March 21, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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March 21, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
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03/21/2023 | 57m 46s | Video has closed captioning.
March 21, 2023 - PBS NewsHour full episode
Problems Playing Video? | Closed Captioning
GEOFF BENNETT: Good evening.
I'm Geoff Bennett.
AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz.
On the "NewsHour" tonight: Los Angeles school workers go on strike for better wages and working conditions, shuttering classes for more than 400,000 students.
GEOFF BENNETT: New video shows multiple sheriff's deputies forcibly pinning down a man at a Virginia mental hospital, leading to his death.
We speak with the man's family.
AMNA NAWAZ: And 20 years later, Iraqis reflect on how the United States invasion and its aftermath changed their lives.
SUHEILA SHAMKHI, Resident of Iraq (through translator): We thought the Americans will come, that they will free us from Saddam, that, finally, we will get our rights.
But we haven't seen any benefit.
(BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening, and welcome to the "NewsHour."
It's been a day of dueling diplomacy in Russia and Ukraine.
At the Kremlin, China's President Xi Jinping met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a second day, as the two nations appeared to strengthen ties.
GEOFF BENNETT: The state visit by the Chinese leader featured all the ceremony and trappings that Moscow could muster.
Xi and Putin attended a lavish ceremony and presented a united front against the West.
Later, Putin talked up China's 12-point peace proposal for Ukraine.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russian President (through translator): We believe many points of China's peace plan are in sync with Russian approaches and could form a basis for a peaceful settlement, when the West and Kyiv are ready for it.
But, so far, we see no such readiness on their side.
GEOFF BENNETT: Putin accused Western powers of prolonging the war, saying -- quote -- "The West intends to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian."
AMNA NAWAZ: Meanwhile, Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made a surprise visit to Kyiv, meeting with President Zelenskyy and offering what he called unwavering support for Ukraine.
His trip also included laying flowers at the site of a massacre in Bucha.
The town outside the capital has become a symbol of Russian atrocities.
Russia's military appeared to respond by flying two strategic bombers over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours.
The U.S. is playing down plans for Taiwan's president to stop in the U.S. during an upcoming visit to Central America.
Tsai Ing-wen will transit through New York and Los Angeles, but mainland China is already condemning the plan.
At the White House today, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, in effect, it's much ado about nothing.
JOHN KIRBY, NSC Coordinator For Strategic Communications: There's no reason for China to overreact.
Heck, there's no reason for them to react.
I mean, this is something that, as I said, is commonplace.
It's happened before.
It'll likely happen again.
There should be no reason for Beijing to react in any way to this.
AMNA NAWAZ: During her stopovers, Tsai is expected to hold unofficial meetings with U.S. officials and lawmakers.
In Haiti, U.N. officials say rampant gang violence killed at least 187 people from late February into early March.
More than 150 others were hurt.
Video out today showed people fleeing their homes in the capital, Port-au-Prince, on Monday.
Farmers have also had to abandon their fields.
Gangs have increasingly taken over Haiti since the president was assassinated in 2021.
Back in this country, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says the turmoil in banking is stabilizing, but that regulators will do more to guarantee bank deposits if need be.
They have covered all deposits for Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, eclipsing the previous $250,000 limit.
In Washington, Yellen told the American Bankers Association that it's critical to ensure public confidence.
JANET YELLEN, U.S. Treasury Secretary: Our intervention was necessary to protect the broader U.S. banking system.
And similar actions could be warranted if smaller institutions suffer deposit runs that pose the risk of contagion.
AMNA NAWAZ: Also today, leaders of the nation's major banks began a two-day regularly scheduled meeting in Washington.
They're expected to discuss their $30 billion rescue of First Republic Bank, based in San Francisco.
On Wall Street, Yellen's comments helped lower tensions and boost stocks.
The Dow Jones industrial average gained 316 points, or 1 percent, to close at 32560.
The Nasdaq rose 1.5 percent.
The S&P 500 added 1.3 percent.
The basketball world is in mourning tonight for NBA Hall of Famer Willis Reed.
He led the New York Knicks to their first title in 1970, playing injured in game seven to beat the Los Angeles Lakers.
Today, the Knicks tweeted the iconic image of Reed walking on to the court moments before tip-off for that game.
He won another title in 1973 and was also a seven-time All-Star.
Willis Reed was 80 years old.
And the White House hosted some of the nation's leading musicians, actors, and writers today.
President Biden presented Bruce Springsteen with the National Medal of the Arts.
He also honored Julia Louis-Dreyfus and fellow actor Mindy Kaling, among others.
And National Humanities Medals went to 10 writers, historians and more.
JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: The work of our honorees is as diverse as the nation that celebrates with them today.
But common threads weave them together in many ways in the very fabric of America, the pursuit of excellence, the drive to create, the yearning to connect, and the boldness to be truth-tellers, bridge-builders, and change-seekers.
AMNA NAWAZ: The honors were actually for 2021, but had been delayed by the pandemic.
And there's lots more about the medal recipients on our Web site.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": the U.S. and South Korea hold military exercises, while the North ramps up missile testing; the outgoing director of the World Food Program on how to address growing global hunger; actor Randall Park discusses his directorial debut and Asian American representation in Hollywood; plus much more.
GEOFF BENNETT: A massive strike has shut down schools today in the Los Angeles Unified School District, and it's focused on higher wages and better working conditions.
