tv PBS News Hour PBS July 7, 2021 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, assassinated-- the president of haiti is killed at his home as the country's already unstable political situation descends further into turmoil. then, one step closer-- we speak with eric adams after his win in the democratic primary for mayor of new york city, making him the heavy favorite to assume the job. and, leaving afghanistan-- the absence of u.s. troops prompts the country's government to arm local militias in the fight against the taliban. >> these men have only been fighting a matter of weeks since the national army came under so much pressure from the taliban, but given the intensity of the
fighting in this valley, it seems clear that the security forces in afghanistan need all the help that they can get. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> supporting social entrepreneurs and their solutions to the world's most pressing problems-- skollfoundation.org. >> the lemelson foundation. committed to improving lives through invention, in the u.s. and developing countries. on the web at lemelson.org.
>> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peacul world. more information at macfound.org >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions: >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: haiti is under a state of emergency tonight, after president jovenel moise was assassinated early this morning. h had been in office for four years. his wife, martine, was wounded in the brazen attack at their home, on the outskirts of the capital, port-au-prince. tonight, she's been airlifted to
miami for treatment. yamiche alcindor begins our coverage. >> alcindor: haiti's president assassinated. the island nation in a state of shock. >> ( translated ): we live in this area close to the president. even when we have problems with him, we can't imagine they would kill him like this. >> alcindor: hours after president jovenel moise was murdered in his own home, the streets of port-au-prince were uncharacteristically quiet. outside the president's private residence and the scene of the crime, lay bullet casings. haiti's first lady, martine moise, was wounded in the attack and remains hospitalized. in a video reportedly shot at the scene, someone says the assassins are with the u.s. drug enforcement administration. >> d.e.a. operation, everybody back up, stand down! >> alcindor: but haitian ambassador to the u.s. bocchit edmond said the d.e.a. was not involved. instead, he blamed mercenaries who spoke english and spanish. >>t seems that this horrible act was carried out by well-
trained professional killers, commandos. >> alcindor: the haitian government closed the airport in port-au-prince. so, edmond said the assassins likely escaped by land into the neighboring dominican republic, or by sea. >> alcindor: president biden said the united states was ready to assist in the aftermath of the shooting. he responded to my question on the situation on the white house lawn. what's your reaction, mr. president, to the haitian president being assassinated? >> we need a lot more information but it's very worrisome about the state of haiti. >> alcindor: moise was a polarizing president. in the last few months, his actions sparked massive protests around the country. during his term, gang violence and kidnappings skyrocketed. unicef reported that armed gangs control about a third of port- au-prince. and since the violence spiked last september, more than 18,000 people have fled their homes. moise was elected in 2016 but didn't take office until the following year. he said his five year term was supposed to end in 2022.
but, his critics, including human rights groups and clergy members, insisted that his term was up this past february. earlier this year, he dissolved parliament, saying most lawmakers' terms had ended. he also forced three supreme court justices into early retirement. moise pursued sweeping constitutional changes that would incrse presidential power. he planned a vote on a referendum, as well as his replacement, in september. that election is in flux. the united states backed moise's timeline. but u.s. officials also criticized what they called his unchecked presidential power. >> this situation calls into question the core precepts of haiti's democracy. >> alcindor: but haitian human rights activists, like pierre esperance, opposedhe u.s. backing moise, as esperance told us in march. >> the people of haiti and the haitian community in the united states are very disappointed by the biden administration's politics. >> alcindor: now, interim prime mister, claude joseph, is the
country's de facto leader. >> alcindor: moise named joseph his sixth prime minister in april. but moise had intended for a seventh, ariel henry, to rlace him. he was supposed to be sworn in today. for more on the assassintation of president moise, and the shockwave it's sent through haiti, i'm joined by robert fatton. he's a professor of government and foreign affairs at the university of virginia. he has written widely on haiti through the years. he joins me from charlottesville. professor fatton, thank you so much for being here. haiti has really been in a constitutional crisis for several months, now, people on the ground say it's hit a new rock bottom. but talk about the gravity of the last 24 hours and the difference now that the president has been murdered. >> well, this is a shocking event in the history of haiti.
