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Transcript: All In with Chris Hayes, 9/10/21

Guests: Stuart Sevens, Jeannie Suk Gersen, Max Rose, Anne-Marie Slaughter


Republicans railed against President Joe Biden`s plant to save lives from COVID. The GOP is outraged over mandates but silent on the COVID death toll. The vaccination requirements are nothing new and they work. Democrats are proposing a number of tax increases on the super-wealthy. We`ve just left Afghanistan after 20 years in the hands of the Taliban as they were 20 years ago at enormous cost to the U.S. and to the people of Afghanistan.



CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice-over): Tonight on ALL IN. The President pushes his plan to curb pandemic death.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re playing for real here. This isn`t a game.

HAYES: And the absolutely unhinged backlash is in full throw.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do not comply with the tyranny. And when the Gestapo show up at your front door, you know what to do.

HAYES: Tonight, the convergence of policy politics and far-right rage. And why there is no reason on Earth the Biden vaccine mandate is big government overreach.

Then, 20 years after America was attacked on 9/11.

REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): Some of us must urge the use of restraint.

HAYES: What we know now about what went wrong with America`s response and the political environment that results in.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Before I vent my considerable rage about the scoundrels, charlatans, and cynics who are urging America towards ever more mass death, let me start with some equanimity.

Despite the histrionics of those people, political leaders in the Republican Party and conservative media figures, this country, us as Americans, are actually pretty unified in favor of COVID vaccines. A majority of people across every eligible age group have now received at least one dose of a vaccine. Across all regions of the country, more than half of the eligible population has had at least one dose. More than 75 percent of all American adults have had at least one shot.

Now, we say this a lot in this program because it`s true. We are a very polarized country. We disagree about a lot of things very intensely. There are very few issues that get 75 percent agreement, but I`m getting your COVID vaccine, we`re in pretty good agreement. And that agreement makes sense. It`s a well-grounded decision that 75 percent of American adults have made because COVID has killed 660,000 of us.

And I want you to imagine for a second a biological weapon, silent, deadly, going off in say, the city of Boston. And that biological weapon, it sneaks its way through the air there in the molecules, and one by one it snuffs out the light of every single man, woman, and child. It sounds farfetched, obviously, but it really is worth taking a moment just to push yourself to imagine that scenario. Biological weapon dropped on Boston, and it just kills everyone.

And what an absolute hinge point for all of history, it would be, for American history, for global history probably. That`s roughly the equivalent of what this virus has done so far. That`s the death toll so far. And it`s not done, it hasn`t stopped. We will lose another 1500 people today, our friends and our loved ones, our co-workers, our fellow Americans, 1,500 of them lost every day, preventively.

And because of how dangerous and deadly this virus is, were in the midst of the largest vaccination campaign in history, globally. More than 5.6 billion doses have been administered around the world. And this is an incredible way to run an experiment, right? I mean, there were -- there were obviously clinical trials in many countries, but we`ve got 5.6 billion real-world doses. And the data continues to show both how safe and effective these vaccines are and how much protection they offer.

A study published just today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that vaccines remain 95 percent effective against hospitalization among people under 65. And the effectiveness waned a bit just under 80 percent for those over 65, but still 80 percent. So, for all these reasons, right, just the basic logic of this, 75 percent of Americans are on board. This is the good news. This is great.

The problem is that the virus is vicious. And the level of social consensus it demands to snuff it out as just biological fact, to save the lives of our fellow Americans, the level of consensus it requires is above 75 percent. So, the conundrum we find ourselves in now is how do we get from where we are to where we need to be to snuff it out. How do we protect all of us collectively?

And that, that question above and beyond everything else, is what I think gave rise to President Joe Biden`s announcement yesterday of, among other things, new vaccine policies requirement with the testing opt-out that will affect tens of millions of Americans.

The Biden administration, if they understand one thing, I can tell you, I think it`s that they understand they were elected to defeat COVID and they understand COVID is not defeated. And so, new measures are needed.


And that brings us to the people on the side of the virus, the faction that from the very beginning almost has opposed every intervention to try to squash the virus and to save lives. And honestly, there`s not been a ton of logical consistency or rhyme or reason to it. I mean, early in the pandemic, when businesses were shut down, right, concert venues, bars, restaurants, all kinds of businesses, when they were closed. This faction wanted them to remain open, that this was tyranny.

