Obama Reflects on Vietnam War, Veterans Who Served

The president says the American men and women who served "put their lives on the line."
4:28 | 09/08/16

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Transcript for Obama Reflects on Vietnam War, Veterans Who Served
Bob order. You Mr. President didn't precisely you know them as norm personal question for you we are. Almost the same exact age born August 1961. Two weeks jump in the new. You know I notice that when we're in the gym together you were working level harder than. Those are really earlier America difference. But I'll ask you of that some thoughts all those years ago since we were living in those cases Vietnam era. What are your thoughts about Vietnam the war at that time it's certainly as time went on. More importantly about the secret war when you found out about that and also as time went by. Do you think he should apologize fully to the country why else. And one other very important thing too is for those American veterans who did serve in the secret war those that are. Special ops CIA certainly. Pilots to drop the bombs. Those the ones that targeted known enemies. In a war they did not create. Would you be comfortable in White House calling them heroes as we do with those that served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Well because we're the same measure we're call that. Serve at the peak of the war we were still too young. I think to fully understands the scope of what was taking place. It was the tail end of the war where. Were in high school and starting to understand. The meaning of it but at that point. It was. That's I think the debate had raged. Even those who have been strong supports the war recognize there needed to be some mechanism to bring it to an end. And so it's like cancer and also precocious that I had deep thoughts about it at the time other than the images that we also on television. Standing here now in retrospect. I think. What I can say is that. The United States. Was on the right side of history when it came to the Cold War. There may have been moments particularly here in southeast Asia in which in our singular focus on. Defeating. OK and expansionist. And very aggressively. Communism that. We. I didn't think through all the implications. What we did. As policy makers. And certainly. You know when you see. The drop in your cluster bombs. Trying to figure out how. That was going to be effective. Particularly since part of the job was to win over hearts and minds. How that was gonna work. Coming. With the benefit of hindsight. You know we have to serve it. A lot of those consequences we're not ones that. Necessarily. Serve our interest. Having said that ups and I've said this before. Regardless. What happens. In the White House and decisions made by policy makers. When our men and women in uniform. Go and action and put their lives on the line and are carrying out their duty. My attitude is there always yours. Because. They are. They are saying that I am willing to do. Whatever it tapes. What my commander in chief has order. In order to keep the American people say and by definition. They're job is to. Put their lives on the line and make sacrifices. Both seen and unseen that. Have long standing around ramifications and and and that act of sacrifice is is. Heroic.

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

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