the last assassination of a president was 1915, so this is not the usual pattern at all. we've had coups, we've had attempted coups, we've had, obviously, very nasty dictators who killed a lot of people, but that, especially given that it was, as far as we know, an armed attack by foreign mercenaries, it's really a different pattern, and it's difcult to understand why that would have happened and who would benefit from it. it is really something that is out of the ordinary. it's truly an extraordinary event. so we are facing a de facto government, a government that has taken charge has instituted, as you probably know, a state of siege, which is really the ultimate type of governmental
imposition of order, but it remains to be seen if that state of siege can keep the country without significant disorder and a dissent into chaos. >> reporter: and how concerned are you about haiti hitting an even lower rock bottom and gangs possibly trying to benefit from this situation? >> this is a very dangerous moment for haiti. my personal hope is that what we will get is a governmenof national unity that could take over and set the situation whereby elections would be possible, not immediately but probably next year, and where there would be some sort of reconciliation between all of the different actors. now, whether we can get there is the big question. the opposition has shown no inclination to really join with
the government of jovenel moise, but jovenel moise's presidency is gone, so in a tragic way, this might be an opening for such a compromise, but we will have to see, and we will have to see also whether the current prime minister is, in fact, going to remain in that position. >> reporter: there have been a lot of hatians who have been disappointed in the stance of the biden administration toward haiti. what role do you see the u.s. potentially playing now after this assassination? >> well, personally, i think that the most important thing is to try to get a haitian solution. so if the biden administration is to have a constructive approach to haiti, i think they should push the government to really create the conditions for a government of national unity. now, how do you form that government of national unity is a big questn. it may well be that a government
of national unity would require not only the current members of the -- some of the current members of the government and some of the members of the opposition, but also civil society leaders who are above the traditional politics that has been rather disastrous for the country. so a solution like that might, in fact, bring some hope to the population. but if you don't have that, i'm afraid that we might be descending into chaos and that might, in turn, open the gates for another u.n. intervention, and we are back to where we were in 2004. >> reporter: and with only a few seconds left here, there are only ten elected officials left in haiti, they're all senators, there are a lot of civ society leaders that want to see that transitional government that you have been talk about. is there a constitutional solution here and who benefited from this situation with the president now gone? >> yeah, we are beyond the constitutional crisis.
the constitution now has been ignored, essentially, because we don't have a president, we don't have a functional parliament, we don't have a supreme court justice that is functioni, so the institutions have decade. so what is needed is really imagination on how to constitute an order that could appease all of the forces in haiti, and that's a very difficult process and difficult to imagine, given what we've had in the past where the polarization was indeed very extreme. >> reporter: a difficult road ahead for haiti. thank you so much professor fatton of the university of virginiaor joining us. >> thank you so much. >> woodruff: in the day's other news, crews in surfside, florida are shifting from rescue to recovery tonight, 14 days after
a condominium tower collapsed. officials said late today there is little hope left of finding anyone alive. the confirmed death toll reached 46 today, with 94 people still missing, after workers recovered 10 more bodies. >> our commitment to this mission is deeply personal. this is our community, our neighbors, our families. and our first responders have truly searched that pile every single day since the collapse as if they're searching for their own loved ones. >> woodruff: the crews have found no survivo since t first hours after the building collapsed. florida has been spared major damage or any deaths caused by tropical storm "elsa". the storm made landfall today on the state's northern gulf coast, and moved on to georgia and the carolinas. it's expected to emerge back into the atlantic ocean on friday. three undercover officers in
chicago are recovering after being shot early today. the attack on the city's south side wounded a chicago police officer and two federal agents. later, police said they were questioning a person of interest. it came as president biden visited illinois. he met briefly with mayor lori lightfoot before giving a speech in suburban chicago. this year, 36 chicago police officers have been shot or shot at, up from 22 one year ago. the world health organization appealed today for extreme caution in fully lifting covid- 19 restrictions. mike ryan spoke in geneva, as countries around the world are reopening, and as infections from the "delta" variant are surging. >> we would ask governments to be really careful at this moment, not to lose the gains you have made, to open up very carefully. the idea that everyone is protected and it's kumbaya and everything goes back to normal i
think right now is a very dangerous assumption anywhere in the world. >> woodruff: in this country, new york city held a parade to thank health care workers and other essential workers for their efforts during the pandemic. the russian government denied any link today to a cyberattack on the republican national committee in the u.s. it's been widely reported that hackers linked to russia's foreign intelligence service were involved. the r.n.c. says none of its data was accessed. a federal judge in georgia has refused to block parts of the state's new election law, for now. he said today it's too late to change restrictions on election observers and absentee ballots, for runoffs next week. the judge did not say how he might rule in the future. former president trump sued facebook, google and twitter today, for allegedly censoring conservatives. he's also seeking class-action status for the lawsuits. mr. trump was suspended from
several major platforms after supporters stormed the u.s. capitol in january. and, on wall street, stocks managed modest gains, and some new records. the dow jones industrial average gained 104 points to close at 34,681. the nasdaq rose one point, reaching a new hh. the s&p 500 added 14, for another record close. still to come on the newshour: the military moves to remove sexual assault cases from the chain of command. how u.s. troops withdrawal prompts afghanistan's government to arm local militias. disparities in the costs of living create a division between millennials and boomers. plus much more.