OK, well, yes, there`s costs of that. Well, what about if we keep them open and wear a mask? Because we`ve known for a while now that mask do help stop the spread. We just got a huge, amazing randomized control study in the real world. And that same faction doesn`t want people to wear masks. Even you know, unvaccinated young kids in schools don`t want them wearing masks. That`s tyranny. Don`t close businesses down, don`t wear masks.

OK, well, vaccines. I mean, that`s the real solution, right? Vaccines as study after study showed, are safe and highly effective. But this faction either oppose vaccines or flirt with vaccine opposition, and they oppose vaccine requirements, and they get really mad if you try to push vaccines.

So, what are we left with? The only thing that unifies this faction is opposition to defeating the virus. In other words, as I`ve quoted before George Orwell, on the anti-fascist fights in the pre-World War II period, they are objectively pro-COVID. If you`re not against -- if you`re not for defeating the disease, you are for the disease.

As the George Washington University Professor pointed out on Twitter yesterday, "People who are extremely anti lockdown shouldn`t be extremely pro-vaccination." And he`s right, that`s exactly correct and logical. And yet, the pro-COVID faction has freaked out in response to President Biden`s announcement of a requirement that large companies must either mandate vaccinations or weekly testing for employees.

The rule will come from a Department of Labor agency that has been around for 50 years regulating workplace safety and assuring healthy conditions for employees. I mean, this isn`t some like a weird new trick they discovered. This is in the law. And if there`s ever been a time for the government to secure the health and safety of American workers, it`s now with a respiratory borne illness spreading that`s already killed 660,000 people in this country and counting and cause the largest mass death event in a century. But the chorus of conservatives, the faction on the side of the virus are reacting with histrionics and tantrums.

The Republican governor of South Carolina Henry McMaster tweeted shortly after Biden`s announcement, "The American dream has turned to join nightmare under President Biden and the radical Democrats. We will fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian."

Governor Bill Lee, Republican of Tennessee, wrote "The Constitution won`t allow this power grab. And in the meantime, I will stand up for all Tennesseans. Now, Tennessee is a state that has set a new record for COVID hospitalizations every single day in the month of September through yesterday. In that state, the governor says he will stand up for the Tennesseans by fighting for the mandate. It`s too late for him to stand up for the ones that have died.

JD Vance, Republican candidate for Senate in Ohio released a statement urging people to ignore the president, "Do not comply with the mandates" which just to be clear, he saying don`t get vaccinated. Only mass civil disobedience will save us from Joe Biden`s naked authoritarianism.

Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa even claimed the vaccine mandates were an attempt to distract from the anniversary of 9/11.


SEN. JONI ERNST (R-IA): I would agree with the point that is being made by so many of my colleagues that this is a diversion away from 9/11, away from the 20th anniversary, and away from the debacle that was his Afghanistan withdrawal.


HAYES: That is such a revealing thing to say, a diversion. COVID is an abstraction, a political gain. 1500 people dying today. Americans like the Americans we lost on 9/11 like those brave service members we lost in Afghanistan, today, tomorrow.

On the one hand, these are just ridiculous theatrics, but they are ridiculous theatrics that are getting people killed and have been getting people killed for the past 18 months. If there`s one thing I still, and you can probably tell, cannot abide, cannot acclimate myself, cannot come to accept after a year and a half, it is the despicable glibness with which these people treat this stalking tragedy in our lives at some point-scoring opportunity, as some dumb rhetorical game for their Facebook posts.

660,000 American lives lost. Another 1500 will die today. I have yet to see honestly in this year and a half of single conservative leader muster one- tenth of the sincere emotion about that loss that they will muster to rail against any attempt to mitigate that loss. Something is deeply broken with them.


Stuart Stevens is a veteran of five Republican presidential campaigns. He`s now a senior advisor at the Lincoln Project, author of the book, It Was All Lie: How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump. And he joins me now.

I will go back to begin with my place of equanimity, Stuart, which is I just want everyone not to lose sight of the fact that there is a broad pro- vaccine majority in this country, that people with all kinds of political ideas, all kinds of fates, people who have political -- people who hate me probably, people with political ideas that I find odious, getting vaccinated, and God bless them. And there is a real silent majority issue here, it seems to me.

