Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) sits down for a conversation about his recent trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan with attendees of the Monitor Breakfast.
Senator Levin says U.S. forces are currently in the process of transitioning lead security responsibilities to Afghan forces. He also emphasizes the importance of adhering to President Barack Obama's July 2011 timeline for withdrawing troops. The date, he says, has given the Afghan leaders a sense of urgency to take the war into their own hands.
David Cook is Senior Editor and Washington bureau chief of The Christian Science Monitor. He oversees the Monitor's 9-person bureau in the nation's capital, hosts the Monitor's newsmaker breakfasts, and writes for csmonitor.com.
For over 40 years, Monitor breakfasts have brought journalists together with key public officials to talk about the issues of the day in a candid, in-depth fashion. Since their start in 1966, four US presidents, five vice presidents, and countless cabinet and congressional officials have been guests at the 3,600 breakfasts the Monitor has hosted.
When Monitor correspondent Jill Carroll was held captive in Iraq for 82 days in 2006, Cook served as the Monitor's spokesperson and appeared on numerous national broadcasts including "Today," "Nightline," "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer," and "ABC World News Tonight."
From August 1994 through July 2001, Cook served as editor of The Christian Science Monitor. During his term, the Monitor's print edition was redesigned, csmonitor.com was launched, and the paper won numerous awards including the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting.
Previously Cook was editor of Monitor Broadcasting which produced daily radio news programs heard on 200 public radio stations. He also served as managing editor of the Monitor's Emmy award-winning nightly television news program "World Monitor."
His current assignment is Cook's third tour in Washington. During two previous postings in the nation's capital he covered economic policy. He also has been a Detroit-based correspondent for Business Week.
Cook was awarded a Bagehot Fellowship in Business and Economic Journalism by Columbia University. He is a graduate of Principia College, attended the Advanced Management Program at Michigan State University, and served in the U.S. Army. He is a member of the Gridiron Club, Washington's oldest journalistic organization, and the father of three grown sons.
Carl Milton Levin (born June 28, 1934) is a Democratic United States Senator from Michigan and is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services. He has been in the Senate since 1979 and Michigan's senior senator since 1995. He is the longest-serving US Senator ever to represent Michigan.
Levin attended Detroit public schools and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1956 and from Harvard Law School in 1959. Soon after earning his law degree, he was admitted to the Michigan bar and opened a practice in Detroit, where he still lives. He received honorary degrees from Michigan State University in 2004 and Wayne State University in 2005.
He was state assistant attorney general and general counsel for the Michigan civil rights commission from 1964-67. He was special assistant attorney general for the State of Michigan and chief appellate defender for the city of Detroit from 1968-69. He was a member of the Detroit City Council 1969-77, the last four years as council president.
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) weighs in on a recent survey distributed by the Pentagon to 400,000 active and reserve U.S. service members about the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
Levin says he believes it's "a very good idea" to survey the attitude of the troops, as long as the results are not made public. "It can be overdone," he cautions, "it's surely overdone with politicians."