>> woodruff: running america's largest city is no easy task. the next mayor of new york will confront an economy battered by the pandemic as well as rising rates of gun violence and homicide that have made public safety the top issue for many voters. last night, two weeks after polls closed in the city, brooklyn borough president and former police captain eric adams was declared the winner of the democratic primary. the delay in calling the race came as the result of a new kind of voting-- ranked choice. mr. adams' win makes him heavily favored to become the city's next mayor, facing republican curtis sliwa in the general election. and eric adams joins me now. congratulations! >> thank you so much for having me on today. >> woodruff: i do want to ask you about nk choice voting. from a distance, it looked like a mess. did it work, do you think?
>> well, i believe we're still at the period of analyzing the impact of it and was it successful, did we do a good job in educating voters, were we prepared. you know, this took place during a year when we were experiencing a pandemic, and it was dropped in the laps of the board of elections in january, so i think it's imperative for us to hold hearings and really look at this because voters are important for our city and country. >> woodruff: let me ask you, your second and third-place finishers were both women. second place finisher katherine garcia came in just one percentage point behind you. what message does that send to you from the people of new york city? >> that our similar works. it is so important. let me tell you, you have over a little over 8 million new yorkers, but you have 20 million opinions, and that is what's great about this system of government where you have smooth transition of power, and it's not about just having a
monolisting candidate or a monolisting city or country. different opinions, different adways to get to a destiny of where we want to raise healthy children and families, and i heard all those messages, and i was really excited we had a close race. >> woodruff: let me ask you, eric adams, about whawe were saying is a major issue, as it turns out, crime, policing. new york, one of the cities hard hit by violent crime over this past year, along with so many other big cities. your governor andrew cuomo, just yesterday, declared a new state of emergency around gun violence. what should the democrats' message be on policing now? >> i commend the governor in doing so, $100 million will be allocated, not only in heavy -- i should say not in heavy handed policing, but at looking at the feeders of violence and crime, and there's no secret that all
across america in particularly black and brown communities you're dealing with the same level of systemic poverty and violence coming from there. so the goal for, i believe, the democratic party is theessage that i've stayed throughout this campaign, we could have the reform and justice and public safety. >> woodruff: how do you strike the right balance because, as you know, so many of your democratic friends, democrats across the spectrum in the communities including black and brown communities you mentioned are saying defund the police, or at least take a lot of the money from the police and put it into social services. >> we have to be honest with ourselves, we cannot march and say "black lives matter" when a police officer murders mr. floyd. every day we're seeing countless shootings in the south side in brooklyn, in california. we have to be consistent. if "black lives matter," if the lives of every day people of
color matter, we have to look at other areas of the country where they're being impacted. but we can do it by, number one, prevention. for example, 30% of our prison population is presumed to be dyslexic. if we do dyslexia screening in all our schools and give the services to families, we could prevent violence. but then we have to be intervention. you can't have shooters in times square. that's going to impact our tourism. you can't have gang members taking over our streets and having people being slashed and shoved to the subway tracks. so we must have an intervention and a prevention plan, and we can do it to operate together. >> woodruff: so much to ask you about, mr. adams. one other issue certainly is covid. new york city hit very hard in the beginning, then it seemed to be under control, but now there's a small uptick in the number of cases, the infections, the delta variant is in the city. what is your plan for getting covid under control?
>> first of all, we need to use technology. i am a big technology person. when i went into the police department, i was parent of the team that created the first ue of data to look at crime. we need to use it as the same with covid. we should have had a realtime system to tell us how many vaccinations, vaccines were issu, what area, what zip code, will we reach herd immunity. even in the beginning we never usedechnology in realtime to define ho uh to attack covid. covid was always one step ahead of us. we can't continue to do that, and i am really going to turn our to you into a state-of-the-art realtime city where we can analyze and address these issues more raply than we have. >> woodruff: the last thing i want to ask you about just quickly, of course, is the economy. the big apple took an enormous hit with the pandemic, shutting down tourism came to a standstill.