STUART STEVENS, SENIOR ADVISOR, LINCOLN PROJECT: Yes, look, I mean, I think the danger here is to look at this as an isolated reaction by the Republican Party, when it`s really just a continuation of an anti-science, anti-fact element that has come to dominate the Republican Party. I mean, in 2013, former Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said, you know, let`s don`t be the stupid party.

But he said it because we were on our way to becoming the stupid party and he knew it. And this is the direct evolution. This is no different than Sean Spicer saying, what you`re seeing is not true. There really wasn`t a huge crowd, to just not accepting facts. It`s extraordinarily dangerous. And a society -- civil society really can`t exist as often pointed out when there`s no agreement upon basic facts.

HAYES: There`s something very telling to me about Josh Mandel and JD Vance who are competing for that Iowa Senate seat that will be vacated by Rob Portman who has announced his retirement. They are, of course, will be facing off in a primary.

And you know, you can just -- they understand where the political incentives are in that primary. They both did just really very thirstily desperate kind of statements about how this was, you know, the Gestapo in the words of Josh Mandel, which is a fairly offensive thing to say, mass civil disobedience. But I don`t think they`re wrong about what they gauge that Republican primary voters in the state of Ohio want to hear.

STEVENS: No. Look, I worked for Senator Portman, and I did presidential races in Ohio going back to 2000. I don`t think Rob Portman, the sort of candidate that he was before, would do well in a Republican primary now because it`s just become crazy. It`s a race to the bottom. I mean, I don`t know Josh Mandel. I`ve seen him bouncing around. He`s never been a very good politician. But he was always sort of a sane guy.

And JD Vance, he`s not an idiot. And they`ve become like a pro-death race to the bottom. But here`s the thing, both those guys are vaccinated. Their families are vaccinated, I promise you. It`s sort of like they`re trying to sucker people into I don`t want to die, but look, you can die. It`s nihilistic.

HAYES: It is. But I also -- I do think there`s something deeper and ideological here. I think there`s been an interesting question about whether this is -- this is a fluke that the American right has gone in this direction, or at least a portion of it, you know, not Mike DeWine, the governor of Ohio. He`s been quite good on things like vaccination. That this portion, whether it`s sort of accident or ideologically driven. And I do think there`s some level at which there is just the sense that like, this has to be defeated collectively, and we don`t believe in that. And we -- you know, it`s an individual choice.

And I mean, Ron DeSantis said the other day, it doesn`t affect me if you`re vaccinated. It`s just not true. It very much does. But there is something deep there that that is appealing to a certain part of the conservative mind, I think.

STEVENS: Yes. You know, there`s always been this conspiratorial element to the post-World War II Republican Party. And this is sort of like a reaction before you had order. It`s a same thing as say, Joe McCarthy.


STEVENS: Yes. This is like an element that`s in the party that`s always been there that now has become the dominant element.

HAYES: Yes. And it`s really -- I don`t know a greater chest for it is the fact that it`s going to be a part of the Republican Party if -- they won`t stop when people get dying in these numbers. It just shows how desperately negative the Republican Party has become an American life.

HAYES: Stuart Stevens who has worked with that party, for that party, wrote a book about it for years. Thank you so much.

STEVENS: Thank you.


HAYES: The pushbacks to the President`s vaccine requirement yesterday was immediate, cries of tyranny claiming it`s an overreach, a blatant power grab. So, fair enough question, is the Biden vaccine mandate legal? Does it have precedent? Yes and yes and we`ll explain why next.


HAYES: Every single person watching me right now has either lived all or most of their lives under a regime of vaccine mandates and we`re all better for it. Vaccine mandates in America are basically like traffic lights. They`re everywhere. We all follow them. It`s the way societies have ordered. It has been for a very long time.

The first vaccine mandate in the U.S. Armed Forces was when George Washington required his troops to get inoculated from smallpox in 1777 during the Revolutionary War. Good call by the way. Smallpox killed a lot of people. This is a photo from 1958. It`s U.S. Army private Elvis Presley getting a slew of vaccinations before shipping out to the Korean War. It is what every soldier has to do when they show up for boot camp.

As it stands right now in 2021, part of the initial entry training, service members are mandated to receive chickenpox, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, seasonal influenza, mumps, measles and rubella, polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccinations. The vaccine mandates are not just for the military, they`re part of all of our lives.

