Morning Joe | March 01, 2013
>>> oh, look at that shot. here with us now, former democratic senator from wisconsin , russ feingold . he's the author of "while
america sleeps: a wake-up call for the post-9/11 era" now out in paperback. as we were talking in the break, you know what he said?
>> what's that?
>> he agrees we should be on delay in l.a.
>> we should. and we're going to be.
>> because he has to get up too early.
>> i've been teaching at stanford law school , and i miss you guys.
>> you've gone all west coast on us.
>> the weather is very nice. you guys come on too early for the west coast .
>> we're going to take care of that. our friends at comcast are taking care of that right now.
>> we have to.
>> let's talk, first of all, i want to get into the buck, but really quickly, look at what's happening in washington. you look at the sequester. you worked with republicans, actually, on cutting spending, on being more rational in our budgetary approach. what are your thoughts today?
>> well, i work with you.
>> in the gold old days when we were there, the thing that was different, joe, and i think you'll agree with this, the public was engaged in the idea of bringing down the deficit. they didn't have this division where one side said, you can't raise taxes. and the other side said we have to increase spending. we had this sort of almost unfriendly competition to see who could be tougher on the deficit. it was sort of fun. you know, why do we have a helium program for dirigibles? why do we have a tea-tasting board? why do we have a woollen mohair program for the troops' uniforms that aren't wool anymore? we need to be in a situation where the public is engaged with members of congress and the president in finding even the small things. yes, the big things matter. but that creates the energy and the enthusiasm that leads to the kind of deal that we're going to need to actually get this done.
>> no doubt about it. let's talk about why america is sleeping in the post-9/11 world. you say it's not just about slogans. what are we getting wrong?
>> well, the problem is since 9/11, we obviously took an enormous blow. i've been on this show talking about this. it seems after ten years we occasionally pay attention what's happening overseas, but we tend to go back to sleep and focus almost exclusively to domestic issues. it's a cliche, but we need to learn to walk and chew gum at the same time.
>> you and i three years ago were talking about afghanistan . talking about spending $2 billion a week. talking about this endless war . we're three years past that.
>> that one should have ended a long time ago.ago. we can't shift from north africa to syria, as important as it is, the north africa situation continues. i think the administration was too quick to say bin laden and everybody had their own day, but i was shocked to see the republicans never mention anything until benghazi. once that ended, they're not interested in it anymore. we have to maintain a focus.
>> how do we maintain that focus, though?
>> as a people and as leaders in our government have to make it a main part of that agenda. they can't be criticized for what's happening in malli or egypt. they need to be given credit for that. my book is about the fact that our system rewards people for basically not knowing much about the rest of the world .
>> where do you stand on drones?
>> i think drones are essential, but we need a legal regime, a real law monitored by the judiciary. it can't just be the president and a couple advisers looking at the list.
>> were you surprised by the justice department memo?
>> very disturbed. i think the legal counsel memos need to come out and the public needs to be the legal basis. i think it can be done in a lawful way, but it has to be precisely related to an enemy and not a broader definition of people that might not like us. that's one of mice worries about how this goes.
>> i want to understand more about what you're saling, islamists , before anyone heard of al qaeda , before al qaeda came together, the algerian islamists were engaged in a brightal civil war with the algerian government. are you arguing that america needs to be engaged with islamists around the world, so if that's the case, you and john mccain are completely on the same page.
>> we're not on the same page on this, and let me take your exact example. here's the fact that people don't realize. the folks in algeria went somewhere first. they went to afghanistan . they were part of the mojadean -- he was in afghanistan at the time, so it has tore tailored to al qaeda , but this is al qaeda , and we have to realize it. it's not just any islamic group .
>> the book " while america sleeps , a wake-up call for the post-9/11 era" is now out in paperback.
>> we want to teach at stanford. you want to invite us out?
>> well, i don't have the authority. but it's a great place. give you a plug for marquette.
>> i don't want to go to wisconsin .
>> just wait a few weeks.
>> you don't have the authority to let news your own classroom?
>> no, i had to start my class that the one thing out of order is discussing the roe bowl, which you may recall was wisconsin versus stanford.
>> thank you, russ.
>> we'll be right back. [