tv PBS News Hour PBS July 20, 2010 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. president karzai said his government would take charge of security in afghanistan by 2014. >> brown: and i'm jeffrey brown. on the newshour tonight, the afghan leader spoke at a meeting of the international community, and his words came on a day of new violence. we get two views on how much the u.s. and others can rely on the karzai government. >> brown: then we look at the new choice for director of national intelligence and his tough job ahead. >> brown: paul solman reports
zelikow president karzai addressed representatives from dozens of nations and organizations. and he called again for afghans to take charge of their own security nationwide by 2014. >> the national institutions dedicated to fulfilling the constitutional duty has ensured the security of our country. >> lehrer: karzai's date of 2014 is more than three years after american troops are supposed to start a drawdown. under president obama's timetable but at the conference secretary of state clinton insisted the u.s. has no intention of abandoning afghanistan. >> the july 2011 date captures both our sense of urgency and the strength of our resolve. the transition process is too important to push off indefinitely, but this date is
the start of a new phase, not the end of our involvement. >> lehrer: the obama administration has been wary of karzai's recent willingness to hold peace talks with the taliban leadership. today the afghan leader took a harder line toward the militants. >> we face a vicious common enemy that violates every islamic and international norm to break our unity of effort. they would like nothing better than to create uncertainty, to force our publics to doubt our power and our determination. >> lehrer: in turn the foreign minister from neighboring iran argued it's already clear that foreign forces in afghanistan will not deter the taliban. >> despite the increase in military forces, the security situation is getting more dangerous. it is hard to envision a future in which the situation improves. according to official
statistics, ininsecurity has increased significantly since last year. >> lehrer: for the conference at least security was tight in kabul. with police adding check points throughout the city and closing major intersections. but in the northern city of maz sha reef an afghan soldier opened fire at a military base killing two american civilians and two afghan troops. and two more nato troops, one of them an american, were killed in the south. that made 43 u.s. deaths this month after 60 were killed in june. the violence is also hindered development efforts across afghanistan. and the british foreign secretary underscored concerns about corruption as karzai appealed for foreign aid to go directly through his government. >> we will always need to see that the government is making the best possible use of our and its own money. this means continuing on a path of improved financial management and budget
execution. as well as tackling corruption at all times. >> lehrer: in the end though u.n. secretary general bon key moon said today's conference marked the beginning of a crucially important transition. >> we will now take the lead in shaping the country's future. afghans will set the priorities and decide which path to follow. the international community will play a supporting role. >> lehrer: and in washington, president obama and visiting british prime minister david cameron also praised the gathering in the afghan capital. >> the kabul conference shows that the afghan... that afghanistan has the support of the international community including the united states which will remain a long-term partner for the security and progress of the afghan people. >> over 40 foreign ministers and 0 delegations assembled in kabul to monitor progress and drive forward the international strategy.
that is a real achievement. we should congratulate president karzai on it. >> lehrer: the conference endorsed channeling half of all development aid through the afghan government within two years. in exchange the karzai regime must crack down on ... for more, we go to james dobbins, a veteran state department official who was special envoy to afghanistan in the early bush years. he now directs the international security and defense policy center at the rand corporation. and nazif shahrani, an afghan- american who is a professor of anthropology at indiana university. he travels frequently to afghanistan. be bins, how do you see this kabul conference? >> i think it set out several significant aspirations and goals. one is for the afghan government to take the lead in providing security throughout the country by 2014. a second for the international community to begin putting more aid through the afghan government.