Here`s Elvis Presley backstage at the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 getting the polio vaccine shot. Did you get the picture? Now, of course, most vaccines start when kids are babies, and they continue through Primary School. In the book law in public health practice, authors explain the first school vaccination requirement was enacted in the 1850s in Massachusetts to prevent smallpox transmission in schools.


In the late 1960s, efforts were undertaken to eradicate measles from the U.S. Transmissions in schools was recognized as a significant problem. In the early 1970s, states that had school vaccination laws from measles vaccine had measles incident rates 40 percent to 51 percent lower than states without such laws. Well, there you go, right? It`s very effective.

So, by the year 1981, all 50 states have laws covering students first entering school, all right, 40 years -- 41 years ago, all 50 states. Meaning, for the last 41 years, we`ve all been living in the universe of required vaccines, required to get vaccinated. And the reason is because communicable diseases are a society-wide threat that can only be met with society-wide measures.

It`s been clear for a long time, if you mandate vaccinations, you`re going to get less communicable diseases. Thousands of colleges across the country of course require vaccines, just about every government on Earth has some form of vaccine requirement whether for their own population or for foreign visitors.

Check this out. You`ve you may have seen this, right? It`s a literal vaccine passport. It`s been around since 1959, very distinctive yellow color. If you traveled to South America, Africa, India, other parts of Asia, you`ve likely had to use one. You might have had to go and get special shots. Guess why? Because those places don`t want you coming in and spreading an infectious disease.

Yes, honestly, it is almost not hyperbole to say that getting your population vaccinated and safe from communicable diseases, is the foundation of modern governance or one of the core functions it serves despite the pervasiveness of this. Across the entire world, we now have cries of tyranny of the Gestapo from pro-COVID conservatives.

So, let`s talk about the real nuts and bolts of U.S. law around vaccine requirements and what President Biden announced. To do that, I want to bring in Jeannie Suk Gersen, who is a professor of law at Harvard Law School, contributing writer at the New Yorker. Her recent column explored various legal routes and roadblocks for the government to impose a national vaccination mandate.

So, you wrote about a national vaccination mandate. We`re short of that here. The provision getting the most ire I think, is the use of OSHA authority to require businesses to have some policies. Talk us through what legal footing that`s based on.

JEANNIE SUK GERSEN, PROFESSOR, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL: So, the OSHA authority, as you mentioned, it is based on a statute that Congress passed in the 1970 called the Occupational Safety and Health Act -- Occupational Safety and Health Act. And it is authorizing the executive branch, namely the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, to issue certain rules to protect worker safety.

So, what we might be more accustomed to hearing about are things like in the workplace there, you don`t want the workplace to be polluted with toxic chemicals, or things that would actually harm the physical safety of workers. Now, this -- what the Biden administration is doing is saying, as a way of protecting worker safety, we`re going to have OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issue certain rules, that those federal rules will have the force of law, and they will require workplaces companies to require their workers to be vaccinated.

HAYES: So -- yes, so there`s going to be -- there will be challenges to that, right? This will be an OSHA emergency law -- rule, right through this statutory authority. What do you think about the sort of the legal challenges and what kind of footing it`s on in protecting against them?

GERSEN: Well, of course, it`s going to be challenged. Many, many rules that the administration passes will be challenged, has been challenged already. And this one will be challenged based on the idea that the statute itself doesn`t authorize the government to do what it`s purporting to do.

First of all, the statute itself is not going to be held unconstitutional. It was passed in 1970. It was passed under Congress`s commerce clause authority that is rock solid, as for OSHA, that the statute authorizes the government to require workers to be vaccinated or to have companies require their workers to vaccinated. That is an issue of whether the Administrative Procedure Act allows this kind of authority to be exercised by the government. And it`s really clear that from the OSHA, the statute that this is exactly the kind of thing that the government can do.


The fact that the government hasn`t done this before on a federal level, mainly, we have been in the past talking about states and localities making people get vaccinated. Now, this is a federal move. It`s a federal act. And the reason that hasn`t been done before is probably because past epidemics have been adequately controlled with state and local measures.

HAYES: Right.