This school strike was not initiated by the teachers, who are still under contract, but some of the district's lowest-paid employees.
Class was canceled in the nation's second largest school district.
School support staff took to the picket lines in the L.A. rain to demand higher wages and better staffing.
CONRADO GUERRERO, President, Service Employees International Union, Local 99: Today, thousands of SEIU Local 99 members are on strike, from the bus yards to the schoolyards, to the kitchens and warehouses.
GEOFF BENNETT: The union SEIU Local 99 represents custodians, bus drivers, special education assistants, and other essential school workers.
Many of them live below the poverty line, on account of low wages and limited work hours, made worse by inflation and L.A.'s high cost of living.
That's why they say they're pushing for a 30 percent salary increase, along with an additional $2 per hour for the district's lowest-paid workers.
PROTESTER: What do we want?
PROTESTER: When do we want it?
GEOFF BENNETT: Demonstrations began at a bus yard at 4:30 this morning, around the same time bus drivers would typically report to work.
Tens of thousands of the district's school workers have now walked off the job.
They have the backing of parents like Jenna Schwartz.
JENNA SCHWARTZ, Parent: We have some of our most underpaid workers doing some of the most challenging jobs on our campuses.
The majority aren't receiving health care.
They have been negotiating for years.
GEOFF BENNETT: The district offered a 20 percent wage increase over a multiyear period, along with a 3 percent bonus and expanded health benefits.
Its superintendent accused the union of refusing to negotiate.
ALBERTO CARVALHO, Superintendent, Los Angeles Unified School District: Despite our invitation for a transparent, honest conversation that perhaps would result in a meaningful solution, that would avoid a strike, we were never able to be in the same room or at the same table to address these issues.
CECILY MYART-CRUZ, President, United Teachers Los Angeles: The onus is on this district.
(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE) GEOFF BENNETT: Union leaders and many teachers support the strike, calling out the school district for ignoring workers' demands.
CECILY MYART-CRUZ: Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, give respect to the education workers that keep our schools running and our children safe.
GEOFF BENNETT: The walkout is affecting some 420,000 students, disrupting not just class, but meals, counseling, and other social services.
SASHA BERNSTEIN, Student: I think it's not good that we're having a strike, because, like, it shuts down school for a few days, which, like, prohibits some people from learning.
GEOFF BENNETT: The strike is expected to last for three days.
For students that are in need of food assistance, the district has set up two dozen locations throughout Los Angeles County where students and families can grab breakfast and lunch.
For the latest on the strike and the impact, I'm joined by Sequoia Carrillo, who covers education for NPR.
She joins us from Los Angeles.
Thanks for being with us.
And, Sequoia, the union says that the average salary of its members in the district is $25,000 a year, with many of these employees who are now on strike, many of them have worked part-time.
You have been speaking with them today.
What did they tell you about how these demands, if they're met, how it would improve their lives?
SEQUOIA CARRILLO, NPR: So many people that I talked to today had truly heartbreaking stories about working for the district and the sacrifices that they have had to go through, working multiple jobs, some going in and out of homelessness, being evicted from apartments, just due to the fact that there's an on-season and an off-season for a lot of this employment.
And rent doesn't work like that.
So, if you're working part-time, you're working during the school year, you don't get that summer vacation.
You don't get paid during that time for a lot of these positions, or some are even working far less hours than that.
But they love what they do.
These are school bus drivers.
These are special education assistants in some instances.
These are people that are really passionate about what they do, and they want to keep doing what they're doing.
But, at this level, they can't sustain themselves.
GEOFF BENNETT: So, the union is demanding a 30 percent increase in base salary over four years.
The district has agreed to a 23 percent raise over five years, along with bonuses.
Why is what the school district is proposing, why isn't that sufficient for the union?
SEQUOIA CARRILLO: The union here really -- from what I can understand from talking to union members and union leadership, they really see their demands as almost the bare minimum.
They feel like they have been arguing and negotiating over this contract for years at this point.
And with inflation and with the economic downturn kind of looming, they really don't see much wiggle room.
They also have had a kind of tenuous relationship with the district in negotiations recently.
And I think this strike is their last straw.
They really -- they don't want to budge on their position.
GEOFF BENNETT: Sequoia, a three-day strike creates a real hardship for working parents.
As we mentioned, many kids rely on school for meals and for social services.
The superintendent told us today that 75 percent of kids in the L.A. School District are at or below the poverty line.
So tell us more about how the neediest students, how they are going to be accommodated.
SEQUOIA CARRILLO: Absolutely.
This is something that when I spoke with Superintendent Carvalho yesterday, he was very passionate about trying to lessen the impact as much as possible on those students that he's worried about.
The district itself has set up different accommodations for these students.
Some schools are open as kind of safe centers for students to go and do take-home packets that the district has sent out.
Others are serving bagged meals to families, no questions asked.
Whoever walks up and wants something, they will get a meal.
There's also some limited childcare available, although I have been told by some parents that that has been very hard to get on the waiting list.
We have also been seeing a lot of students at the picket lines at these rallies.
A lot of the workers in SEIU Local 99, the union, they are parents of students in LAUSD, and they brought their students with them to protest these working conditions.
GEOFF BENNETT: Is there any reason to think, based on your reporting, that a three-day strike will be the thing that forces the school district's hand and these negotiations?
