about arming these groups, let's talk about guns for a little bit because we seem to be experiencing a rash of gun violence. Earlier this week there was a shooting at a high school in Portland, Oregon where a student killed another student. That came just days after police officers were -- two police officers shot in cold blood in Las Vegas. The couple who allegedly carried out those killings were tied to extreme right wing groups. They espoused antigovernment and white supremacist views as they shot two police officers to death.
NNAMDIFirst question, would you describe them as terrorists? There seems to be a reluctance in news media to call such individuals terrorists, and a lot of Muslim groups are arguing that it seems now that we only refer to terrorists or we only use that phrase to refer to people who happen to be Muslim. What do you think? Should those individuals have been referred to as terrorists, 800-433-8850?
NNAMDIPresident Obama weighed in on the issue after the shooting in Portland, Oregon at the high school earlier this week. Let's give a listen to some of his press conference.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMAWe're the only developed country on earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this. The United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMAIt's not the only country that has psychosis. And yet, we kill each other in these mass shootings that rates -- that are exponentially higher than anyplace else. Well, what's the difference? The difference is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses. And that's sort of par for the course.
NNAMDIThat was from an NBC News broadcast with Brian Williams on June 10. Do you agree with the president? Do you think gun violence has reached epidemic proportions? Do you think there should be more outreach? Are we becoming numb to incidents like this? What should be done about it, 800-433-8850? It is Your Turn. You can also send email to email@example.com or shoot us a tweet @kojoshow. Let us move on now to David in -- no, David's -- yes, David's here. David in Arlington, Va. David, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
DAVIDHi, Kojo. Wow, following that the thing that I'm going to bring up seems pretty medial. So you may have seen the story, it was a very brief one, but the FDA issued a new regulation -- I believe this was two days ago, I think it was Monday, where they said that the aging of artisanal cheeses could no longer be done on cheeseboards. And basically if you've ever been to a Whole Foods or anyplace and you've seen a cheese counter, basically it would've cut their available supply in half. Actually more because most European imported cheeses are aged on wooden boards.
DAVIDAnd then two days later after a lot of internet outcry and outcry from the artisanal cheese-making community, they said that they had never actually issued the regulation, which they had -- or it was just in print. And it's a completely different strain but I am wondering if you think, and if anyone else thinks, that this is sort of part of what appears to be a growing trend of the government having sort of confused priorities. When you saw a few weeks back with Cliven Bundy, a very clear cut case of what the government should or shouldn't have been enforcing. And then, began to enforce it and then very quickly backed away from it. I mean, in the face of a lot of guns, admittedly.
DAVIDBut just the same, the same thing could be applied for the pipeline building that was to occur in the Midwest in following on (unintelligible) . And I am kind of wondering if it isn't, you know, symptomatic of government that has so much money and influence pouring in from so many different directions that it's bogged down no longer on bureaucracy but confusion?
NNAMDII mean, why would you think it's bogged down by confusion as opposed to bureaucracy? Because when you have a very large bureaucracy, very often one part of the bureaucracy does not know what the other part of the bureaucracy is doing. Which I guess can be described to some extent as confusion.
DAVIDI mean, I guess the distinction that I would make is that in bureaucracy -- well, from what I've always taken away from sort of the generalization of bureaucracy is that it does (unintelligible) direction, but it's very slowly and ineffectively. This, however, seems different. There seems to be sort of the case where what would normally be a slow hurdle in one direction no longer seems to be that way. It actually doesn't seem to have any particular focus at all. It's not moving in the direction of regulation or when it does, it's not in any one particular area.
DAVIDArtisanal cheese is not a particularly large sect of the food industry let alone our economy as a whole. But for some reason, our government feels more of a need to intervene there than with GMOs or with, pardon me, a mass-produced food, factory farming. It just seems like an odd place for the FDA to sort of stick itself in. And I guess (unintelligible) ...