GERSEN: This one is an emergency. And it is very clear that under the emergency authority that OSHA grants to the executive branch, that this would very clearly fall under that. I don`t know what else you could claim to have be an emergency other than this kind of situation where we have so many people dying. And it`s very clear that the protection of worker safety requires it.

HAYES: Well, from your lips to five justices` ears. Jeannie Suk Gersen, thank you so much. I appreciate it.

GERSEN: Thank you.

HAYES: Ahead, a really important conversation about what we learned as a country about our own response to the attacks on 9/11. And betting the farm to keep billionaires happy, the bipartisan push to undermine the Biden agenda next.



HAYES: I spent 20 years in political journalism watching this one particular fight over and over and it`s happening again.

Democrats are proposing a number of tax increases on the super-wealthy as part of their big reconciliation package. One of the so-called pay fors right, where they`ll get more revenue to pay for the social programs are doing is to close some of the massive loopholes in the estate tax or as Republicans like to call it, the death tax.

The estate tax basically attacks on the transfer of the estate of a tiny, tiny, little group of extremely wealthy people and they die. It only kicks in on the states more -- worth more than $11.7 million or more. Think to yourself, do you have that much money. If you do, congratulations, but most of you don`t.

Democrats want to close a loophole that lets wealthy people make money off their money, right. Invest the money and then, never have to pay taxes on those gains or pay in a much lower rate. And the usual suspects are coming out of the woodwork to oppose it.

For decades, this have been this back and forth. Broadly, liberals wanting to tax these estates. And then you have an unholy trinity of conservatives, Washington lobbyists and the ultra-rich, trying to make sure that basically billionaire heirs can keep every last cent.

And in each round of this fight, you see the same exact bad faith arguments over and over again, like the debunked claim that it will hurt small family farms.

In 2017, the Tax Policy Center determined there are only 50 small farms and businesses in the entire country that are affected by the state tax. On average, they owe less than 6 percent of the estate`s value.

Now, I got to say, this is one of those issues that is unambiguous to me, there`s not really any nuance, there`s no actual good-faith argument. Eliminating the estate tax or allowing these glaring loopholes to essentially nullify is just an indefensible policy for the richest of rich to pass on their wealth.

Because here`s what we got to understand. America`s richest people don`t actually pay that much in taxes during their life, at least relative to how much wealth they have. We just saw that with that great ProPublica piece.

And the trick they use, right, is they have a lot of money invested, and they let those investments grow. And then they borrow against the value of those investments rather than selling those investments in paying taxes, which means they virtually have no income. Again, relative to their wealth.

And because they don`t have much income, they`re just borrowing against their wealth, very little in income tax. And so, you can just kind of borrow and borrow and live and live and make and make and you can gain taxes so well during your life.

There`s one thing you can avoid, no matter how rich you are, no matter how many spaceships you get on. And it`s death.

Death comes for all of us, no matter how much money and that is when the taxman can get you.

Unless, unless, unless you managed to gut the estate tax, right? If you can get some loopholes in the estate tax, then you never have to pay taxes, and then your kids can go through the same thing all over again. And the government can essentially never tax wealthy people. That is why they are so obsessed with this, right?

That`s the thing they hate about the estate tax, there`s no loophole to escape death.

The government takes advantage of their mortality to actually make them and their heirs pay taxes at the point that they cannot escape.

So, for my entire adult life, the very richest families in this country have been fighting this tooth and nail. Because super-wealthy people can enlist the help of lobbyists and politicians and ex-politicians like for instance, former Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who five months ago called these very same estate tax loopholes, one of the biggest scams in the history of forever.

Now, she happens to be the chair of a dark money group opposing estate tax reform. So, she goes on T.V. to warn Democrats, it would be politically toxic. It would hurt -- you guessed it, small businesses and farms. Same arguments we`ve been hearing for 20 years.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These people have paid taxes on this money already. They paid in income tax, they paid it in property tax, capital gains, they got to pay --



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 98 percent of estates pay no taxes at all. We`re talking about people who are loaded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You think just because people can afford a tax it should be living?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if we`re going to spend millions of dollars on tax breaks, we should consider spending it on people who don`t have millions of dollars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, I can tell you what he thinks. He thinks we roll with it. Things that president can`t be against tax cuts in an election year. He thinks it`s our key districts have farms that are going to be inherited. We have to -- he thinks we roll with it.