and thirdly, support for karzai's effort to try eventually and over the longer term to negotiate a peaceful resolution of the conflict. >> lehrer: professor, do you agree that it sets some goals that were worthy goals? what is your view of it? >> well, the goals are certainly worthy. this is not the first time the international community and president karzai have made promises to the people of afghanistan and to the international community. in fact, this year this is the third time. the london conference. the peace jerg a in kabul and now the kabul international conference. the track that president karzai has for keeping these promises unfortunately are not very good. he has not, in fact, done much of what he has promised to the people of afghanistan. they are quite cynical about this conference and other conferences like this. >> lehrer: let's be specific here for a few moments. mr. dobbins, the president
said, okay, afghanistan can take over the security of the country by 2014. is that a do-able thing? >> i'd say two things. first of all it's an aspiration not a commitment. secondly it's afghanistan taking the lead not taking over. >> lehrer: okay. >> as a point of reference, iraq took over the lead for security in iraq more than a year ago. we kept 140,000 troops there throughout that year. we're only now reducing down to 50,000. we're going to keep 50,000 there for another 18 months. so taking the lead isn't the same as taking over. >> lehrer: can he take the lead? >> i think it's a reasonable goal. that by 2014. that's four years from now. they'll be in the lead. we'll be in a supporting position. >> lehrer: a goal but is it a reasonable expectation? >> i think it's a reasonable goal. i think as aspirations go,
they tend not to be met fully and on schedule more often than not. i wouldn't be surpriseded to see it slip, but it's not... but it is a reasonable one and hope it can be met. >> lehrer: what's your view of that? the 2014 aspiration professor sharani? >> i think if it could be achieved, it would be a blessing for the people of afghanistan. but unfortunately president karzai in the last nine years has consistently lost the confidence of the people of afghanistan. he has the international support, but he has been losing the support of the people of afghanistan. he has failed in his leadership particularly amongst his own pashtun tribesmen in the south. he was hoping that people would back him. but unfortunately given the corrupt nature of the government he has been running, the people in afghanistan are not very confident that he could be able to achieve
either the goal for 2014 or even for many years into the future if that was the case. the leadership deficit in afghanistan is a very serious one. from the perspective of the people of afghanistan. >> lehrer: you think the key to it is just corruption? just simple corruption? or is it more complex than that? >> it is more than that. it's also the system of governance. i think president karzai insisted through the new constitution to create a super presidency and an extremely centralized government structure which he has not been able to deliver. he has failed. i think this is inappropriate system of governance for a multiethnic society such as afghanistan. i think he has not been able to also come up with any offer for the taliban to be... to negotiate over. he wants to negotiate but he hasn't said what he is going to offer them to negotiate for or over.
and he needs to articulate what that might be. i think through decentralization government structure in afghanistan which would be far more appropriate for the country, taliban might have an incentive to negotiate with the government, that is, to be able to run their own local communities. in areas where they have support. >> lehrer: mr. dobbins, do you see the same thing that this goes back to just the way it's governed as much as the way... as much as karzai, the way he does it? >> i think the problems the professor outlined are certainly serious problems. i to think they have to be kept in some perspective. there is a serious problem of corruption in the country. on the other hand, this is a country that was at civil war for 30 years. it's hard to expect people to have more loyalty to institutions than to their families, their tribes, and their extended relationships. so naturally that's where their primary loyalties lie. it leads to high degrees of patronage and what we would characterize as corruption. it's a serious problem that
needs to be combated. secondly, i don't think it's fair to blame president karzai for the central... the nature of the centralized government. first of all it's the only kind of government afghanistan has ever been familiar with is a weak unitary government. and only informal, no formal structures at the local level. secondly, i was the u.s. representative at the conference where this government was originally set up . karzai wasn't even there. it was clear all the afghans there were unfamiliar with and uncomfortable with the concept of federalism. i do think the professor is right that if there are serious negotiations that begin with the insurgents with the taliban and others, it will lead to demands for some degree of decentralization and on balance that might not be a bad thing. >> lehrer: do you have any reason, professor sharani, just to go to the bottom line here, to be optimistic about whether all of this ... not only the
civil discussion and the aid discussions and all of that, corruption, but also what's happening militarily on the ground, is going to lead to a stability that will eventually result in a stable afghanistan? is this thing on a path toward hope in your opinion? >> i think unless and until we have a truly honest government in afghanistan as partner for our military efforts and economic and political efforts, we will not be able to succeed in this. i think our military leaders have the best knowledge about the conditions on the ground in afghanistan. they have been calling for community participation in policing and defense in afghanistan. i hope that general petraeus would be able to convince president karzai to pursue building a government system from the bottom up where the people of afghanistan have communities of trust, that