you now have an unemployment rate twice the national average. it was almost 11% in the month of may. can new york ever fully come back? >> yes, and, you know, it's interesting, it's connected. our economy is connected to public safety. tourism is a major economic booster here in the city. no one is coming here if you shoot 3-year-olds at times square. our transit system, people are afraid to be on the trains. we have to make sure our subway system is safe to get employees back into office space. and then we have to really look at what crime is doing to really discourage our high income earners. 65,000 people pay 51% of our income taxes and they're leaving because they don't feel safe, and, so, if we get crime under control and then turn our city into a city where it's not too expensive, bureaucratic and difficult to do business, we will be ready to compete again. this is the empire state and we're going to start building
empires again in new york. >> woodruff: eric adams, winner of the democratic primary for mayor of new york city, congratulations, and thank you again. >> thank you very much. take care. >> woodruff: for years the u.s. military has faced a serious problem with sexual assault and harassment. past attempts to address this have failed to reduce its prevalence. now, president biden and defense secretary lloyd austin created an independent commission to examine possible solutions and have both endorsed its findings. nick schifrin talks with the commission's chair, in her first interview since she released the report. >> schifrin: the numbers are staggering. an estimated 20,000 service members are sexually assaulted, every year. but only 7,816 service members report those cases, and in only 350 cases were
perpetrators charged with a crime. 64% of those who report sexual assaults, have faced retaliation for doing so. the independent commission made 80 recommendations, including remove military commanders from adjudicating sexual assault cases. better evaluate commanders for the climate they create. and victim advocates should be independent of the chain of command. lynn rosenthal chaired this commission, and joins me now. lynn rosenthal, welcome to the "newshour". you write that the military has failed america's sons and daughters and service members know it. what do you mean? >> we found that there is this great chasm between what senior leaders say about sexual assault and sexual harassment and what junior enlisted members experience. so senior leaders will say that there's no tolerance for sexual
assault and sexual harassment, and yet junior enlisted members say there's quite a lot of tolerance, and particularly for women we heard sexual harassment is just part of dai life for many. >> reporter: the in recommendation that we've highlighted and others highlighted are the independent prosecutors who you describe need to decide whether to prosecute sexual assault, sexual harassment and domestic violence. why doing they should decide and not commanders? >> we found that because of this broken trust that junior enlisted service members do not trust their leaders to handle these problems, they don't trust that there will be accountable for sexual assault, in particular, and that, by moving the technical legal decisions about whether or not to charge a suspect with a crime and then whether or not to send that case to tial, that independent prosecutors are better able to
make those decisions and that we hope to see a restored trust within the military. >> reporter: for years, as you know, the military br has resisted that specific change, and to this day the service chiefs still make this argument that to strip a commander of the authority to decide to discipline a sexual assault case actually undermines that commander's ability command. does it? >> the irc rejects the notion that by removing legal decisions about prosecution from the command structure that commanders have no role is simply not the case. commanders are responsible for the climates they create, they're responsible for working to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment, and they're responsible for making sure that victims are protected when they come forward to report. so the idea that they won't have an interest in solving this problem, if they are not making those technical legal decisions,
we think, is simply false. >> reporter: your recommendations on leadership includes this -- you recommend better evaluation and more accountability for leaders. why do you think that would create a less toxic climate? >> we want to look for leaders who have skills in taking care of their people, which is really a commander's number one job, and they have to have as great an aptitude for that as they do for other parts of readiness, of other ways of preparing. so they need to see sexual assault and harassment, reducing sesexual assault and harassments a part of their main effort. that means that we need to select, develop and evaluate leaders based on their capacity to address these kinds of problems. >> reporter: on your suggestions regarding victim care, why should the advocates for victims also be separated from the chain of command? >> we heard from victim advocates that when they tried to stand up fo victims and address command with victim
needs that they themselves can experience retaliation. so what we believe is that victim advocates need to report outside of the chain of command of victims and offenders, and 100% of victim advocates should be 100% on the side of that victim. >> reporter: and you also describe other deficiencies of personnel including inexperienced lawyers and investigators. how inexperienced are they and how can that be fixed? >> well, you know, often, assignments in the military may be a two-year assignment, there are frequent rotations and change of station, and these can happen in the middle of a sexual assault case, so a lawyer or victim advocate, a special victim's counsel could be reassigned, and, so, the victim loses that consistent source of support and care, so that's very inappropriate for victims, but also these frequent changes of assignments mean that the lawyers and the special victims