HAYES: Oh, Toby, that episode of "The West Wing" aired in October of 2001, 20 years ago. It`s not the -- obviously, not the only national conversation to span the last two decades. We`ll tell you about what we have learned and what we have definitely not right after this.




REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint. Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, let`s step back for a moment. Let`s just pause just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today. So that this does not spiral out of control.

Now, I have agonized over this vote but I came to grips with it today. And I came to grips with opposing this resolution during the very painful yet very beautiful memorial service. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, as we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.



HAYES: That was 20 years ago, just days after the Twin Towers fell. Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California, went to the floor of the House of Representatives, and warn the nation not to launch a war in response to 9/11.

It was an idea that was almost unthinkable, massively unpopular in polls and in Washington.

In the end, she was the lone vote in all of Congress in both parties against the authorization for the use of military force, just her.

Tomorrow will mark 20 years of September 11th, a day of mourning, memorialization, reflection. Think about those we`ve lost. Think about where we`ve come as a nation. We`ve just left Afghanistan after 20 years in the hands of the Taliban as they were 20 years ago at enormous cost to the U.S. and to the people of Afghanistan.

And I think there is an openness now in the conversation for a reckoning about what we have and have not learned in those 20 years.

Joining me now is Mehdi Hasan, whose show streams daily on Peacock and Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. on MSNBC. Max Rose, a former Democratic Congressman representing New York`s 11th district, served as an officer in the U.S. Army with combat tours in Afghanistan. And Anne-Marie Slaughter, who is the Director of Policy Planning at the State Department during the Obama administration. She`s now the CEO of the public policy, think tank New America. It`s great to have you all.

Max, I want to start with you as a New Yorker, someone who served in that war that has now ended, what you think we have learned in these 20 years?

MAX ROSE, FORMER CONGRESSMAN, NEW YORK: Chris, it`s great to -- great to see you. You know, I think that over the last 20 years, there`s been incredible sacrifice, incredible leadership and that should not be understated.

But what we`ve also seen over the last 20 years is incredible overreach, some of it with disastrous consequences. I don`t think that did anything to improve our national security.

And those lessons learned, we can`t let them be learned on the sacrifices associated with them to be in vain. We can preserve our national security while leading with our values.

But I also want to make one other slightly more nuanced point here. And that is for the last 20 years, what we did see is America have a concerted well-funded strategy to address what it saw as a problem.

Now, unfortunately, we`ve never been able to do that for anything else. It appears that when the military-industrial complex has not evolved, our collective will dissipates.

We need to somehow figure out how to invest in a real strategy here at home in a similar and bold manner to what we`ve done for counterterrorism.

HAYES: You know, it`s interesting you say that, Max, because one of the things that I`m struck with Anne-Marie, when I go back and read the literature of the post-9/11 era was this sense that like, obviously, this was the challenge of the 21st century. Obviously, this was a pockle and defining. Obviously, this was what -- this was our battle in the Third Reich. Obviously, this was what we`re going to define civilizational. And that seems preposterous now. Honestly, it seems preposterous to think that was the thing that was going to be the defining story of the 21st century was this band of murderers that had killed 3,000 of our fellow Americans from the hills of Afghanistan.

And I wonder how you think about that -- how that -- how that -- how powerful that belief was at that time?

ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF POLICY PLANNING, STATE DEPARTMENT: You`re absolutely right, that it was but I think you could have seen even then, and you can certainly see now that in fact, 9/11 is the intensification of the threats of the post-Cold War era.

So, really, starting in the 1990s, when you had a previous attack on the World Trade Center, when you had Al-Qaeda`s attacks on our embassies in Africa, you had a whole set of transnational threats, terrorism being the leading one, but Civil War spilling over criminal enterprise. And those are the threats pretty much from about 1990 I would say until now when we`re really facing the global threats of climate change and pandemics.

But 9/11 is an intensification of those threats. It`s not the hinge event that somehow changes the threats we face.

HAYES: Mehdi, in terms of thinking about what we learned and what we haven`t learned. I have to bring up this incredible piece of New York Times reporting. Because I think a lot about 9/11. I think about how raw and palpable and close the grief was, the loss, how devastating it was. Americans have not experienced this, right?

I mean, Americans don`t live in a country that`s war-torn. We don`t walk around thinking that there will be death from above. Thank God., right? And on this day, we did and we got to see how horrible that is.