SEQUOIA CARRILLO: It's really hard to tell at this point.
I really thought yesterday that there might be some resolution, and then that very quickly devolved late last night.
I'm not sure if the three-day strike will be what it takes or not.
But what I do know is that, talking with leadership on both sides, there's a lot of people who want this to be over, who know how much this is taking a toll on the city and on parents and on workers and on students.
And, hopefully, a resolution can be reached by the end of this.
GEOFF BENNETT: Sequoia Carrillo covers education for NPR.
Sequoia, thanks for sharing your reporting with us.
SEQUOIA CARRILLO: Thank you for having me.
AMNA NAWAZ: New video out from a mental hospital in Virginia today shows the overpowering use of force that led to the death of a 28-year-old patient earlier this month.
A grand jury today indicted 10 people on second-degree murder charges in connection to the man's death.
William Brangham has the details of this disturbing case.
And a warning: We will show a short excerpt of that video, which may be hard to watch for some viewers.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Two weeks ago, sheriff's deputies transferred Irvo Otieno from a local jail to a state psychiatric hospital near Richmond.
Otieno, who, according to his family, had struggled with mental health issues for years, was reportedly having a mental health crisis at the time of his arrest following a burglary call.
Silent hospital video captures the final minutes of his life.
Multiple deputies and hospital staff are seen pressing Otieno down.
His hands and feet were both cuffed, but law enforcement alleges he was acting aggressively.
After almost 11 minutes, he loses consciousness and hospital staff try to revive him, but he never recovers.
Seven deputies and three hospital employees have been indicted on second-degree murder charges.
Attorneys for at least two of the deputies have maintained they are innocent.
And attorneys for some other defendants said the release of the video could prejudice potential jurors.
Otieno's family is being represented by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who joins us now, along with Irvo's mother, Caroline Ouko.
Thank you both so much for being here.
Ms. Ouko, I am so sorry for what happened to your son.
And we are so grateful that you have taken the time to speak with us about this.
Before we talk about what happened to your son, can you just tell us a little bit about him.
CAROLINE OUKO, Mother of Irvo Otieno: He was my baby.
He was my baby.
He was a smart young man.
And he grew up here in Richmond, went to school locally here in Richmond.
He went to Tuckahoe Elementary School, into Tuckahoe Middle, and then Freeman High School.
And then, eventually, he went to college in California.
Irvo has a way.
He was not quick to anger.
He took his time.
He was like his father.
He loved people.
He was the peacemaker in our family.
If there was a matter, he would always come in and ask us to look at it a different way as well.
He always brought a different perspective to the table.
He was a good listener.
He loved his family.
He loved me so much.
And I loved him that much.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Other family members have described a long struggle that your son had with mental illness.
Do you have any sense of how he was on the day that he was arrested initially or transferred to the hospital?
CAROLINE OUKO: On the day that he was arrested, Irvo was coherent.
We were in the house.
You could talk to him.
He could answer you back.
And even when they left with him to take him to the hospital, he was talking and asking questions.
That's -- he had it -- he was not fully gone that he was not aware of surroundings, aware of himself.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, Attorney for Family of Irvo Otieno: He was in mental distress.
CAROLINE OUKO: It was -- he was just in mental distress.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Mr. Crump, the prosecutor alleges that 10 of those people that we saw on that hospital video are guilty of second-degree murder.
Do you believe that that is the appropriate severity of these charges?
BENJAMIN CRUMP: When you watch the video and you see a young man who is restrained in handcuffs and leg irons, and he's face down, and they all pile on him, you see people put knees on his neck three years after George Floyd, you have to scratch your head and say, why in the world would you use that kind of excessive force for not one minute, but over 11 minutes?
They literally smothered him to death.
This is not a young man who was committing a crime.
He was having a mental health crisis.
Why is it, when Black people have mental health issues, they aren't treated as medical issues; they are treated as criminal issues?
And, far too often, they result into a death sentence.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Mr. Ouko, do you feel like justice is being properly pursued here?
CAROLINE OUKO: Yes, we are in the right step.
And this group, this gang of thugs, criminals, murderers will -- they will -- they will answer for the heinous crime.
They have no reason, they have no reason doing that to my son.
My son was not a threat.
But they went ahead and smothered the life out of him.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Mr. Crump, the prosecutor alleges that other video taken in the jail shows Irvo being punched and pepper-sprayed.
This was prior to getting to the hospital.
Have you seen that video?
Is that something that you are also pursuing?
BENJAMIN CRUMP: We saw that video.
And we think that it was reprehensible how they treated this young man, who was having a mental health crisis.
Remember, his mother, when they first came to their home, she hugged him, and she told them, he's in mental distress.
He's not a bad person.
So what treat him like a criminal?
Why not have humanity for him?
And that's what we are struggling to deal with.
I know President Biden had the cast of "Ted Lasso" at the White House talking about the importance of mental health.
Well, we hope that they're able to engage when Black people have mental health issues, that they will treat issues affecting our loved ones like medical issues, and not criminal issues, because that is what we see.
No matter how many times, like Ms. Caroline said, he's having a mental health crisis, they still tend to be tone-deaf.
And we have to do something about that, America.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Ms. Ouko, Virginia's Governor Glenn Youngkin was asked about your son's death.