council aren't able to build up the kinds of skills and expertise that they need. so we recommend that the military justice system be professionalized across the board, so we would create career tracks for prosecutors, for defense counsel and for investigators. >> reporter: your mindings included something very alarming. of course, among victims of sexual assault everywhere, there are higher rates of suicidal ideation and even attempts, but among the military sexual assault victims whom you spoke to, you found 100% had suicidal thoughts or attempts. why is that? >> that's right, and that's because to have the nature of -- and that's because of the nature of military life, and because of the nature of military life, sexual assault is different than in civilian society. even though civilian victims also experience suicidal ideations at higher rates, what happens in the military is the 24-hour nature of life makes
victims feel trapped, and when policies aren't followed and their cases are not handled and they're not able to either transfer from their units or have their comanders transfer the alleged offender from their unit, and when members of the unit isolate them, choose sides between them and the alleged offender, bully or ostracize them, it feels overwhelming, and that can result in suicidal ideation. >> reporter: finally just in the last moments we have, your are independent of the military even if the the president and their defense wanted you to do this. bottom line, do you believe the military is willing and able to make these recommended changes and reestablish that key aspect of trust? >> i absolutely believe tat this is possible, that from the top down from secretary austin, from general millie, mr. senior leaders athe service level, that there is a commitment to finally getting this right. >> reporter: lynn rosenthal, thank you very much. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: as the american troop withdrawal from afghanistan nears its completion, the afghan army is quickly losing ground throughout the country to the taliban. now, to bolster the flagging military, the government is arming militias to help in the fight. special correspondent jane ferguson traveled to two provinces near the capital, parwan and logar, to meet mitia men who have some afghan leaders worried about a new civil war. >> reporter: on afghanistan's front lines, militia commanders now direct battles alongside government forces. from this abandoned house in the ghorband valley of parwan province, local volunteer forces fight to hold off the taliban.
we are only a couple of hours drive north of the capital kabul. both the afghan army and these men, are trying to halt the group's advances in that direction. as soon as president biden announced america's unconditional draw-down from afghanistan in april, the taliban began a massive offensive, taking territory across the country as the afghan army buckled. with major cities in danger of falling, fighters like these were rallied to join the battle. >> ( translated ): we thought it would be a long-term partnership, under the united states leadership, and it would last uil terrorism was rooted out not only from afghanistan but the region. unfortunately the bad decision that mr. biden and his supporters made has led to a situation where thousands of afghans are dying. this is all because of the failure of president biden and the american politicians. >> reporter: abdul zahir salangi says he hasn't slept in four days. a member of parliament, he is new to leading fighters.
with the americans gone, his men face combat of a bygone era, long before u.s. military might came and went. >> ( translated ): i ask what it's like to fight without the technical assistance of the u.s. >> ( translated ): right now air support is not available to us. and that adds to the rising casualty rates. we cannot evacuate casualties quickly. they will die where they are injured. >> reporter: the taliban test the defenses he constantly. on the roof they show us how close their positions are, just on the hill above. these fighters have only been hereor a few weeks, but they are helping the afghan security forces push the taliban back up the valley. ground lately, they could do with all the help they can get. there are government security forces all around the area. the militia hope to buoy collapsing morale amongst them. anger at the white house's decision to leave runseep, but
so too does the will to fight. do you feel abandoned by the americans? >> ( translated ): yes i feel left behind... they didn't honor the agreement they said they had with the afghan people. they abandoned the afghan people in the middle of the road. if the taliban want to take over they will have to kill every last person here. >> reporter: these men have come from a different area, but local villagers are also present. just down the road we came across this man, offering to help the police at a small outpost. "if the taliban came here then they can come to my house too,” he tells us.“ so we have to defend ourselves.” america's unconditional military as the afghan military struggles to stop a sweeping taliban advance across the countryside, one that threatens to overrun the kabul government, the authorities are asking volunteers to join what they call popular uprisings, to stand and fight alongside the army. some are flocking back to old established fighting groups, throwbacks from thdays of fighting soviets and then in the
civil war in the 1990's that followed the russian withdrawal. driving further north, to the panjshir valley, we see young men, some clutching little more than antique hunting rifles, prepare to go join the war effort. signing up just a few days ago, they are a collection of rural volunteers that america and the world never imagined the country would need, after billions of dollars spent on the nation's armed forces. >> ( translated ): america came here in their own self interest, and they have left out of their own self interest. we are happy they have left. we will defend our lands just like our forefathers and ancestors did and will take up arms in self-defense. >> reporter: today their leader, ahmad massoud, is meeting with commanders and new recruits, he is swamped with well-wishers. massoud is the son of famed afghan commander ahmad shah massoud, a leader of the ethnic tajik fighters of northern afghanistan, and close ally of the u.s. who worked with the c.i.a. to fight the soviets in the 1980s.