NNAMDIWell, you mentioned comparing it to the Clive Bundy situation, the 20-year legal dispute between the Bureau of Land Management and cattle rancher Cliven Bundy in southeast Nevada over unpaid grazing fees that developed into an armed confrontation between protestors and law enforcement. What do you think the government did wrong there?
DAVIDWell, I mean, actually it's kind of an odd devil's advocacy moment for me because I would argue that they never should've made the policy with the cheese incident. But they should have enforced the policy with Cliven Bundy. And ultimately they did not and they continued to not do that. I guess the point that I'm making is it seems that they're unable to carry out, rightly or wrongly, whatever policies they seem to want to issue. In fact, it's really the only...
NNAMDIOkay. I'll see what others have to say about that. Thank you so much for your call. We move on to Eric in Salisbury, Md. Eric, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
ERICHi, Kojo. How are you today?
ERICI wanted to respond to something that you had said earlier about the making reparations for the slave trade.
ERICI kind of find it a little bit bothersome when you hear things like that because of the, what, ten-and-a-half million Africans that were shipped to North America, the United States only got 388,000 people. Now, it's not such a great -- there's, you know, there's 400,000, but Brazil alone has 5 million slaves that were taken to their country. So why does it always seem like something comes up 200 years later? It just doesn't seem right to us these days to have to pay for the sins of our great, great, great, great, great grandfathers.
NNAMDIWell, in the case of people who are paying reparations for what happened to the Jews during World War II, the governments and private institutions that are being asked to pay those reparations were not themselves around in those days. In addition to which I don't think you're asking -- or the people who are asking for reparations whether they are moral in nature or whether they're economic in nature are asking it to be paid for slaves in Brazil. There's a whole other movement in some parts of the world.
NNAMDIIn the Caribbean I know it's taking place now, asking for reparations from Britain for slavery because of slavery that was organized by Britain in the Caribbean colonies.
ERICWell, in the -- I guess then, at what point, does the country such as Britain, Ireland and France ask for reparations from the Middle East for the over million Europeans that were taken in the Barbary Slave Trade.
NNAMDII don't know because I don't know when the time limits expire on these kinds of things. But the current debate is not just about slavery. It's about things that continued well into the 20th century. Redlining, for instance, people who are still alive who have been affected by this. That's the argument that's being made today. I think that one of the problems with the issue of reparations is that when we hear the word, a lot of us don't bother to read what the specific arguments that are being made of. We just assume that it's about one thing or the other.
NNAMDIAnd I think if there is going to be a dialogue on the issue of reparations, and everyone has to start out on the same page with the same understanding at the very least of what we're talking about. When I read Ta-Nehisi Coates' piece, I did not know before I read it that he was going to be talking about segregation and redlining and the effects -- ongoing effects of that of people who were still alive. That makes it a different conversation entirely.
ERICI think I agree actually. And I wouldn't have any problem with reparations if -- you know, to do with that. But I think what they maybe need to do is either change the headline from, you know, reparations for the slavery...
NNAMDIThat's been -- that's actually been discussed. There are people who said that word is what puts a lot of people off.
ERICExactly. And one other point, as far as like with the recent bit of gun violence.
ERICThere was -- was it one or two of the more recent ones, actually the attacker started out with knives? So, you know, we always throw out the quick, you know, reference to it's gun violence...
NNAMDIWell, somebody was quick to point out that in the attacks that happened with knives, nobody was actually killed. And they say that's part of the difference between the -- those instruments of violence and guns, which people who are weighing in on the argument who are for stronger controls on guns say guns are really deadly force from the minute you start out.
ERICOh yeah, well, it's not necessarily -- I guess it wouldn't be a matter of knife violence as a mass knife attack. But, you know, on an average, homicides by knife is far more, you know, prevalent in this country than it is by gun.
NNAMDINo. I think you will find statistically that that is absolutely incorrect. Homicide by gun I think you will find statistically way exceeds homicide by knife. But if I'm wrong, somebody else will call in to correct me. So Eric...
ERICI will even check that out. Thank you very much.