they believe in, and that we need to turn those informal institutions into formal ones and build a government. truly that represents the people of afghanistan and that they supported. when they support an honest government in afghanistan, our efforts will bear fruit. without that, there is no hope. >> lehrer: what's your level of optimism at this point? long-term? mr. dobbins? >> well, all wars do end. i think karzai continues to enjoy a really almost unique degree of international support. there are obviously reservations, and there are concerns. >> lehrer: the people on the ground, you mean? >> again, i'm saying international support. >> lehrer: international support. >> i mean virtually every major power in the world supports karzai, supports the nato presence. the only country that has any real reservations is pakistan which is indeed a serious problem. still it's rather isolated in that regard. i think in terms of domestic support, again, his numbers
are probably better than our own president's so we have to put this in some perspective but they have fallen. he had 90% popularity ratings when he went into office. he's been in office now for a long time, since 2001. nine years. and he has faced very large problems. some of his own making, as the professor has indicated. this is eroded his support. but it's still quite a respectable level. but finally i do agree that we do need to support a bottom-up strategy as well as a top-down strategy not just supporting and strengthening the regime in kabul but also trying to recreate more vibrant local institutions. and the u.s. government was divided on this until recently. general petraeus seems to have been able to secure agreement first of all within his own government on that. now from president karzai for a strategy that does focus
more at building local... including local security capacity. >> lehrer: along the lines that professor sharani just outlined. >> very much. >> lehrer: so we'll leave it there. gentlemen, thank you both very much. >> a pleasure. >> thank you. >> brown: still to come on the newshour, confirmation hearings for the director of national intelligence; salary cuts and pension reforms in greece; and a gel that may prevent aids. but first, the other news of the day. here's hari sreenivasan in our newsroom. >> sreenivasan: today marked three months since that oil well in the gulf of mexico exploded out of control. but federal officials reported a new containment cap is still holding, and they gave b.p. the green light to continue the pressure test for another 24 hours. a scientists were still monitoring five small leaks around the well, and retired coast guard admiral thad allen said seepage detected two miles away is not from this well. >> we have five very small leaks around the blowout preventer, ot unlike the oil leak you might have in your
car. very small drips i would say. we don't consider them consequential involving the integrity of the well head. moving beyond that where we find anomalies where there's a difference in densities located by the seismic sensors we investigate those with rovs. the most prominent one is three kilometers away that was producing some time in the past. we found nothing that would be consequential toward the integrity of the well head to date. >> sreenivasan: allen said he's consulting with b.p. on pumping heavy mud through the cap to help plug the well. that so-called "top kill" procedure would be in addition to relief wells to be used for the same purpose. the furor over b.p. and the release of the lockerbie bomber, abdel baset al-megrahi, was a prime topic at the white house today. president obama and british prime minister cameron were questioned about it repeatedly after their meeting. the british prime minister turned aside calls for his government to launch a new inquiry into the man's release. >> the role of b.p. and any lobbying they might have done
is an issue for b.p. and an issue that they should explain themselves. i mean the decision to release the man though was a decision made by the scottish government. i haven't seen anything to suggest that the scottish government were in any way swayed by b.p.. >> reporter: for his part president obama said it is important to get all the facts. >> i think all of us here in the united states were surprised, disappointed and angry about the release of the lockerbie bomber. so we welcome any additional information that will give us insights and a better understanding of why the decision was made. >> sreenivasan: the man got a life sentence for bombing a pan am jetliner over lockerbie scotland in 198. all 259 people aboard and 1 on the ground were killed. last year scottish officials sent the man home after eight years behind bars. doctors said he was dying of
prostate cancer but he remains alive. cameron led britain's conservative opposition at the time. he recalled his objections today. >> look, i'm not standing here today and saying it was a bad decision to release the lockerbie bomber. i said this a year ago at the time that it was a bad decision. it shouldn't have been made. this is the biggest mass murder in british history. there's no business in letting him out of prison. >> sreenivasan: b.p. acknowledges it lobbied for a broader prisoner transfer with libya to further commercial interests. it denies raising the bomber's release specifically but amid the gulf oil spill the issue has raised hackls in congress. new york senator chuck schumer spoke yesterday. >> no matter how powerful the corporation or how important the foreign government , a blood deal is a blood-money deal. and we're going to hold people accountable. >> sreenivasan: come cameron met with congressional leaders