he and his fighters fought the taliban during the group's rule. massoud was assassinated two days before 9/11, it is believed by al qaeda once again this stunning, bucolic valley, at the mouth of thhindu kush mountains, sits at the center of organized anti- taliban resistance. the newshour was granted exclusive access to the younger massoud. in an interview afterwards he spoke candidly with us about the burden of history repeating itself here. you must think a lot about your father right now. >> absolutely, yea. it's a lot of pressure. but this pressure on me at this time, i cannot even imagine the pressure he was on. and for me t sense of the pressure, responsibility and uncertainty of what's going to happen these days, makes me wish he was alive. >> reporter: massoud is pushing the afghan government to expand the use of militias alongside afghan forces.
according to him, they are a desperately-needed second line of defense. >> personally i believe that the afghanistan government, especiallyhe afghanistan armed forces have been stretched and exhausted. and they need to retreat and they need to reorganize and reenergize themselves. to do so afghanistan government must allow for some local resistance. >> reporter: not everyone agrees. >> whatever you call it, whether you call it resistance, militia. that war is going to become more district to district. we are afraid that will turn more to local ethnic tension. >> reporter: back in kabul, former afghan intelligence chief, rahmatullah nabil, worries the new fighting groups are dangerous. local units are more likely to come from the same ethnic background. ethnic division was a devastating driver of the afghan civil war when those who had fought the soviets then turned on one another. >> i raised my concern from day
one. that will be a temporary solution. to cover their temporary mistake, they created a very long strategic mistake. everybody will try to keep their territory, instead of defending the state, they will defend their own interests. and that easily, the complex situation we have in afghanistan, that easily can be turned to ethnic conflict. >> reporter: it is unclear if the militias can prevent that from happening, and make a real impact on the battlefield. but if the afghan security forces, with all of the equipment and supplies that they have been given and funding from the united states over the years cannot hold off the taliban how is it that these resistance fighters are supposed to do that? >> well, right now in many areas that the taliban are not able to capture it's because of these resistance groups. because, when it comes to war, and when it comes to military war, everything is not just
ammunition and guns, morale is everything. and unfortunately, with the americans departure and withdrawal, the morale of afghanistan's soldiers, it crashed. >> reporter: a growing sense however amongst military leaders is that whoever is fighting in afghanistan from here on in will have to adapt to the new realities of war without highly sophisticated weaponry. and never should have been dependent on it in the first place. >> unfortunately americans in the last 20 years, the model that they based the army on is american based model. an army which is always dependent always on technology and air support, and also they always have contractors. afghanistan is a poor country and it cannot afford these things. so that is one of the major things after the americans withdrew, the afghan soldiers felt a huge reduction in aerial support, and they could not
actually cope with that void. >> reporter: south of kabul, a different province has been arming civilians for years. like parwan, logar province also borders the capital. the taliban have had a strong presence here for much of the war. as they push to take the country's remaining roads and isolate cities, logar's capital risks being cut off from kabul. just to get there, we had to travel in a military convoy because ambushes are so common. in logar, irregular forces recruited from the local population already work alongside security forces. the governor insists they have been key to keeping the city and says he has oversight when handing out guns. >> ( translated ): everyone is coming. i mean, i have too much pressure on me that everyone wants weapons. i say, "okay, wait guys, we are going to give you weapons but there are rules and regulations, we have to follow the rules." >> reporter: these local fighters are in their own village, but have been organized and paid for years to keep the
taliban at bay. jut over this berm and across the field next to us is taliban territory. the villagers here say they have managed to hold for years, but admit other areas have fallen. the issue of whether to arm militia groups centers around the bad memories of the past civil war in afghanistan; whether the groups could precipitate another civil war, or whether it's too late for that, and people need a means to protect themselves as the u.s. military leaves. >> it has already started. civil war already started. we have been saying and repeating that: don't leave afghistan without a peaceful resolution. >> reporter: if peace, however much against the odds, cannot be salvaged now, another generation of afghanistan's young men will face marching off to yet more years of war. for the pbs newshour, i'm jane ferguson, in the parwan province, afghanistan.