And he indicated that we as a society have to figure out a better way how to deal with people who are in mental crisis, as it so clearly sounds like your son was.
What is it that you hope people, our society might learn from your family's tragedy?
CAROLINE OUKO: I hope that -- I hope that, really and truly, they can put some changes in the mental health system and have a mobile response team, that, when you call for help you get the right trained personnel to come to you to help you with your loved one.
And, meanwhile, I'm seeking justice for my son.
I want anyone else that was involved in the mistreatment of my son or who played a part in his murder, I want them to be found and brought to justice.
BENJAMIN CRUMP: And we don't want this to happen to anybody else... CAROLINE OUKO: Yes.
BENJAMIN CRUMP: ... in America struggling with mental health issues.
It was Irvo this time.
If we don't change the system, it could be your loved one.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Benjamin Crump and Caroline Ouko, thank you so much.
And, again, our condolences for what you are all going through.
Thank you for being here.
CAROLINE OUKO: Thank you.
BENJAMIN CRUMP: Thank you.
GEOFF BENNETT: Tensions on the Korean Peninsula are running high.
This month, the U.S. and South Korea launched their largest military exercises in nearly six years.
And, in response, North Korea tested five missiles, part of a record number of tests over the last 15 months.
Nick Schifrin looks at the debate over U.S. policy in the region, as the exercises and tests continue.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Above the Korean Peninsula, a show of force.
U.S. bombers fly alongside South Korean jets to increase what the U.S. military called wartime strategic strike capabilities.
And near the North Korean border, American and South Korean troops fire together as part of 11-day-long exercises they call Freedom Shield and Warrior Shield.
LT. COL. CARMEN BUCCI, U.S. Army: A majority of the training that we have conducted today is always to ensure that we're ready to fight tonight.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But North Korea also tried to show it's ready to fight.
Last week on state TV, it tested an intercontinental ballistic missile it says can reach the entire continental U.S.
It was a family affair.
That's North Korean leader Kim Jong-un with his daughter and with his sister on the right, alongside senior officials.
In the last week, North Korea also launched what it called a simulation of a nuclear attack on South Korea after Kim reduced the threshold for preemptive strikes.
And it launched a missile from a submarine, just one of more than 115 tests in the last year, the most in North Korean history.
SUE MI TERRY, Former CIA Analyst: They have a mission to qualitatively and quantitatively advance their nuclear missile program.
They are using military exercises as a pretext, as an excuse.
When you look at the past history, they have only they have always conducted these kind of missile tests during the -- during the exercises.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Sue Mi Terry is the director of the Asia Program at the Wilson Center in Washington.
She says Kim Jong-un has no interest in diplomacy until the U.S. accepts North Korea as a nuclear weapons power.
SUE MI TERRY: They themselves said so last fall when they said, we're not coming back to talks if we are talking about denuclearization.
We will come back to the talks potentially to talk about arms control or something else, but it's not going to be about denuclearization.
NICK SCHIFRIN: But other North Korea experts believe Kim is willing to adjust his swagger if the U.S. were willing to adjust exercises and sanctions.
ROBERT GALLUCCI, Georgetown University: They're unhappy with our military exercises.
And they may, in fact, be unhappy with the failure of the United States to meet the kinds of expectations they have about starting diplomatic activity.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Ambassador Robert Gallucci is a Georgetown professor and former diplomat.
In the 1990s, he was chief U.S. negotiator of an agreement in which North Korea promised to shut down its nuclear weapons complex, in exchange for energy facilities and improved relations.
That eventually failed, as did diplomatic efforts under President Obama and President Trump's direct talks with Kim Jong-un.
Now the Biden administration has increased military exercises and regional cooperation, but also offered North Korea to meet anywhere with no preconditions.
Does that strategy make sense, do you think?
ROBERT GALLUCCI: Well, it would make sense if it was working, and it doesn't make sense since it's not.
That's better than having preconditions, but it's not as good as saying, look, we have thought about this, and we're prepared to make some moves.
And we are going to begin with the fact that we are -- have sanctions which we can manipulate.
We have military exercises which we can manipulate, and we're prepared to send you a nice positive signal here that we're prepared to make some serious changes.
NICK SCHIFRIN: Should the U.S. be willing to adjust its exercises and its sanctions in order to get North Korea to the diplomatic table?
SUE MI TERRY: I don't think so.
North Koreans are not interested in returning to the talks right now.
Kim Jong-un has made up his mind to get his technical capability to a next level before they return to talks.
NICK SCHIFRIN: North Korea's nuclear advances have increased anxiety across the border in South Korea, where President Yoon Suk-yeol and other senior officials have discussed Seoul building its own nuclear arsenal.
Oh Se-hoon is an influential member of President Yoon's party and a likely presidential candidate in 2027.
OH SE-HOON, Mayor of Seoul, South Korea (through translator): We have come to a point where it is difficult to convince people of the rationale that we should refrain from developing nuclear weapons and stick to the cause of denuclearization.
SUE MI TERRY: I think South Koreans are scared.
They can trust the Biden administration.
But, to be honest, in the future, they are concerned about what's going to happen to the United States.
Will we have another isolationist president who might talk about pulling troops out of South Korea?
NICK SCHIFRIN: For right now, the alliance is becoming more unified.
For years, South Korea and Japan had difficult relations, but, last week, their leaders resumed ties to help create a free and open Indo-Pacific.