NNAMDICheck it out for me, Eric. Thank you for your call. We move on now to Dale in Berwyn Heights, Md. Dale, you're re on the air. Go ahead, please.
DALEHi, how's it going, Kojo? Great topics today. The main one I really wanted to hit on is -- first off, let me give a little bit of background. I'm actually a 15-year Marine Corps. infantry guy 0311. I was a marksmanship instructor in all of the above. So as close to the frontline as you could get, that was the job I had. And I will tell you in this country, for any civilian person to have a AR-15 or a high-capacity assault rifle is absolutely insane.
DALEI have a lot of military friends who disagree with me but there's no purpose for an everyday 18- to 21- or even 30-year-old that's not a gun collector to have that weapon. Now, I own a weapon. I'm a weapon owner. I have a pistol. I have a shotgun and a rifle. That's the basics of what I need. And...
NNAMDIWhat do you need it for?
DALEWell, first of all, my pistol is for personal protection for my home if anything happens.
DALEAlso, the shotgun. A shotgun, if -- and I don't want to get too longwinded on it but a shotgun in close quarters causes less damage than me firing a 9 mil that's going to go through a wall and possibly kill my neighbor. And then a rifle is for basically hunting for deer and so forth and so on. But that's a seven-shot, not a high-capacity assault rifle that a lot of these incidents takes place.
DALEAnd these people comparing a knife to an assault rifle really are just being ridiculous. There's -- if I had to try to plan out an attack, I'm not going to pack 30 knifes in my backpack, you know, and stab 30 people when I can kill 30 people in a matter of a couple of minutes with these assault type weapons. And like I said, I think the real issue is absolutely mental challenges that people have. But there's the stress of society also where people get pushed to a point or they get filtered so much misinformation, they start to believe it. And that is coming from a guy, like I said, I spent 15 years, I've been all over the world, went to military. I'm now a civilian. And I just -- this stuff happening every day -- and I think it's interesting that it's really younger people.
DALEAnd younger people are just in a state of despair in the sense that they really have been sold this bill of goods that this country is...
NNAMDIDale. Dale, I got to take a short -- got to take a short break.
NNAMDIOkay. No, I'm sorry.
NNAMDIThank you very much for your call. Before I take that break, allow me to share a statistic with you. According to the statistics we have, out of 16,000 homicides in the U.S. in 2010, 11,000 were by firearms. So obviously there are not more people killing people with knives than with firearms. But I'd like to hear what you think about the argument that Obama made. And that is that if you've got countries like China with more than a billion, India with more than a billion, other countries with large populations, why don't they have the same number of mass shootings that we do? What's the differences that causes that to happen more here than it happens anyplace else?
NNAMDIBut, "It's Your Turn." 800-433-8850. If the lines are busy, shoot us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send us a tweet @kojoshow. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIWelcome back, "It's Your Turn." The Washington Post, on Tuesday, published an article in its Post Everything opinion blog, under a headline that read, "One Way to End Violence Against Women: Stop Taking Lovers and Get Married." The firestorm that resulted forced them to rewrite that headline. Here are some of the tweets they got in response. "Washington Post figured out how to stop violence against women -- patriarchy. Now, why didn't I think of that?"
NNAMDI"Washington Post just won the Pulitzer Prize for most rapiest and least factiest opinion writing." The author of the article, editor of Post Everything, Adam Kushner, tweaked the headline but defended the gist of the article, saying, "I think the headline we originally put on the piece distracted people from taking seriously a raft of social science that the authors discuss. But for the headline," he says, "that was my bad. On now to you. We'll start with Krutik in Reston, Va. Krutik, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
KRUTIKHey, Kojo. Can you hear me?
KRUTIKAwesome. Okay. So, yeah, I'm calling because I was a little disappointed, you know, hearing the continuous misrepresentation (word?) for Iraq. And I thought, you know, this might not hurt, refreshing our memories a little bit.