>> woodruff: now, the downturn of the pandemic economy has hit many groups hard. but for many millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, and generation z, who follow them, that pain, plus a number of other factors, are leading some to ask who is responsible. over the next couple of nights, economics correspondent paul solman is going to examine this beginning tonight from the perspective of some millennials. >> ♪ baby boomers, greatest generation ♪ got all the money, now we got the vaccination ♪ >> reporter: on saturday night live this season, an “ok boome”" takedown. >> ♪ got a job out of college, no student debt ♪ retirement funded, 100% >> it just sort of encapsulates
the sort of whole sense of unfairness, where it's always the boomers first and their kids last. >> reporter: bruce gibney, author of “a generation of sociopaths: how the baby boomers betrayed america,” says vaccinating the elderly first made perfect sense from a public health standpoint. >> the challenge is that after years of abusive behavior on the part of the boomers, this might be the straw that breaks the camel's back. >> reporter: gibney says the pandemic has fueled a growing resentment of baby boomers, which he marks a bit earlier- those of us born between 1940 and 1965, rather than after the war. it's a resentment among millennials, ¡81 to ¡96, whose economic prospects have been sacrificed to help supposedly greedy, ungrateful boomers, oblivious to the realities facing the young. >> the millennials and generation z have the peter pan syndrome. they don't ever want to grow up. >> reporter: this 2019 tik tok video helped popularize the phrase “ok boomer” as a retort to the boomer critique: >> you're going to mature and
you're to realize that nothing's free, that things aren't equal, and that your utopian society you've created in your youth is simply not sustainle. >> reporter: how do real life millennials respond? >> very offended, very offended because i am a very hard worker. >> that we're-- all we want to do is sit around, watch netflix or play video games. >> like based on everyone i know and even myself, i'm not sure where that notion comes from? >> we want things like we want their house and we want their bank account. >> reporter: a boomer myself, by bruce gibney's broader definition, born in 1944, i asked four millennials for their take. 37-year-old travis barker lives outside of denver, colorado. was laid off during the pandemic. in gilroy, california, 29-year- old sonya reyes, daughter of mexican immigrants and mother of two, put herself through college, only recently saved enough to move out of her parents' home. briana nicholas, 28, an accountant in philadelphia, has
two hundred thousand dollars in student debt for her degree in historic preservation. and 34-year-old joe caputo in oklahoma city worked odd jobs for years. all college grads, heading toward middle age, scraping by. >> i have a four year degree, honorably discharged in the militay. i've worked overseas and never been aested. i never failed a class. and yet i still feel like i'm behind the eight ball. there's no doubt thayou guys had it easier than we do. >> like travis said, no matter what you actually accomplish or feel like you accomplish, you don't feel like you're actually moving forward in life. you don't feel like you can actually become a full adult in the traditional sense. >> we had to move from san jose to gilroy because san jose was just too expensive. >> reporter: but you're a two- income family, right? you can't afford even to buy a house in gilroy? >> no, the houses in gilroy are a bit cheaper than san jose, but
not like to the point where i by myself and my husband can afford a house. >> renting is basically all i kind of see for my wife and i for the foreseeable future, just because we can budget for it. >> reporter: okay, we bought houses when they were way cheaper. but does that make us sociopaths? >> the most important thing about sociopaths is that they really don't have a great sense of obligations to others and the >> reporter: for bruce gibney, writer, jackpot winner as an early investor in paypal and facebook, the economic anxieties of millennials are the result of decades of “sociopathic” choices by boomers who grew up in a booming america. >> they had an enormous tailwind and they really decided to set a direction that really only benefited themselves. >> reporter: they-- you mean me, right? you mean me and my friends. >> i do, i do.