FUMIO KISHIDA, Japanese Prime Minister (through translator): We have agreed that, under the current strategic environment, strengthening the Japan-South Korea relationship is an urgent task.
YOON SUK-YEOL, South Korean President (through translator): South Korea and Japan share the universal values of freedom, human rights, and law, and we are the closest neighbors and partners and must cooperate on security, economic issues, and global agendas.
NICK SCHIFRIN: An agenda that publicly includes countering North Korea's growing missile threat.
SUE MI TERRY: North Koreans are making all kinds of threats about preemptive use of nuclear weapons.
But if they know that United States and South Korea and Japan are closely aligned, and you cannot separate these countries, I think it would have some sort of impact.
NICK SCHIFRIN: North Korea continues to pose one of the U.S.' most difficult challenges.
And, right now, the Biden administration is not signaling any policy change, as the tests and exercises are expected to continue.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Nick Schifrin.
AMNA NAWAZ: The causes of global hunger are many and well-known, conflict, climate, and, in too many cases, cruelty.
But it is the job of the United Nations' World Food Program to push through those barriers to feed hundreds of millions of people in need.
Its executive director the last six years is David Beasley, under whose leadership the WFP won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2020.
He leaves the post early next month.
David Beasley joins us now.
And welcome back to the "NewsHour."
It's always good to see you.
DAVID BEASLEY, Executive Director, World Food Program: Amna, always good to see you.
Thank you very much.
AMNA NAWAZ: As you well know, in your time at the helm at WFP, you visited dozens of countries.
You have seen firsthand as the global hunger crisis has only worsened.
In the Horn of Africa, we now know millions of people are facing famine.
Years of war and the U.S. departure from Afghanistan have led to widespread hunger there.
The war in Ukraine has further fueled all of this.
Is it fair to say there is more work for the agency to do in more places now than when you began?
DAVID BEASLEY: Amna, when I took this role six years ago, there were 80 million people marching towards starvation.
And I literally thought that we could put the World Food Program out of business because we could end severe food insecurity around the world.
Unfortunately, because of conflict after conflict, climate shocks, COVID economic disruption, Ukraine, and the list goes on, it's only getting worse and worse.
And now we're reaching over 160 million people on any given day, week and month.
And that number of 80 million is now 345 million people marching towards starvation.
And it's going to get worse because of food inflation, devaluation of the currency.
And I could go on and on.
The next 12 months are really going to be tough on the entire planet.
Eight billion people are going to be struggling if we don't resolve some of these issues now.
AMNA NAWAZ: As you prepare to leave this post, folks have been looking back at your time at the helm, and some have called you the money magnet, because the WFP raised $6 billion in the year that you took office.
Last year, that had more than doubled to over $14 billion.
Over your six years, they have raised a total of $55 billion.
That is astonishing.
So how did you do it?
(LAUGHTER) DAVID BEASLEY: Well, you see Democrats and Republicans in the United States, for example, fighting over everything, but, when it comes to food security, it's like the miracle on Pennsylvania Avenue.
On both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, the Republicans and Democrats have come together, because they understand the significance of bringing peace through food security around the world.
And, quite frankly, had we not spent that money, Amna, I can assure you that the cost would have been 1,000 times more because of not just starvation, but mass migration that would have resulted in destabilization of nations.
So it's money well spent to bring people hope in times of hopelessness.
And so we can't back down now.
Otherwise, you will pay a lot more.
AMNA NAWAZ: That's money from lawmakers and governments.
You have also been publicly calling for more of the world's richest people, individuals, to step up and do, as you say, what they have the power and the means to do.
You specifically even called out Elon Musk and said: I can help you spend that money.
You can end world hunger.
I have to ask you.
As you're preparing to step away, you have spoken to many of these people face to face.
What is it that you think is keeping them from acting in this way?
DAVID BEASLEY: I think it's several things.
I do think the problems we're facing around the world are quite extraordinary.
But, as I tell them, look, there's $400 trillion worth of wealth around the planet today, and your charity is not the long-term solution.
But we are in a crisis mode right now, and we need your help.
But, number two, I need your engagement.
Work with us to end hunger around the world.
You're putting rockets in space.
You have got Apple phones and iPhones and technology that's doing all these remarkable things now.
Let's use that ingenuity, so that we end starvation and hunger around the planet.
That's what I want you to do, because, working together, we can solve this problem.
And when you have got $400 trillion worth of wealth on the planet and the fact that anyone dies from hunger, a child, shame on us.
We can do better than this.
AMNA NAWAZ: Cindy McCain, the current U.S. ambassador to U.N. agencies in Rome, and, of course, the widow of the late senator John McCain, will be taking over for you.
What is one thing you wish you had known when you began that you have been able to offer her in the way of advice or guidance?
DAVID BEASLEY: Well, it's a heck of a commitment.
It really is.
This is not a 9:00-to-5:00 job.
It's seven days a week.
And Cindy and I have been working together tirelessly already.
Our transition teams are working together, so she hits the ground running.
There was so much that I didn't know.
And she comes in and actually knowing a lot more than I did when I came in.
And so I have no doubt that she will be able to take the reins and move the operation forward in a way that's needed.
I did what I needed to do for six years.
And I have no doubt she's the right person at the right time at a time like this.
And she has a capacity to bring Democrats and Republicans together in the United States.