KRUTIKIn my opinion, I mean, the Iraq war actually did not really start in 2001, 2002. I mean it was basically a continuation of the unfinished work of the 1991 war. I mean, if you think about it, in 1998, 1999, the Congress overwhelmingly approved the regime change in Iraq. It wasn't something that George Bush just came up with. You know, that's the first point. The second point is that this idea that we just went in because of weapons of mass destruction is completely untrue. I mean, George Bush made a speech. And I'm no spokesperson for George Bush, but I'm no supporter for him either.
KRUTIKBut the fact is that he met the four conditions, as specified in the Geneva Convention, where a country is deemed to have lost its sovereignty. And Iraq qualified on all those four cases. So I mean I think it's just a misrepresentation of saying that we went in for weapons of mass destruction, which wasn't even there.
NNAMDIWell, Krutik -- Krutik, what do you make of the mass memory of people of the Secretary of State, Colin Powell, going before the United Nations, televised all over the world, making a case that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. And that on that basis, there should be a willingness of a coalition to go in and remove him. Are you going to say that that didn't happen?
KRUTIKWell, that's selective memory. Again, I'm not defending Colin Powell or George Bush in this case. My point is that the case for Iraq is not limited to George Bush, right? Or the United States for that matter.
NNAMDIOh, sure. I can understand.
KRUTIKThe case for Iraq was the Iraqi people. So I'm trying to make a case for the Iraqi people more than whether George Bush should have done it or not or whether the FBI failed. I mean that's a secondary question to me and probably not of that much interest.
KRUTIKI mean, look at the facts. After the invasion, we have Libya who surrendered, and not to the U.N., but to George W. Bush.
KRUTIKThere was a time where somebody has to step up and say that fooling with weapons of mass destruction is not acceptable.
NNAMDIOkay. Let us say that we have reached a point at least where we have some agreement about the past. What should the future hold?
KRUTIKWell, and that's what my point is. I mean, what troubles me most is that the antiwar campaign out there wants to have the cake and eat it too, right? I mean, when we were not winning at war, you wanted us to -- you wanted us to believe that there is no reason to go into Iraq. Once we were in Iraq, you wanted us to be pulled out. You wanted that the American troops should come back home. And we did. And now when things are going not right, it's again the problem of the right or, you know, of going into Iraq at the first place. I mean, I don't get that argument.
NNAMDII know, but...
KRUTIKI think this is an argument not less intervention but more intervention. I mean...
NNAMDINo, no. I wasn't making any argument at all. I was asking you, what do you think should be the course for the future?
KRUTIKAnd when I say you, I mean, I don't mean you. My point would be on (unintelligible)
NNAMDII know but -- I know. I understand that. You're making an argument against people, generally on the left, who are against going in in the first place. But I'm, again, asking you, what do you think is the correct course for the United States and the Obama administration to take now?
KRUTIKBut there's no simple answer to it. And, you know, I wish I had a simple answer. I mean, all I'm trying to say is that it's oversimplification by saying that what happened through ISIS or al-Nusra in Syria and on the Syrian border on Iraq is somehow and responsibility and of the buildup American intervention in the first place. I mean, fighting terrorism does not break terrorism. And this idea is something I fail to understand. And, you know, that's my larger point.
KRUTIKYou cannot fight terrorism and not expect them to come back at you. That doesn't mean that you stop fighting them.
NNAMDIHow do you -- how do you think the United States should proceed in dealing with the developments in Iraq right now? Mosul is gone. And apparently Bagdad is threatened.
KRUTIKWell, I mean, look, there are lots of nice things. I mean, so let's also bring in some good things. I mean, we have a free Kurdish day. I mean, we -- I mean, that actually was an achievement if you think about it.
KRUTIKWe have a (unintelligible) in Iraq. That's nothing short of achievement. So there are good things that have happened because of American intervention. That is not to say that there are bad things too. Is there a bombing consensus in the world around how to handle Iraq? No. And maybe that's -- that's a failure. That's not just a failure of U.S., but it's a failure of the larger international community in general.