HAYES: And this reporting in the New York Times about the drone strike after that bombing, outside the Kabul airport killed 13 U.S. service members, and we think about 140 Afghans. And we struck back saying this was ISIS chorus on ISIS. And there`s very good evidence that this was a driver, a longtime worker for USA group, killed 10, including seven children who is bringing water to his family.

And I think about that haunting Barbara Lee line about, you know, the evil that we`ve experienced, the evil we oppose.

MEHDI HASAN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I mean, that drone strike, it was so symbolic in many ways. We leave Afghanistan the way we arrived with destruction, with violence, with civilian casualties. We saw so many people hyperventilating, that we can`t leave Afghanistan, we can`t abandon the Afghans, but not asking what the staying involve.

Staying involves killing innocent Afghans to whether intentionally or not, seven kids on our way out the door, which is a reminder that the war in Afghanistan might be over, Chris. But the war on terror isn`t.

The Biden administration already talking about beyond the horizon operations or whatever the new phraseology is for the Global War on Terror.

And just to go back to your question about what we`ve learned, what we lost. I mean, I heartily agree with Max about the military-industrial complex and how much money we spent on this goal, the wrong goal that we did focus on this goal.

But I disagree respectfully with him on leadership. I think we saw leaders tell us lies over the last 20 years. Tell us many, many lies.

I think we saw leaders not make bold choices, but take the coward`s way out of I must look tough, no matter what.

I think we saw leaders put emotions over our values, put the desire for vengeance, over a desire for justice. We know from the Afghanistan papers that presidents of both parties, officials from both administrations. Bush, Obama, Trump lied to us about our progress in Afghanistan.

And I think, look at what we did. Look at what we did. Bin Laden was never an existential threat to United States. That`s clear today as you say, Chris. It was clear to some of us on 9/11 that this guy in his cave with his few hundred, few thousand followers could not destroy America, but we could destroy ourselves.

We could legalize torture. We could legalize detention without trial, we could legalize the assassination of American citizens via drone strike, which is what we did over the last 20 years.

We`ve declared war on terror on an abstract noun, which was never going to be one.

HAYES: What do you think Max?

ROSE: Well, I think it`s far more nuanced than that point here. So, when you look at the war in Afghanistan, there was an urgent need to respond. This was an unprecedented threat on the homeland. And it was entirely important and right that we responded.

But we did so in the end in the wrong way. We committed ourselves to an untenable objective and untenable goal. And now, what you see in response to President Biden`s very correct decision to withdraw is this resurgence of this foreign establishment blob, who`s trying to say that somehow we could have turned that country into Japan, Korea, Germany, the far better analogy here is Vietnam.

And he -- you know, he`s 100 percent right here that the underlying intelligence all to associated with these conflicts is absolutely wrong. Everyone`s focusing on the intelligence associated with the Taliban taking the country back over .

Do we honestly think that was the first time that intelligence was so wrong in that country? I mean, come on.

So, look, we are going to continue to work to morally protect the homeland. And we have got to do so leading with our values.

HAYES: I want to ask a question about what would happen (INAUDIBLE) the real test of how we would respond today and I want to ask that question on the other side of the break, stick around.




DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country`s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.


HAYES: We`re back with Mehdi Hasan, Max Rose and Anne-Marie Slaughter. We play that clip Anne-Marie because you can see the continuity there between the kind of demagogic rage that I think was really cultivated in the wake of 9/11 into Trump there. And I remember so precisely that the temperature of the discourse after 9/11. The way that it would melt if you try -- it was like, you would feel like if you made arguments saying like, well, I don`t know if we should go to war, and it would just melted like a candle flame.

And I wonder whether you think it`s gotten better or worse. Like, we have elected Donald Trump in the interim, do you think that we would have the wherewithal to resist that poll in the event of something like that again?

SLAUGHTER: I do think so. Although mostly, I think so because of the technology of war has changed. It is drones, it will be deployed soon, it is cyber security. So, I don`t know that you can answer that question.

And I do want to add that, I agree. I agree that we actually did have to go to war against Al-Qaeda after 9/11 in self-defense. I do also agree that the mission that went far away from us, but we are far safer now. We now are much more at risk from violent extremism from white supremacists and other domestic groups than we are from Al-Qaeda or for any Islamist terrorist group abroad.