>> reporter: gibney says we boomers benefited from investments in roads, new schools, education, paid for with taxes on previous generations, but when it was the boomers' turn to give, we continued to take: tax cuts, expanded medicare and social security. an imbalance that led to an explosion of debt. gibney points out that when he was born, in 1976, the national debt was about a third the size of the annual economy. after decades of boomers at the helm, it's now some 130%, and while millennials are the largest portion of the workforce, the federal reserve just reported they have less than 5% of the country's wealth. the boomers meanwhile, had four timethat percentage at around the same age. do you blame my generation for the difficulty that the millennials, for example, are now having high college costs,
high student debt, can't afford a house and so forth? >> i do, to a large degree. we see it in the explosion of student debt. the schools were in excellent shape when the boomers came of age. they are in appalling shape now, worse in the aggregate even than our roads and bridges. that is astonishing levels of political neglect. nothing has been done with respect at a serious level regarding the environment. and it's not as if the boomers didn't know that these were going to be problems. >> reporter: did the millennial panel agree that the policies that we put in place or just allowed to happen are what have put you at such a disadvantage? >> that's certainly how it feels to me. >> after 30, 40 years, you look back on the policies and you see the income gap, you know, your purchasing power and the cost of education and housing has gone
way up compared to wages and, you know, once you look back on that and you still don't acknowledge your part in that in, that's when it kind of becomes hard to understand how they justify that. >> reporter: well, they is me, right? >> exactly. yeah, you. how do you justify that? no you know, individually, these people, i don't think are sociopaths like you referenced that, that book. but on a policy level, absolutely are. it's hard to describe you guys as anything other than that. >> reporter: briana nicholas had a less clinical diagnosis. >> boomer-- it's kind of like a filler word for status quo, like it's not the generation itself, it's just the fact that like, the unwillingness to understand that things have changed, things are changing and kind of keep it the way it is because it worked for them, assuming that it'll work for everyone else. and that's just not true. >> reporter: but wait a minute. what about the '60s, when boomers worldwide were coming of
age and pushing back against previous generations for civil rights, feminism, gay rights? credit for that, right? >> no, and if you look at the chronology, you can see that this is just true. okay, so desegregation of schools, brown versus board of education, 1954, average boomer is two. pretty sure they're not on the supreme court. civil rights act of 1964. average median boomer is 12. again, not a constituency, not in power. voting rights act, 1965. again, not a constituency, not in power. >> reporter: and the legion of boomers who started earth day, voted against the tax cuts, carried the flag for social change? >> i agree that while boomers are as individuals, good and bad, just like any other generation, my argument is that whenever the boomers were faced with a choice as a political generation, it tended to work out quite well for the boomers. >> reporter: so what now? any hope for the millennials? well, we're going to pass on and, i pointed out to the panel... the amount of money that boomers
have made and saved will go to you all, right? >> it's a little morbid to have to wait for your relatives to die to have some kind of financial success. >> i should be able, with my career, with my husband's career, to be able to save enough money to have financial security, plus living in an adequate home, you know? >> reporter: and who's to argue that she shouldn't be? well, in our next story, we'll hear the somewhat surprising response from the boomers themselves. >> i want to apologize >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, i'm paul solman. >> woodruff: environmental health advocate catherine coleman flowers has dedicated her life to battling the neglected diseases of poverty.
she is the founder of the center for rural enterprise and environmental justice where she works on multiple fronts to improve public health, economic development, including access to water and sanitation amidst the growing threat of climate change. night, she gives her brief but spectacular take on fighting america's dirty secret. >> sanitation doesn't get the attention that it should because it's generally out of sight, out of mind. as a child in lowndes county, alabama, i had the opportunity to walk through corn fields, to walk in the woods to understand how nature and people in rural communities coexist. ialso had parents that were activist parents who were very involved in the civil rights movement. i love lowndes county. and that's what motivated me to return home. i thought that i would come back and do economic development. and of course i ended up pivoting, becoming more of an activist, trying to deal with
the sanitation and wastewater problems, because without that, you can't really do economic development. well lowndes county being a very rural community has another type of poverty that one doesn't see in urban areas. for example, rural poverty to me looks like living in a home that doesn't have a septic system. when i'm talking about raw sewage, i'm talking about something very, very basic. what comes out of our bodies, that the reason that we wash our hands when we go to the bathroom, because we don't want to be contaminated. there are so many people in the united states that don't have that luxury. we have to deal with the historical challenges that have been put in place. these inequities that have continued for far too long. and that's what sanitation inequity looks like around the u.s. and we're going to see more and more failures around the country because of climate change. we have to come up with new technologies to deal with the new realities that are upon us. the biggest obstacles that we face addressing the
environmental issues or the people that arprofiting from the problem. the same people th have designed the failures get the money to supposedly design the solutions, but there's no guard rails or accountability that's quired. i think we have to overcome that in order to protect the common good of everybody. because one of the things that covid has told us, if we don't, then we could create diseases right here that will impact all of us. and it's not going to stay in one place. i mean, if we didn't learn this over the past year, then we're going to keep repeating that same lesson over and over again until we do. folks want to pretend like, or, or think that this does not exist in the united states, i think juxtaposed this against the amount of wealth and opulence that we have in this country, this is a basic need that everybody has, and we should have addressed this a long time ago. my name is catherine coleman flowers, and this is my brief but spectacular take on fighting america's dirty secret.
>> woodruff: you can watch all our brief but spectacular episodes at: pbs.org/newshour/brief. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you, please stay safe, and we'll see you son. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: our u.s.-based customer service reps can help you choose a plan based on how much you use your phone, nothing more, nothing less. to learn more, go to consumercellular.tv >> the ford foundation. working with visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide.
>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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