KRUTIKCan I think of a solution on my own? No. (unintelligible)
NNAMDIOkay, but I -- no, but -- at least you seem to be advocating that there should be a solution that the quote, unquote "international community," I use that term, I use quote, unquote because people say when we say international community, we really mean the West. But you seem to be in agreement that this is something that the international community should put its heads together on.
KRUTIKAbsolutely. I mean, no question about that. I mean, and you bring up a very interesting point, what is the international community? I mean, if you look at the U.N. Security Council, who basically vetoes on stuff which is completely beyond the natural interests of the international community, then, yeah, it is difficult. I mean, look at 1995 in the Balkans. I mean, the Russians and the Chinese vetoed intervention in Bosnia. I mean, was it correct? I don't know. I mean, it doesn't seem like it was correct. I mean, so yeah, there are times when you have to take it international steps.
KRUTIKAnd other international community does not agree.
KRUTIKIs it an easy problem? No. But my point is that oversimplifying it by blaming everything on the intervention to begin with is just -- it's just incorrect in my opinion.
NNAMDIOkay, Krutik. Thank you very much for your call. Do have to move on. We move on now to Zack in Deal Island, Md. Zack, your turn.
ZACKHow are you doing, Kojo?
ZACKThat's good. I just wanted to say a little something about the Republican Party and its future in general.
NNAMDIPlease go ahead.
ZACKI -- yeah, I think that as a young person, I'm 20 years old, the Republican Party's going to have to go through some changes pretty soon here. People around my age, I think, they don't really care as much about social issues, like gay marriage or smoking weed or -- well, you know, just mostly the social issues. They're still pretty much on par with the smaller government idea. But they think, you know, if we have smaller government as far as financially, they shouldn't be able to invade in our lives. And I think the Republican Party is a little slow to catch on to the younger voters. What do you think, Kojo?
NNAMDIWell, you're saying that it was the younger voters that threw Eric Cantor out? You're saying that there's a demographic there -- an age demographic?
ZACKI think there definitely is. I think that the younger voters, for the most part, they don't care as much about the old Republican-style issues. You know, we're not too excited about gay marriage. We're not too excited about any other kind of social issues. What we mostly care about are the financial issues now.
NNAMDIOkay. But how do you express that concern about the financial issues? How do you express, for instance, the concern about what's to be done about, oh, the budget in the Commonwealth of Virginia?
ZACKWell, as far as Virginia goes, I mean, I'm from Maryland and...
NNAMDIOh, I thought you...
ZACK...I mean, can't throw stones in a glass house, you know? All that gets a little (word?) too. My father works for the State of Maryland.
NNAMDIWell -- I'm glad you mentioned that because what is happening to the Republican Party in the State of Maryland?
ZACKWell as you -- as you probably know, Maryland's a small Republican state. There's not a whole lot of us around here, you know? Most of us are kind of towards western Maryland or we're out on the Delmarva Peninsula, like I am. And the City of Baltimore, really, that's where most of the votes come from. So I don't think we get as represented as some of the other voters.
NNAMDIBut you also don't seem to have the kind of rumblings within the party or they're not as evident as we see them in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
ZACKI think that there is some truth to that. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, I think that there's more rumblings in there because the Republicans have more of a -- they have more of a say. And, here, I don't think we have as much of a say. So we stick together even though we don't agree with each other quite as much.
ZACKJust because to be heard, we got to have those numbers. But in Virginia, I think they probably got more of them. I'm not too up to date on their legal system.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you for your call. Allow me to move on to Jason in Washington D.C. Jason, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JASONHi. Thank you, Kojo, for taking my call. I guess I just wanted to mirror a lot of what your previous callers have been saying, just kind of, I guess, you know, for what it's worth, but in an acute sense. It seems to be the mantra predominantly from the Republican Party that if there is a rise up for the escalation of issues in the Middle East, that, you know, one of the first things that we, as the United States, should do is have some show of force or have some plan of action ready to go. And it always seems that we want to throw troops towards these issues.