late today and there's a senate hearing on the matter late next week. that bill to restore benefits to the long-term unemployed has cleared a major hurdle in the senate. democrats mustered 60 votes to end a filibuster today. the 60th vote came from carte goodwin, moments after he was sworn in as the new senator from west virginia. he replaced the late robert byrd. two republicans also voted to end the filibuster. other republicans said they wanted budget cuts elsewhere to pay for the $30 billion the bill will cost. wall street pieced together another day of gains despite some disappointing earnings reports. the dow jones industrial average gained 75 points to close just under 10,230. the nasdaq rose 24 points to close at 2222. the senate judiciary committee today recommended that elena kagan be confirmed to the u.s. supreme court. chairman patrick leahy praised kagan's legal knowledge, judicial independence, and consensus-building skills. >> solicitor general kagan did not serve in the judicial monastery but i would suggest that her work outside probably
is an additional qualification. solicitor general kagan demonstrated impressive knowledge of the law and fidelity to it. she spoke of her commitment to the continues constitution and the rule of law. >> sreenivasan: one republican, lindsey graham of south carolina, joined all 12 democrats voting for the nominee. he said kagan would not have been his choice, but that he believes she will serve honorably. other republicans, like jeff sessions of alabama, complained kagan lacks a "robust" legal and judicial background. >> that's the kind of legal experience of day in day out practice of law that forces clarity of thought. that's the kind of experience that separates the lawyer's lawyer from the political lawyer. ms. kagan does not have that kind of experience. she just does not. >> sreenivasan: senate democrats hope to confirm kagan before congress' august recess. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to jeff. >> brown: and we turn to the
latest attempt to fill what has been a complex and even controversial job, aimed at keeping the nation safe. retired air force general james claper appeared before the senate intelligence committee this afternoon bidding to become the nation's fourth director of national intelligence. >> we are the largest, most capable intelligence enterprise on the planet. it is a solemn, sacred trust of the dni to make that enterprise work for the sake of this nation and its people. >> brown: he is currently undersecretary of defense for intelligence. he also served as director of the defense intelligence agency in the 1990s. president obama noted that resume when he nominated claper last month. >> with four decades of service to america, jim is one of our nation's most experienced and most respected intelligence professionals. >> brown: the 9/11 attacks led to the creation of the cabinet- level post of director of national intelligence or d.n.i., after the 9/11 commission faulted the
intelligence community for a lack of coordination that might have prevented the attacks. the d.n.i. channels all intelligence-related information to the president and oversees the national counterterrorism center or n.c.t.c. 16 separate agencies and departments feed information to the center, including the c.i.a., the defense intelligence agency, and the national security agency. but from the beginning, the job has been fraught with challenges. turf battles among intelligence agencies have hurt all three of general claper's predecessors the most recent admiral dennis blair who was forced to step down in may. at today's confirmation hearing, the chair of the intelligence committee, democrat dianne feinstein, said claper is taking on a critical task and a tough one. >> intelligence growth has not always led to improved performance. growth in the size and number of agencies , offices, task
forces, and centers has also challenged the ability of former directors of national intelligence to truly manage the community. general claper, i want to be clear that we do not question your service, your knowledge, or our capability. we only ask that you clearly indicate your vision and commitment to head the intelligence community this afternoon and work to give it direction and prevent sprawl, overlap and duplication. >> brown: the hearing came amid a series in the "washington post" that found that the intelligence community has grown so large since 9/11 no one knows how effective it is. it's become heavily reliant on private contractors in preserving national security. today claper responded to the article co-written by dana priest. >> i didn't agree with some of that. i think there was some
breathless and shrillness to it that i i don't subscribe to. i think she's extrapolated from anecdotal ... her anecdotal experience in interviews with people. that's not to say that there aren't inefficiencies, there aren't things we can improve. >> brown: republican senator kit bond, the committee's vice chair asked a question at the start that many might have been wondering. >> you are now seeking one of the hardest jobs in washington. one fraught with maximum tensions. frankly today i ask you why? >> brown: still claper promised to meet the challenges if he's confirmed. >> i would not have agreed to take this position on if i were going to be a figure head or a hood ornament. i believe that the position of director of national intelligence is necessary. whether it's the construct we have now or the director of central intelligence in the old construct, there needs to
be a clear, defined , identifyable leader of the intelligence community to expert direction and control over the entirety of that community. >> brown: respond to go a hypothetical question from democratic senator ron widen of oregon the general made clear his sense of the chain of command within the intelligence apparatus. >> do you believe that you would have the authority to overrule the c.i.a. director? >> i do. >> brown: claper's nomination is expected to be confirmed by the full senate. for more on this for more on this, i'm joined by philip zelikow, a former state department counselor to condoleezza rice. he served as executive director of the 9/11 commission, and is now professor of history at the university of virginia. and richard clarke, the former white house point person on counterterrorism in the clinton administration and early days of the george w. bush administration. he is now the chairman of good harbor consulting. richard clarke, we heard senator bond say for... we're six years into this experiment of intelligence reform.