We also get great support from Canada and other nations in the neighborhood, so to speak.
So she will be -- she will be tested in a lot of ways, but I have no doubt she will be able to do it.
As I have told her, stay focused.
Don't let the noise distract you.
Stay focused on what the poorest of the poor and the vulnerable people need.
And that will be a victory.
AMNA NAWAZ: David, I have got less than a minute left, but I have to ask.
Your background was in politics before you took this job.
You were, of course, South Carolina's governor in the '90s.
Do you see yourself going back into public office?
DAVID BEASLEY: Well, I have got two more weeks in this job.
I'm going to stay focused on doing -- doing that.
And then I'm looking forward to going home.
I have got now three grandchildren that I have really not spent any time with in the last couple of years.
So, I'm looking forward to spending some time.
And we will see what happens from there.
AMNA NAWAZ: We will see what happens, indeed.
In the meantime, David Beasley, the outgoing executive director of the World Food Program, thank you for joining us.
Always good to see you.
DAVID BEASLEY: Thank you.
Good to see you.
GEOFF BENNETT: In Iraq, it's hard to find a town, a neighborhood, a street, or a family that hasn't been touched by the U.S. invasion 20 years ago and its turbulent aftermath, but some parts of the country suffered especially hard under the repeated waves of violence, loss and trauma.
Special correspondent Simona Foltyn tells the story of the last two decades through the eyes and memories of two families.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Twenty years later, Dhahi Kareem still recalls his first encounter with American troops like it was yesterday.
DHAHI KAREEM, Resident of Iraq (through translator): The Americans came, and they wanted to buy something from my shop.
I refused to deal with them.
They attacked me and hit me here.
More than four or five soldiers attacked me.
I had a broken rib.
SIMONA FOLTYN: There's only a small scar left on his cheek from that incident, but the wounds left by the American invasion and its aftermath run deep in this community.
DHAHI KAREEM (through translator): We were hoping that, even if the matter ends with the occupation of the Americans, at least there will be a semblance of security, but, unfortunately, things only got worse and worse.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Dhahi originally hails from the Sunni area of Jurf Al Sakhar 50 miles south of the capital, Baghdad.
It's part of what used to be called the Triangle of Death, a cauldron of frequent attacks on American forces by armed groups, including by al-Qaida.
DHAHI KAREEM (through translator): It really was the Triangle of Death.
You left in the morning, and you didn't know if you'd come back home.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Dhahi was a low-level member of Saddam's Baath Party and initially supported the Sunni insurgency, before it was taken over by al-Qaida.
DHAHI KAREEM (through translator): In the beginning, there was strong sympathy with the resistance, when it wasn't yet al-Qaida, because they were hitting the Americans.
But the Americans had armored vehicles, so the biggest death toll was among the Iraqis.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Both Sunni and Shia civilians were caught in the middle.
Further south in the town of Twareej, we meet Jebel Abdel Amir.
He used to work as a minibus driver and often took passengers on the dangerous journey through the Triangle of Death.
JEBEL ABDEL AMIR, Resident of Iraq (through translator): There were so many victims in this area.
SIMONA FOLTYN: But one incident remains etched in his memory.
An American military convoy opened fire on his own family while they were driving down this road.
JEBEL ABDEL AMIR (through translator): We were driving very slowly.
The American soldier got angry at us.
He waved us away, and the one behind him opened fire.
SIMONA FOLTYN: His family sustained only minor injuries.
but it was another rude awakening that the so-called liberation wasn't going to simply end decades of brutality and hardship.
Twareej is a Shia town.
And many members of Jebel's extended family had opposed the Sunni dictator.
Jebel's wife, Suheila, lost five relatives to Saddam's repression.
She shows me a picture of her brother, who was arrested and executed in 1989.
SUHEILA SHAMKHI, Resident of Iraq (through translator): Here he is standing in the market with a friend.
This was one week before he was arrested.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Suheila initially welcomed the American invasion.
SUHEILA SHAMKHI (through translator): We thought the Americans would free us from Saddam, that, finally, we would get our rights.
But we haven't seen any benefit.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Regime change happened quickly, but there was no plan purposefully for the day after.
GEORGE W. BUSH, Former President of the United States: The United States and our allies have prevailed.
SIMONA FOLTYN: The Coalition Provisional Authority, the American governing body that took over the country, had little knowledge of Iraq.
In a misguided attempt to purge Saddam loyalists, it dismantled the Iraqi army and other state institutions.
Jebel served as a soldier in the army and was fired.
JEBEL ABDEL AMIR (through translator): The biggest mistake the Americans committed was to dissolve the military and state institutions, because those were the ones who controlled the streets and all matters.
Yes, it was a harsh system, but a system is nonetheless a system.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Extremists and insurgents, both Sunni and Shia, filled the security vacuum and mobilized against the occupiers.
They soon began turning on one another.
After the 2006 bombing of the Shia shrine in Samarra, the country descended into a violent sectarian civil war between Sunnis and Shias.
Hundreds of thousands were killed.
Mixed areas, like the town of Musayyib, where Dhahi now lives, saw the worst of it.
DHAHI KAREEM (through translator): If people were killed from one side, then people were killed from the other side.
Whether you had anything to do with it or not, you had to pay the price.
SIMONA FOLTYN: The sectarian war began to subside in 2008.