JASONI guess my concern or maybe my comment is this, is that, you know, I know that we are a superpower and I know that we have, you know, obligations around the world. But I just wonder if, you know, the Republican Party, if they were sending, you know, their sons or their daughters overseas like this, if it would be as easy a decision to make. And I think sometimes, for me, as a voted, I'm looking to hear maybe the most intelligent argument. And I don't always seem to get that from the Republican Party. So...
NNAMDIWell, you know, Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel of New York, a couple of years ago -- a few years ago, talked about bringing back the draft. I don't know how serious he was. I don't think he really thought that he could get anyplace with it. But he thought that if we had the draft again, people would have a completely different perspective about going to war. Is that what you're saying?
JASONWell I don't necessarily know if I'm tying myself to that. I mean, I remember actually having to enlist when I turned 18 back some years ago that I don't care to mention. But I just, you know, as far as we talk about, you know, social conscience and this awareness of trying to -- you know, I want to work under the belief that we as a country are always to do the right thing, you know? And, you know, I love this country with everything that I am. But sometimes I really do struggle with some of the decisions that we make.
JASONAnd I don't know if it's isolated to one particular, you know, presidency, or if it's isolated to a group of people. I think that's sort of probably very unfair for me to say without, you know, fact finding. But it just seems to be very prevalent in the Republican Party that this is the way that we should go. And I just wonder if there's ever a moment of pause to think about actually what we're doing. And, you know, we talk about...
NNAMDIWell, there are people who make the argument that if we are the world's only superpower, and we see that there are things going on in parts of -- other parts of the world that need a course correction, if you will, that because no one else can really do it, we have the obligation to do it. And we have the armed forces that can do it.
JASONI do understand that. And I know, Kojo, that there is no blatant, you know, answer or solution for this. I guess maybe -- and, again, please, and this is no insult to, you know, the media, which you represent or anything that we perceive from television -- it just never seems to get out to the American public that there was, you know, that there is this deep moral conversation, we've thought long and hard about this. I mean, immediately, any time -- it seems, the perception is that any time there's any level of escalation, to the first thing that you hear from the Republican Party is, well, you know, the president seems to have a very weak stance on this.
JASONYou know, we should be showing this country and perhaps the world that, you know, we are ready at a moment's notice and…
NNAMDIThat's, I'm afraid, going to have to be the last comment on that, because we are running out of time very quickly, Jason. We got an email from Andrew who pointed out that I said that no one had been killed in a recent knife attack. I was wrong. He mentioned that one student killed his three roommates with a knife, referring to the Elliott Rodger killing in Santa Barbara. He is right. What I was referring to was the incident at the Franklin Regional High School in Marysville, Pa., where 20 students were injured in April by someone with a knife.
NNAMDIAnd in that situation, no one actually died. So in some respects we were both right, that there was an attack in which people died and then there was an attack in which so many people did not die. I have a few seconds left. I think I will give it to Alex in Vienna, Va. Alex, you've got about 20 seconds.
ALEXOh, wow. Okay. Thank you, Kojo, for taking my call. There's the phrase that I'm tired of hearing. And that is, Islamic extremist. And I am not -- I'm more and more disinterested in religion every day. I am not Muslim or pretty much anything that I can list. But I -- to me, Islamic extremist, you're either one or the other or neither.
ALEXBut you're not both.
NNAMDIYou make an excellent point. And I'm afraid that's the last point we're going to have made on this broadcast, because it was an edition of "Your Turn," where you set the agenda. Thank you, all of those who participated. And thank you all for listing. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
NNAMDIComing up tomorrow on the Politics Hour, a dark-horse candidate in Virginia delivers a stunning upset to the Republican House Majority Leader. A long-time D.C. politician gets back in the race with an independent mayoral run. And candidates in Maryland's primaries for governor and attorney general hit the home stretch. The Politics Hour, tomorrow at Noon on WAMU 88.5 and streaming at kojoshow.org.
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