we have a long way to go. why? what's the basic problem? focus first on the d.n.i.position. >> the problem is you do have these 16 agencies five of which are very large. and suddenly someone is put on top of them who says i'm in charge and i'm going to tell you what to do. when before they were independent. in washington everyone is concerned about their turf, their rights, their prerogatives. no one wants to give up what they had which was control of their own agency to some new coordinator so they've resisted. there's been a whole series of bureaucratic battles fought in washington over the last six years to reassert the influence and control of the agencies as opposed to the this new thing that's been put on top of them. it hasn't worked very well. there's also been sort of unfortunate tendency by the directors of national intelligence to greatly increase the size of their staff. so what might have been a good idea with a few people has become a whole new level of bureaucracy, a giant
bureaucracy with lots of contractors as the "washington post" pointed out. >> brown: this idea grew out of the 9/11 commission. has it fulfilled or met any of your expectations or hopes? if not, where has it fallen short? >> it's a partial success. it's still a work in progress. here it's done two things. it's closed a big domestic - foreign divide that used to actually mark our intelligence community profoundly ten years ago. where the people who did domestic stuff were in one corner. the people who did foreign stuff were in another. we still have some of those problems but that divide has been bridged in ways that people now take for granted. but there's a huge improvement over the pre-9/11 condition. and the national counterterrorism center does a good job in working with entities like the nypd, for example, as well as with folks in the military. a second thing that's
it's made some progress in is being able to move some substantial money around to respond to new problems and to do some back- office functions that were extremely redundant and overlapping beforehand. it's made some modest progress in that realm. the issue is whether it's gone far enough. frankly, the congress did not enact the full recommendation, the report had even for the executive branch because the turf battle that we talk about in the executive branch are mirrored in the congress. but that's not all. the structures that control all this money aren't just structures in the executive branch. they're structures in the congress, and the congress didn't change its structure at all. >> brown: so, mr. clarke, if you have structures upon structures and you have turf battles upon turf battles, here we have a new man. general claper. what can he bring to it? what would you like to see happen to this position? >> well, jim claper is unique in that he's actually run two
of the big five agencies. and he has the trust of the pentagon. so that should enable him to do some things. >> brown: because there has been some tension. >> there's been a lot of tension between the intelligence community and the pentagon. they fight over the same pot of money. they fight over roles and missions. what i'd like to see jim do is start downsizing this incredible bloat that has occurred since 9/11 and about which the post has written so well yesterday and today. we're going to need to right- size the intelligence community. and taking the power that he has to move money around, he's going to have to, i think, beginning next year make cuts in the intelligence community budget. this is the first time in the last several years that this has happened. the intelligence community budget has tripled since 9/11. anything that anyone ever wants. if they say it's about terrorism or about cyber security they get the money for it. >> brown: you're not talking just about his office. you're talking about the entire community. >> i'm talking about the 75 billion dollars it costs to
run the 16 agencies. and there is regrettable overlap. some redundancy is a good thing but redundancy upon redundancy is not. we need to take a good look at what has grown up in the last ten years in and downsize it. >> brown: the growth of this agency, mr. zelikow, that really came after 9/11 and you tried to provide some structure to, has it grown too large? is it time to be cutting back on it? what do you see? >> well, the... dick clarke was right, a, about the d.n.i.'s office itself having more people than it needs to do the coordinating oversight job. sometimes when you have more people, you actually dilute your power. bchl, he's right about dana priest's portrait of bloat being pretty well accurate. i was troubled that jim claper in his testimony characterized the "washington post" story as shrill instead of getting behind that story and using the political momentum it's
creating as a club that he can use to help beat this down into a more manageable size and a more transparent entity. but the thing that i would stress above all is it's not just about cutting it back because bottom line is why do we want this gigantic machine anyway? we want it so that it can help direct a spotlightener itically purposefully on the most dangerous problems that the country is facing and it can redirect that spotlight quickly if new problems arise instead of taking years to turn. the second thing we needed to be able to do is offer creative, thoughtful insight on the greatest problems facing the country. so quantity of thought clearly doesn't equate to quality of thought. and there's an impression that's arising that we were building a gigantic muscle-bound creature here that is like a kind of brontosaurus. enormous and intimidating its bulk but with a brain that's not very large. in other words, you have a lot of talented people
but the president somehow doesn't seem to be getting the full sum of all these parts. >> brown: let me just in our brief time here, richard clarke, is it at the point where the new system is so flawed that it would be better to start over? i mean i was interested to hear general claper say whether it's the new construct or we go back to the old c.i.a., somebody... what his point was is somebody has to be in charge. >> absolutely right. i think we ought to look at it as something like a large company like say, general electric, that has lots of little companies underneath it. the ceo's office is relatively small. they look at strategy. they look to see what's falling in between the cracks. that's what he ought to be doing. he'll only be effective if the president embraces him. what hasn't happened with the last several d.n.i.s is they have not been seen to be really close to the president. if the president treats jim claper as a trusted advisor like the national security advisor, then he'll have the influence and trust that he
needs to execute his job. if he's just another bureaucrat coming to the meetings, he won't get it done. >> just about 30 seconds, phil zelikow, a final word from you. do you think that is possible? >> it is possible but i want to punch home the point again about the congress. what dick clarke said about the relationship with the president is absolutely right. but it's not complete unless congress also aligns itself so it's more functional. because frankly a lot of the power and resources is there. all these entities sprawling around. the reason they exist, the reason they keep getting money is because they have a network of supporters, many of them in the congress. and congress has to organize itself more functionally. the committee jim claper testified to this afternoon, the one you saw in your news clip that's that's not the committee that gives out the money. >> brown: philip zelikow and richard clarke, thank you both very much. >> thank you.