American troops withdrew in 2011.
But the forces that were unleashed in 2003 were not easily subdued.
Al-Qaida morphed into ISIS, and American troops returned in 2014 to take part in the war, when the jihadists conquered a third of Iraq's territory.
In the Triangle of Death and elsewhere in Iraq, ISIS' brutal reign reignited intercommunal tensions.
Three of Dhahi's cousins were kidnapped in 2014 and are still missing.
He blames Shia armed groups for their disappearance.
DHAHI KAREEM (through translator): They were innocent people who have no relations to politics or religion.
They were kidnapped just because they were Sunni.
SIMONA FOLTYN: The repeated cycles of violence caused massive waves of displacement, resulting in enduring demographic changes.
Dhahi's family fled their 12-acre farm in his original home area of Jurf Al Sakhar, located a short drive from here.
He hasn't been back since 2006.
DHAHI KAREEM (through translator): If I tried to return to my farm, I don't think I'd come back alive.
Entry to the area is forbidden.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Jurf Al Sakhar is now controlled by a powerful Shia armed group that mobilized against the American occupation.
It later fought ISIS as part of an umbrella of Shia-led paramilitaries that have since been integrated into the state security services.
Dhahi cannot cross this checkpoint.
We stop at a market just a few yards away.
Many of the men who work here are also displaced from Jurf Al Sakhar.
Their fate is part of the series of incidents that can be traced back to the invasion.
DHAHI KAREEM (through translator): This is one of the results of the American invasion.
The United States bears the responsibility.
SIMONA FOLTYN: The armed actors who rose up after 2003 later used their military might to consolidate their grip on politics and the economy.
Even after the violence subsided, ordinary Iraqis didn't taste the dividends of democracy.
Saddam's repressive dictatorship was replaced with a dysfunctional kleptocracy.
And little of Iraq's oil wealth trickled down to the population.
Jebel and Suheila are equally disappointed with Iraq's ruling elites.
JEBEL ABDEL AMIR (through translator): There are huge resources in Iraq, but, because of the corrupt elites, the people are not getting their share.
SIMONA FOLTYN: The couple have one daughter, Asma, and five sons, including Mohammed.
They struggled to find jobs until the war against ISIS raised the demand for young men.
Both Mohammed and another son, Ali, joined the Iraqi army.
It was the only chance to find a stable job.
MOHAMMED JEBEL, Resident of Iraq (through translator): The economy was doing poorly, and I didn't have a high school degree.
So, there was no other chance but to join the army.
SIMONA FOLTYN: Another war imposed another layer of loss and trauma.
Entire busloads of young men were shipped to the front lines in 2014.
The pictures of the fallen now line the streets of Twareej and other cities across Iraq.
Mohammed lost five of his colleagues when ISIS attacked their convoy.
MOHAMMED JEBEL (through translator): Most of my friends have died.
We were 31 in my sniper unit.
With one explosion, an entire Humvee was taken out.
SIMONA FOLTYN: ISIS was declared defeated in 2017, though sleeper cells continue to destabilize rural communities.
It is why some of the Shia paramilitaries say their continued presence in places like Jurf Al Sakhar is required.
Dhahi now lives on a much smaller plot of land he inherited from his late father.
He has given up hopes of reclaiming his farm.
DHAHI KAREEM (through translator): The situation will not stabilize.
The area was exposed to killing, dispossession, and many other problems.
SIMONA FOLTYN: For now, the guns have fallen silent.
But the repeated cycles of violence have irrevocably marked this community.
Iraq remains a fractured nation awash in weapons and still struggling to find peace.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Simona Foltyn south of Baghdad.
GEOFF BENNETT: And there's much more about the anniversary of the Iraq invasion online, including insights from foreign affairs correspondent Nick Schifrin about the challenges that young Iraqis are facing 20 years later.
That is on our TikTok account.
AMNA NAWAZ: Since starring in the hit sitcom "Fresh Off the Boat," Randall Park has become a familiar face on television and in some of Hollywood's biggest movies.
Now the Korean-American actor can also be found behind the camera.
He makes his directorial debut with "Shortcomings," which was acquired for distribution earlier this month.
I spoke with Park about the film, his long career, and the power of authentic storytelling as part of our arts and culture series, Canvas.
It was fitting for Randall Park to help produce his own interview... RANDALL PARK, Actor and Director: Soft sticks.
AMNA NAWAZ: ... now that the actor can add feature film director to his resume.
We spoke the day before the world premiere of his directorial debut called "Shortcomings" at the Sundance Film Festival.
How excited are you to see how audiences react to it?
RANDALL PARK: I'm terrified.
(LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: Terrified, that's the word?
RANDALL PARK: Well, it's like you put so much into something.
Everybody involved really recognized how special this project was and really put everything into it.
AMNA NAWAZ: The dramedy is based on a 2007 graphic novel of the same name by Japanese-American author and cartoonist Adrian Tomine.
It tracks the everyday life and romantic travails of Ben Tanaka, a cynical movie theater manager and wannabe filmmaker in the San Francisco Bay Area.
RANDALL PARK: He is highly opinionated, charming.
He's funny, but he's also a bit miserable.
AMNA NAWAZ: Fifteen years ago, then a struggling actor, Park discovered "Shortcomings" in a bookstore and was immediately pulled in.
