'This Week' Exclusive: Ben Affleck on the Congo

Ben Affleck and Rep. Adam Smith discuss renewed violence in Central Africa.
6:46 | 11/25/12

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Transcript for 'This Week' Exclusive: Ben Affleck on the Congo
You see Ben Affleck right there are pursuing an Austrian passion ending the violence bringing real development. For the long suffering people of the eastern Congo in Africa that war flared again this week with the rebels taking over much of the country. And Ben Affleck is here with us today along -- democratic congressman Adam Smith of Washington ranking member of the house armed services committee and then thanks. For coming in you've been working the eastern Congo for many many years and one of the things we saw. This week was rebels sort of marching through the country what are you hearing from -- people on the ground. Well I'm and one of the things -- here Smart people there is that that the schools that we find people are hiding out in the hospitals are completely overwhelmed offering free care for war victims that showed just -- -- -- and paralyzed the five year old boy from. From the -- doubts they hear all kinds the kinds of brutal terrible stuff that you hear about this where's -- taken millions of lives of millions of indecent this -- -- since 96 and then nine DA a conservative estimates -- that three million people have died which is a hard. Number two imagines you can imagine this is happening in Western Europe it would be you know galactic event that people be -- -- paying a lot of attention to but -- and central East Africa where it's hard to get to occupy -- people feel it's somewhat removed -- -- -- Earlier this week he sent -- -- urging the US to insist. On a cease fire what more can the US do right now that we're not doing there's a huge. Not that that the US can do frankly I mean we have a lot of levers there we can engage in the kind of high level shuttle diplomacy that you saw be so effective in Gaza. Ambassador rice and our representative to the United Nations -- nation manages a 171000. Peacekeeper. Agency called -- -- which we -- on the hook for 400 million of their billion dollar plus. We can engage in it -- got me and was seven in Camilla it in a high enough level way that they really -- -- -- some. Isn't that happening what we have a lot of influence of the average respondent sites that we are positioned to make a difference that we have built relationships with you've -- to -- one Ethiopia Kenya. A lot of that around Somalia -- should Bob Lord's Resistance Army coming out of Uganda. We how to influence in the region with key players. We need to get there in that type of high level capacity and I think it isn't happening at the moment because the attention -- else it's Gaza it's Libya. But look it's all tied together in Africa the instability in countries -- -- the lack of government -- in the eastern Congo. Leads to instability in leads the type of problems we're gonna have to deal with -- in our interest to get in their broker peace -- One of the things we've seen -- you talk about the UN peacekeeping mission 171000. Troops there but their mandate is protect civilians not to engage the rebels you have this is the scenes this week -- -- standing by as the really can't -- -- -- -- Yet they opted to sidestep this conflict there quite controversial there factor quite unpopular in Congo larger than accusing his size and content and and -- -- of abuse but I think -- United States you know. When when when we had issues that were important to us we sent John Kerry to -- we sent Bill Richardson -- that -- -- it was North Korea. General Powell folks like that that's a level of engagement I think we need to step up to this. What we're seeing here this rebel group taking in a city of a million people. Carving this area into fiefdoms. Kind of imposing terror there precipitated in the past exactly what we saw that cost. Three million lives and topics related. And we have -- conditions staying away we've actually been involved there US military trained -- -- police battalion. -- proven very effective to just one -- we need to be in there it's all about security forces they don't have the security forces in that region. So rebels from all manner different places prey on the population if we could work actively to train security forces bring stability -- rule of law. It can make an enormous to. Interest -- to say that quickly anecdotally we had some our our people from BCI lost their car in a ditch which happens frequently in the army guys pulled out. And they thought you know to help get them out I thought you know here we go it's going to be bribery and the whole issue they brought the car -- -- Wave -- -- had no problem turned out that was the unit that the united fiftieth and one unit and army so these this progress is. As possible and as you know I mean this this country was the subject of the single piece of legislation that -- Obama sponsored while he was in the US that he's not. Unaware of this and -- appreciate all good things that. He's doing but this past the -- -- there's also more that the private sector renamed Congo is a wealthy countries -- so many ways lots of -- critical minerals come from -- US companies are supposed to ensure. That those minerals aren't coming from rebel held areas is that working. On the -- his -- that should be at least gives us the chance to get beyond these sort of underground economy to a legitimate economy that's big sport this is a region of the world that is resource rich economically critical. A huge opportunity the United States and -- United States businesses. -- do -- business to open up trade opportunities. China is very actively engaged in that region -- actively engaged in a very mercenary way. And they pay whoever they have to pay to get the minerals out if we can bring greater stability is a huge economic opportunity for us to take advantage out. I'm for our benefit as walls for the benefit of the people want -- And it also creates the conditions for sustainable -- which which you've been trying to work on with your nation -- grow more cocoa and other crops that they can actually help. The people on the ground but is that possible and under these conditions. Well I think we still have people as you mentioned that we still have our farmers growing -- -- -- amazing thing about the Congolese people is -- -- degree of resilience that they've been through this kind of stuff. In the past and so they're still. Dedicated and working hard and we've -- that our schools to open hospitals and and so on. But naturally it's an impediment to to growth and -- and I think one of the dangers his is that you -- this particular issue of this revolutionary group. -- this has to happen after being OK that's dealt with. Really the systemic issue here is security sector reform and that's something that the United States can really have an impact on. Largely through diplomacy we don't have to spend a lot of money to lean on the Congolese government to say you've got to pay of soldiers got develop a culture. Soldiering where the where these units are protecting the civilians rather than being predators and and that's the kind of thing that we need to get to -- -- Possible to -- the roundtable talk about the president's second term agenda you're saying that this is something else for a second term. Absolutely I think this is critical to you know people talk about. You know what what these issues are from a national security point of view from from economic point of view. I think our actions and foreign policy and maybe I'm naive. Who represent our values represent who we are if any American would go to that country and Tennessee was happening there they would insist that we. Do what we could it's a huge humanitarian crisis -- and certainly isn't the -- to finish like something. Thank you -- thank you very much and now we honor our fellow Americans who serve and sacrifice. This week the Pentagon released the names of three soldiers and Marines killed in Afghan. -- and.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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