>> lehrer: now, the second in our series on big economic troubles in europe. tonight our economics correspondent paul solman looks at how greek citizens are reacting to ways of dealing with the debt burden. paul's series is part of his ongoing reporting on making sense of financial news. >> reporter: greece. still here. tourists still flocking. more per year than greece has citizens. shops and restaurants in athens still open and pretty pricey. government still on duty on guard. but greece is now marching to different drummers. europe and the imf, which came to its aid with the three-year loan package on condition that greece raise taxes and cut state salaries. this month prime minister also pushed pension reform through parliament, raising the
retirement age while reducing benefits. >> these are very difficult measures. obviously that's why people are unhappy and feel the pain. even though there are demonstrations we also have a large support of people who understand that this is a patriotic duty, that that we must move forward, change our economy, do not default and deal with our debt. >> reporter: the government boasts beating its deficit targets, refinancing its debt at cheaper rates. but how much support for austerity is there in greece? will the reforms succeed? eventual default be averted? no more crisis? >> a cab driver who asks to be called by his adopted name . he came from cameroon as a student in 1973 at the end of greece's military dictatorship as a long-time observer of greek society. do the greek people understand that part of the fault is theirs for having spent more
than they earned? >> no. definitely not. hits it's something that you don't want to believe. >> reporter: is that why they're protesting so much? >> they're protesting how to share the weight of the problem. >> reporter: criss-crossing athens, we found only disagreement over how, if at all, the government should pay back the mostly short-term money it's borrowed. over $300 billion euros at the moment, 115% of annual greek g.d.p. the debt supported the comfortable greek lifestyle. perks for the plutocrats at the top. social welfare benefits for the rest. half of g.d.p. is public spending, yet a third or more of the economy is estimated to be underground. off the books. untaxed. and thus incapable of covering the cost of government. >> we hung in the balance.
we will be hanging in the balance for the next three years. >> reporter: this economist who says greece is stuck, caught between an old world mentality and a new fast-paced global economy. >> greeks have grown accustomed to a level of consumption which is northern european, combined with a business culture that is decidedly middle eastern which is not really feasible. not very productive. >> reporter: not really feasible because, among other things, private-sector employees are actually out numbered by greece's not very productive government workers. >> you know, people don't turn up for work or they turn up at 10:00 and leave at 11:00. they go shopping and come back. basically they do nothing. pay is not great but it's secure. when you retire at the age of 50. >> reporter: retire at 50. >> absolutely. government handed out concessions in the form of pension privileges to favorite
groups. military or the judiciary and then it was to the servant. then it was workers in state. this is how the system developed. >> reporter: it's a system of buying off political pressure groups with the government's new reforms aim to change. but with half the work force employed by the government, no wonder so many greeks civil servants are upset by the cuts. among them, george and this person. >> there's an impression that all of us greeks have been living large. but if being loot the small salaries we've been getting you would see they can't be cut much further. >> all we want is all the rights that we have gained through the past years. from one century now and everything is gone with all this plan. no security no public sector no nothing. >> reporter: this person of the civil service union was defiant. we don't like this economic
attitude toward life you have in america, he said. prompting the question, how will greece pay back its lenders unless it adopts a more american market-driven approach? >> when i speak to my friends or relatives in the united states they're always talking about how much money, how many dollars how many houses they own. it's a sickness. how much that person is worth. he's worth $100,000, $300,000. ultimately it's not important because at the end of the day however many houses you earn you'll end up in the same place, under the ground. >> reporter: as the economy shrinks at a 4% annual rate private employment is shrinking too. private greek workers are also resistant. greece is facing something close to a social explosion. >> reporter: so this person prepares students for college entrance exams at a private
school where three colleagues were just laid off. >> all this is implemented by the government and dictated by the european union and the imf. not a simple temporary pay cut. one or three years of difficulty. it is like being thrown back into the stone age as far as social rights. >> reporter: in an immigrant section of town, more graphic instances of the toll unkbloim, now near 12%, and a reduced public safety net are starting to take. doctors of the world or cosmos runs a free clinic for poor foreigners. but says this doctor.... >> now greek people are coming and helping because they have not insurance and they have not money to pay the little bit for the medicine. but they are obligated to come here because of the way it is in greece now. i feel it.