RANDALL PARK: At the time, I was like, oh, I would love to play Ben.
AMNA NAWAZ: What was it about the story that spoke to you?
RANDALL PARK: It just felt like a real reflection of my life at that time.
It's not, like, filled with a lot of those of the common tropes that you see in Asian American stories, whether it be intergenerational conflict or a trip back to the motherland.
But this is really just people hanging out, eating at restaurants, arguing in apartments.
That's what it is.
And that's the kind of authenticity that excites me the most about it.
AMNA NAWAZ: Park says writer Adrian Tomine had pitched his screenplay of "Shortcomings" after the graphic novel was published.
There was some interest, but with a caveat.
So, 15 years ago, in order to make it palatable to a broader audience, characters would have had to be changed to white?
RANDALL PARK: That's what the industry was saying back then.
And this is such a -- it's a deeply Asian American story.
It makes no sense for that to be the case, but that's the way the industry was back then.
AMNA NAWAZ: Hollywood wasn't ready then, but Park played a role in changing the face of the industry.
(SINGING) AMNA NAWAZ: After years of bouncing from role to role, he was cast in a network comedy as Louis Huang, the Taiwanese patriarch in ABC's "Fresh Off the Boat."
Based on a memoir by celebrity chef, writer, and director Eddie Huang.
MAN: Your boy Eddie Huang.
AMNA NAWAZ: It was the first network sitcom starring an Asian American family in two decades, following Margaret Cho's groundbreaking 1994 show, "All-American Girl."
While critics, including Huang himself, accused "Fresh Off the Boat" of sanitizing the immigrant experience, it marked a turning point for the Asian American community, as Huang told our Jeffrey Brown back in 2016.
EDDIE HUANG, Author, "Fresh Off the Boat": We needed to get on base.
There wasn't a sitcom with Asians that you could watch anywhere on American television.
We didn't have representation.
And while a sitcom isn't the end-all/be-all of identity and representation in America, it's a big step.
AMNA NAWAZ: "Fresh Off the Boat" ran for six seasons and turbocharged some cast members' careers.
Constance Wu, who played Huang's mother, went on to star in 2018's megahit "Crazy Rich Asians."
CONSTANCE WU, Actor: You really should have told me that you're like the Prince William of Asia.
HENRY GOLDING, Actor: That's ridiculous.
I'm much more of a Harry.
(LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: Park has since become a red carpet fixture, juggling a range of roles, co-writing and starring in the Netflix rom-com "Always Be My Maybe" Ali Wong.
RANDALL PARK: Yes, yes, very long time.
AMNA NAWAZ: And stepping into the blockbuster superhero world with recurring roles in both the D.C. and Marvel Cinematic Universes.
The years of work proving there was an audience for these stories paid off.
Park and Tomine joined forces to pitch "Shortcomings" the movie, and succeeded.
RANDALL PARK: My goal is to just tell a specific story about very specific characters and hope that that some people like it.
AMNA NAWAZ: Just some people?
RANDALL PARK: Or a little more than some.
(LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: Despite his many successes, Park says he still sees himself as a just another working actor.
Is that from, like, an early career mind-set or just the way you are?
RANDALL PARK: I think of it kind of as a -- almost as a protective mechanism.
Don't celebrate something too much because lows are inevitable and the highs are possible, but the lows are inevitable.
That's just life, I guess.
And, in a way, I think its made me dead inside.
(LAUGHTER) RANDALL PARK: I'm playing.
But, in a way, it has made me very -- you know, very much focused on the work.
AMNA NAWAZ: Park has directed before, including the series finale of "Fresh Off the Boat," but "Shortcomings," he says, was different.
RANDALL PARK: It was kind of life-changing in a lot of ways.
I felt very much in my skin.
Acting has always been a source of joy, but this was rewarding in a way that I never felt before with acting.
AMNA NAWAZ: Starring Justin H. Min, Sherry Cola, Ally Maki, the film also features a mostly Asian American cast.
RANDALL PARK: When I first started, there - - I think there was still this sense of, there can only be one, because, if you looked at a show, there was always just one, not just Asians, but any kind of minority group.
And now I feel like, just seeing how things have changed and interacting with these young actors, I just feel this sense of real community and camaraderie.
AMNA NAWAZ: They're not yet dead inside.
(LAUGHTER) RANDALL PARK: They're full of life and joy.
AMNA NAWAZ: And they're part of a project Park hopes will allow stories from the full spectrum of Asian American life to emerge.
RANDALL PARK: When you're traditionally underrepresented, and there is a scarcity of narratives about your group, the instinct is, oh, we have to tell the idealized version of ourselves.
You know, we have to be heroes.
And those stories need to be told, but I really think that, when you're being dehumanized, it's nice to show portrayals that are humanized.
And humanized means human, which means complex.
AMNA NAWAZ: And messy.
RANDALL PARK: Messy, making mistakes, sometimes making the same mistakes over and over again, like we all do.
And that's what I'm most proud about when it comes to this movie.
It's very real, because that's a real reflection of me, you know?
GEOFF BENNETT: Join us again here tomorrow night, where we will have a look at health care challenges in rural America.
And that's the "NewsHour" for tonight.
I'm Geoff Bennett.
AMNA NAWAZ: And I'm Amna Nawaz.
On behalf of the entire "NewsHour" team, thank you for joining us.