And we also did create the space for an entire generation of Afghans of (INAUDIBLE) Afghan women to actually experience a degree of freedom.


SLAUGHTER: I agreed with Joe Biden`s decision. I think it should have come sooner. And I think we`re really in a very different era, but I`m with Max Rose about that. I can`t say that the initial decision as much as I admire Barbara Lee and her courage was wrong.

HAYES: Well, let me -- let me put it this way. Because I think the thing that I keep thinking about now, because we`re speaking during this pandemic, right, is the way that we think about threat and security.

Because there was such this palpable sense that the mass murder, the war crime that was committed by Al Qaeda on American soil is a war crime. That was a threat to our security, understandably, people felt it that way. Obviously, it cannot be the case that you would tolerate something like that happening all the time.

And, yet, at the same time, like, there`s no palpable sense that this pandemic that`s killed 650,000 people. It doesn`t -- it doesn`t scan in the same way i. It doesn`t fire people`s cheeks, there`s no there`s no one to avenge against, there`s no one to strike out against. We can`t send missiles against COVID.

And so, it just doesn`t marshal this same sort of force. I mean, it just striking to see because when you do the accounting, this silent, inert, inanimate, stupid little virus has been more destructive than Al-Qaeda ever was, Mehdi.

And yet, it does not produce that same sense of social mission in the way that attack there.

HASAN: Chris, there are no black or brown people behind it to blame. And don`t forget, Donald Trump wanted to turn it into a war.


HASAN: The reason he went all xenophobic, and did kung flu and all the other disgusting anti-China stuff was because he realized to have a good war in America, you need a good foreign body.

So, therefore, you have a disease that`s killed 20 times more people than died on 9/11. And yet, the same Republicans who said we have to torture people, you have to change airport security, we have to change the constitution, Patriot Act, they won`t put on a mask today to save American lives. The same people who said we need to go to war around the world.

HAYES: Well, there`s a flip side to just -- go ahead.

HASAN: No, I`m just going to say in answer to your point about would it be better today, I hope it would be better today, because I think the Democrats have moved left are more progressive on issues of foreign policy, foreign wars, human rights, the addition of people like AOC and Ilhan Omar and Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna to the House Caucus, I think has been very helpful.

At the same time, though, the Republican Party is way more Islamophobic, way more racist today than it ever was even under George W. Bush. So, I do worry, what would happen to minorities, what would happen to people in my community where God forbid, there to be another "Islamic terrorist attack" on that level in the United States of America.

HAYES: The flip side of the comparison, Max, which you -- which you started the last block raising, which I think about all the time, but this sort of idea of kind of social mobilization for a great challenge is that the flip side of that is, there`s a lot of ways in which the war on terror was a disaster. I mean, it was hugely bloated in terms of the expensive of it. It was destructive in lots of places that led.

So, you know, the cautionary aspects of that is like, do we want another project on that about for anything? It`s like, what does it say this sort of, you know, grand American projects, if that`s the last one that we have?

ROSE: Yes, well, certainly, it was ridiculous for us to at any point to try to turn Iraq or Afghanistan into Denmark. But that certainly should not be any cause for us not to make significant generations long investments in social policy here at home, like universal pre-k, and paid family leave, and the list goes on and on.

But I do think that there`s another point to note here about the last 20 years of our counterterrorism policy and the present day policy, which is that there is still deep prejudice built into this of the over 60 foreign terrorist organizations listed by the State Department. Still to this day, not one of them is a white supremacist organization abroad, despite the fact that there are many terrorist organizations of that nature listed by other nations.

We still to this day are unwilling when someone has white skin and they commit acts of terrorism or attempt to treat them as terrorists as we do people of another faith and we have got to come face to face with that prejudice.

HAYES: Yes, that category, Anne-Marie, you made that point that category was always from the beginning, intensely, intensely, racialize, intensely about people that sort of looked a certain way, worship a certain way.

Mehdi Hasan, Max Rose, Anne-Marie Slaughter that was great conversation. I really, really do appreciate it. Thank you very much.

SLAUGHTER: Thanks, Chris.

HAYES: That is ALL IN for the week. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Chris, thank you my friend. And thanks to at home for joining us this fine Friday night.

I have to ask control room if you guys are getting a weird thing on my audio.