>> reporter: immigrants still cue up for medications but so do out of work natives like this person, suffering from stress-related bleeding ulcers. >> the only thing that keeps me from committing suicide is my daughter and my parents. i feel like a parasite. >> reporter: what do you mean you feel like a parasite? >> because there's no work. i can't offer anything to my family. i can't buy my daughter a cookie, an ice cream. i'm a nothing. >> reporter: in fact, workers are being laid off , unheard of in greece. that's what this teacher and friends were protesting. if the schools can't afford to pay them due to the economic crisis , then isn't the school within its rights to lay people off?
>> i think the problem is that they were teachers with dignity who demanded their rights. a job is not a privilege. it is a right. >> reporter: but almost every person has said to us the problem with greece is we spent more than we earned for the last 20 or 30 years . and everyone having a job would be an example of that. >> yes, there is a problem with debt. but it was not ordinary working people that created the debt. the government must say no we're not going to pay the debt. >> reporter: but this person, the larger than life number two man in the government, says not paying, default, is the worst possible option. >> this would mean poverty, real poverty, real unemployment and marginalization for let's say 20 or 50 years. we are in a global market.
we've been in a global market with capital and goods. >> reporter: in fact, one of greece's problems, says economist, is that too many greeks are living in the past. >> i think we would be better off if we had a less illustrious history. more of a normal history. i think that has ruined us like young off spring so very rich self-made people. >> reporter: so you might ask, is there any hope? government, under pressure, tries to change the system. the people resist. in fact, the best hope for reform may be dealing with the problem everyone here deplores: the endemic tax fraud that so long hobbled the greek economy. so tax reform is the subject of our second report on the greek economic crisis.
>> brown: finally tonight, what's behind the excitement surrounding a potential new way of preventing aids? margaret warner has that story. >> warner: in the world of science and medicine it's not often that researchers' findings win a standing ovation but that's what happened today at the international aids conference in vienna over news of a potential breakthrough in preventing h.i.v. among women and girls. a two-year study of nearly 900 women in south africa found a new vaginal gel containing the antiretroviral drug significantly reduced the rate of new h.i.v. infection. among women who used the gel before and after sex three quarters of the time infection was cut 39%. among those who used it even more frequently, infection dropped 54%. this is the first time a vaginal product or microbe len
cide has shown real promise for preventing aids. that's important for women especially in africa. for more about the study and its significance we're joined by dr. anthony fauci, director of the national institute for allergy and infectious diseases. welcome. how big is a development is this? >> well it really is quite significant in that it's a very important proof of concept of something that we have really failed at over the last several years. that is to develop what we call a topical microbocide which is a substance that a woman can by herself insert in her vagina that contains an antiretroviral drug or an anti-h.i.v. drug that would block infection. it's very important because it's been shown for the first time in several years of research on microbocides that it does in fact protect a significant proportion of the women who use it.
it was what we call a placebo- controlled trial where half the women got a gel with no medication in it and the other half got the gel with this anti-h.i.v. medication in it. so the answer to your question is really it is a significant advance towards getting a very important type of protection that women can use themselves without the male partner knowing about it so in essence it empowers women which is very important particularly in the developing world. >> warner: it's relatively cheap, isn't it? >> yes, it is. i mean i can't give you a price on it but a gel, the gel itself is a very common formulation. they're using one percent of solution of a drug in there. so i can't imagine that this is going to be an expensive proposition at all. >> warner: as you said a half dozen microbicides have bep tested over the last 15 years but with no success. ql do you think this one works? >> well, the others were not utilizing the principle of
actually put ago specific anti-h.i.v. drug in the gel. the gels that were used were, for example, a typical one that is used for birth control to try and disrupt the virus which really wasn't a very good strategy because not only did it not work in some of the trials because it irritated the vaginal mucusa, it actually made women more susceptible to getting infegted upon exposure. it's been a series of either no good results or results that were actually unfavorable. this is the first trial because it used a drug that in its oral form is regularly used as part of treatment for h.i.v. people who are infected. 1% solution of that drug was put in the gel. that seemed to do the trick. that made the results really quite significant. >> warner: yet even the better result only cut the infection rate in half. why is that? >> that's the reason why i
said it's a conceptual advance and not a ready for prime time product. because there was an interesting correlation in the study. in order for a drug or a microbcide like this to work women have to use it religiously when they were sexual intercourse. there was a good correlation between the women who actually adhered to the protocol and used it every time they had a sexual encounter. they had a much higher rate of efficacy. people who used it moderately had a lower. and people who did not use it well at all had a much lower. so the result that you're talking about is the acculumation of people who used it religiously and people who didn't do very much. adherence is going to have a major role. there's a lot of things that we need to work on . one is first of all confirming the trial to make sure it does work. i believe it does. i saw the data. the data looked strong. but the other thing is, is there a better way to improve upon it?
for example there's an ongoing trial now that uses the same product but women use it every day as opposed to just when they're anticipating a sexual encounter. there are a number of other processs that are in the pipeline now. for example, a long-acting one where you don't have to put it in with every encounter. you may be able to maybe just put it in once and it will be good for weeks or even longer. i think what we get to that point you're going to see better results than just the 50% which in and of itself is better than anything we've ever seen, but the goal, the end game is to do better than that 50%. >> warner: if the drug weren't any better than 50% effective, would there be a danger of lulling women into a false sense of security? >> first of all, margaret, no intervention works 100%. whenever you have one that works partially you always have to be careful that there will be a disinhibition as we call it. namely people taking more risk because they think they're protected.
the philosophy and the strategy of prevention is that we have to have combined prevention. microbicides, even in this case at 50%-- we hope to get it up to 0% or more-- even if it's partially protective if it's used together with other types of preventive measures such as the use of condoms and circumstance situation in a male, you put them together and it's a package of combination prevention. >> warner: how long will this additional testing and the approval process take if we're talking about making it available in the u.s.? >> well, first of all with our regulatory authorities and the way we look at things that we want to make sure it's absolutely safe because you don't want to have the paradoxical effect of doing more harm than good. when you have approval of something that will be on the shelf that doctors would prescribe, you're going to need a trial that's much larger with much more data. that's the reason why i keep getting back to saying that
this is a very powerful proof of concept. bull it isn't the definitive proof that would have the fda approve it tomorrow. that's just not going to happen. we're going to need more data. >> warner: south africa's health minister said today his country is considering rolling out the gel before it's officially licensed in the u.s. what do you think about that? >> i think that's something reasonable that should be respected. here in this country we have a prevalence of infection of less than 1% in the general population and other populations within the united states it's a little bit more. but in general it's very low. if you look at southern africa, particularly south africa, they have close to five million cases of h.i.v., and they have a prevalence of around 10%, double digits. so you can judge in a one size fits all for some countries even something with this degree of efficacy, a health minister such as the health minister for south africa and
the authorities in south africa may make a reasonable decision to roll it out. there's nothing wrong with that. it has to be matched to what the situation is in the particular country involved. >> warner: dr. tony fauci, thank you so much. >> good to be here. >> lehrer: the other major developments of this day. afghan president karzai reaffirmed a goal of taking charge of security from foreign forces by 2014. he spoke at an international conference in kabul. a new containment cap continued to hold on that blown oil well in the gulf. today marked three months since the crisis began. that bill to restore benefits to the long-term unemployed has cleared a major hurd until the senate. democrats joined with two republicans to overcome a filibuster. the newshour is always online, of course. hari sreenivasan, in our newsroom, previews what's there. hari? >> sreenivasan; on the aids
story, find a reporter's blog from the vienna conference, with more details on the microbicide and the scientific studies. you can watch more of paul's interview with the greek prime minister. on our world view page, we start a weekly series with our partners at global post. up first, a report from afghanistan on battling the taliban in kandahar province. and on newshour extra, our site for students and teachers, a teenager from gulf shores, alabama, sees the oil disaster as a wakeup call to clean up the environment. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. jeff? >> brown: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm jeffrey brown. >> lehrer: and i'm jim lehrer. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and good night. major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: