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Below is Colonel Allen West’s speech at the Freedom Center’s Wednesday Morning Club on October 21, 2011. He is first introduced by David Horowitz. To see the video of the introduction and speech, click here.
David Horowitz: Colonel Allen West, one of the bravest and wisest members of Congress, and already — even though he’s only a freshman still — a leading voice in the Republican Party.
Colonel West is also the number-one congressman the Democratic National Committee has targeted for defeat. In the coming national election, which promises to be the ugliest in our lifetime, he will be a prime focus of the Democrats’ incoming fire.
Have you noticed that the Republicans most viciously targeted by the Democrats are women and blacks? There’s a reason for that. Democrats will tell you that it is because they care about women and blacks. But that just tells you what you already know — that Democrats are hypocrites and liars.
Democrats control the school systems of every major inner city in America, from Harlem to Detroit to South Central Los Angeles. They control them 100 percent and have for more than 50 years. There is no greater oppressor of poor black and Hispanic Americans than those responsible for these failing schools. Democrats run them as a jobs program for adults and a cash cow for their leftwing union base. Every year, the lives of millions of poor black and Hispanic children are destroyed by the Democrats who run these schools and fail to teach in their classrooms. But Republicans are too polite to mention it.
Democrats view politics as war conducted by other means, a fact that Allen West is the only Republican I have known to recognize. Democrats view women and blacks as cannon fodder in their war. They are not ends in themselves, but a means to power.
If Democrats lost just 10 or 20 percent of the black vote nationally, they would lose virtually every state in the Union. That’s why they hate and fear Colonel West. They hate him because he is black, and they fear him because he will not fold under fire.
Democrats have stamped everyone in this country with a racial or gender tag, doled out privileges on the basis of the tags, and deployed the so-called race card as a weapon of choice. “Race card” is a euphemism for the reflexive racism that is the Democrats’ first and last resort.
Republicans respond by pretending not to notice race. Or gender, for that matter. The Republican Party of California does not have a single female elected official. How politically obtuse is that? Why are there so few black elected officials in the Republican Party? Because Republicans think that they are above noticing race or gender and make no sustained effort to recruit blacks or women. That would be acting like Democrats.
Well, politically speaking, if you want to understand the art of political combat, study the Democrats. They are very good at it. Democratic attacks are always directed at rich, white Americans and their Republican defenders, and are always conducted on behalf of poor Americans and minorities, particularly black Americans, the victims.
Here’s why Democrats are terrified of an articulate black Republican like Colonel West, who will not be intimidated by their racist tactics. He will blow their cover and destroy their game.
I loved it when Colonel West joined the Congressional Black Caucus, uninvited.
In effect, he said — you’ve got a race club, and I’m the correct race, so here I am.
Until that moment, the Congressional Black Caucus was a group of extremist left-wingers, which said to Americans the Left cares about black people, and the Democrats represent black people, and Republicans don’t. In one gesture, Colonel West blew the lid off this charade and said — well, no. Actually, black people can make up their own minds, just like everyone else. And this black man understands that Democrats are bad news for African Americans, as they are for all Americans.
In an event last night, Colonel West pointed out that the head of the Congressional Black Caucus recently said that if Obama, a black Democrat, wasn’t in the White House, they would be marching on Washington. Why? Because while the nation is suffering from a disgraceful 9 percent unemployment rate, as Colonel West pointed out, 17 percent of black Americans are out of work — 20 percent of black males and 45 percent of black teenagers. Obama and the Democrats have pursued policies that have devastated the black community. But most Republicans are too proper, too above-it-all, to mention that black America has suffered more from Democratic policies than any other group; that Democrats’ policies have racial consequences.
Republicans are very good at talking about the current economic crisis in terms of numbers and ratios and deficits. But they are very poor at talking about it in terms of the people that Democratic policies hurt. They know that the subprime mortgage crisis was created by Bill Clinton and Barney Frank, and Obama’s ACORN criminals. That’s a good beginning.
But what about the victims? Who are the number-one victims of the Democratic housing tsunami? They are poor, largely black and Hispanic Americans who were snookered into buying homes they couldn’t afford, and then lost them. How traumatic is that?
But even worse is the devastation visited on the black middle class. If you are rising on the economic ladder in America, your chief investment is your home. That’s where your money is. And because of the mortgage crisis created by Bill Clinton, Barney Frank and Obama’s ACORN, home values have dropped 30 percent. In this crisis, middle-class African Americans have lost $100 billion. Democrats don’t want any Republicans, and especially articulate black Republicans, telling black America that.
I’ve introduced many speakers on this platform, and many elected officials, but none who’ve inspired me or given me such confidence in the American future as Allen West. Colonel West was born into a military family in Atlanta, Georgia, the home of Martin Luther King. Four generations of the West family have served in the United States military, defending our country.
Colonel West joined the army after graduating from the University of Tennessee, and also has a master’s degree in political science from Kansas State. In the army, he was a member and training officer in the 325th Airborne Battalion Combat Team, and then assigned to the First Infantry Division, where he was a commanding officer in the 6th Field Artillery Regiment.
During this service, he was promoted to captain and was then deployed to Iraq during the Gulf War, where he participated in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He returned to the United States to participate in the Reserve Officers Training Program and was named ROTC Instructor of the Year in 1993. He was then assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division and promoted to major. He was then made the executive officer of the 377th Field Artillery Regiment. In 2002, he was promoted to colonel and made a battalion commander in the 4th Infantry Division. He was then deployed to Iraq for the final battle against Saddam Hussein and his monster regime.
While in Iraq, Colonel West was nearly court-martialed for attempting to pry information out of an Iraqi police officer who was suspected by an intelligence specialist of participating in a plot to ambush Colonel West and his men. Colonel West’s crime was using rough methods to get information which might save the lives of his men. This included the charge that he fired his weapon next to the man’s head and threatened to kill him, a method which immediately produced the information.
Colonel West was eventually fined $5,000 by his own government for the incident and retired after 22 years of service. At his hearing, Colonel West was asked if he would act differently if the same circumstances came up again. He said — if it’s the lives of my soldiers at stake, I would go through hell with a gasoline can.
The most important characteristic of a political leader is his moral fiber. If our leaders can’t stand up under fire, if they won’t protect us and our country, we are lost.
Allen West was nearly court-martialed during a Republican administration, which was already folding under the attacks from the Left. After voting for the war, the Democratic Party turned against it and conducted a five-year scorched-earth campaign against our men and women in arms. They portrayed their own country as an aggressor without principle and their Commander-in-Chief as evil — a man who launched a war for no reason and lied to get hundreds of thousands of men and women killed. The Democrats accused their country of wantonly murdering Iraqi civilians and of deceiving the American people to lure them into a war against an adversary who was no threat. And no Republican fought back.
The Commander-in-Chief remained silent and never defended himself. The Democratic saboteurs who conducted a psychological warfare campaign against their own military and their own country, who called their commander a traitor and their military personnel torturers and killers, got away with it, with no consequences.
With leaders on the one side who will attack our country and on the other who will not defend it, we are lost. We have a long way to go and a lot to make up to get back to an America that we can be proud of, to an America that is proud of itself. If there are men and women who can lead us back and restore our nation, Colonel Allen West is certainly one of them and is a model to others and to all of us.
Allen West: Thank you. Thank you so much.
You know, it is really an honor to be here. And, you know, having gone to the University of Tennessee, and now being in Beverly Hills, I kind of understand how Jed Clampett felt when he finally got to move to Beverly Hills.
This is special. Because four years ago this time, I was packing up my gear, getting ready to end a two-and-a-half-year assignment in Afghanistan down at Qandahar. Here today, I’m standing before you all, here in Beverly Hills. And I just want to tell you — that is a testimony to the greatness and exceptionalism of the United States of America. Because parents who were born in 1920 and 1931 in South Georgia probably never thought that their young son, who was born in 1961 in that inner city, would ever have the opportunity to be here at the Four Seasons Hotel, speaking to such a distinguished group of Americans here in the city, which everyone recognizes as the capital of the entertainment industry of the world. So, that’s what we must never forget, is the greatness of this nation.
But today, we’re here to talk about — how do we secure the greatness of this nation? And I want to thank Mike so much for bringing me here to the Horowitz Freedom Center, to have this opportunity to speak to you all. And I just want to understand one simple thing — the moxie that it takes to make an ideological pivot, which is what Mr. David Horowitz did. To sit now and be such a strong champion of conservative values, to publicly denounce the things that you once stood passionately for — that’s not easy. Because now he has taken on that great liberal establishment in places where its foothold is the strongest.
But I know one simple thing about Mr. David Horowitz — that he is committed to ensuring that our young people — the future of this United States of America, these great states, this great Constitutional republic — enjoy the freedom, and decide for themselves what they can believe in. And he recognizes how crucially important it is that our schools and universities be places that are wholly and deeply welcoming for all perspectives, and not just those of the Left, the center Left and far Left.
So David, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for what you’re doing.
Before I get started, I want to give everyone a framework about our discussion today about national security. Cuts to military [in strength] — today, the United States Army has 569,400 soldiers. With the force budgets that we put in place, about $478 billion over the next 10 years, that will take the military, the army, down to 481,000. If the Super Committee does not do their job, it will take the United States Army down to 426,000. The United States Marine Corps today sits at 202,000 Marines. Under the current force structure and budget cuts, they will go down to 173,000. If the Super Committee does not do their job, they will go down to 145,000.
In 1990, the Army had 172 combat maneuver battalions. Today, we have 100. Under the current funding, we will go to 78. If the Super Committee does not do their job, we go down to 60 to 70.
Naval warships — in 1990, 546. Today, we have 285. We’re going to go down to 263. And if the Super Committee fails to do their job, we will go down to 238.
United States Air Force fighters — 4,355 in 1990. Today, we have 1,990. We could go down to 1,512. Strategic bombers — in 1990, we had 282. If the Super Committee fails to do their job, we will go down to 101. Strategic and tactical airlift — in 1990, we had 872; with the current funding, 572. And if the Super Committee fails to do its job, we will go down to 494.
Those numbers are what is happening in the United States of America when we talk about our national security. And for those of you that don’t know, I do sit on the House Armed Services Committee. I sit on two subcommittees — the Military Personnel and Emerging Threats and Capabilities, which does have the oversight of our Special Operations forces.
So with that being said, came here to talk to you about what I think is still the most important issue for the United States of America. And that’s our national security. How do we stand strong in the face of internal and external threats that seek to tear us down? There are those who are uncomfortable talking about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. But I think it’s critical that we have that conversation.
You see, our enemies believe that the things which make us great — they think it actually makes us weak. They see us as tolerant, pluralistic and inclusive. And they believe that those values will be our undoing. If we avoid mentioning the dangers we face for fear we’ll offend someone, then we let our oppressors win. Because when tolerance becomes a one-way street, it will lead to cultural suicide. And if we continue to show them that they’re right — and that we are weak and unable to defend ourselves — then we are not holding true to our American way.
We must not fall prey to the need of being PC, politically correct, to those who are morally devoid. Instead, we must demonstrate that we can still be strong when it comes to protecting those principles and values for which we stand — that we are doubly capable of rooting out evil and bringing it to justice. Our values animate us and give us the legitimacy that allows us to exist in this republic — and that far from bringing about the downfall of this great experiment in democracy that we call America, those are the reasons why we thrive.
We must be ever-vigilant, for there will always be those who are seeking to bring about our destruction. And for us to believe otherwise would be foolish, and totally unbefitting of what we tend to be, which is a superpower.
But vigilance requires realism on our parts — not blowing the threat of terrorism out of proportion, but accepting it for what it is — a very real danger to our cherished way of life. There should be no question whatsoever on the lips of the world about America’s commitment to eradicating evil. And it must be absolute.
And the first step in combating evil is being honest with ourselves about the scale of that which we are facing and who’s behind it. We have to now understand that it is an Islamic totalitarianism, a great black cloud that stains our age, and it’s up to us to rise to the occasion of defeating it. We must come to the grips with a theocratic political ideology that is fundamentally the antithesis to our American principles, way of life, and our values.
In our Declaration of Independence, it says — we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights — among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And if we fail to protect the first of these rights, we fail to protect them all. Because without your life, there is no other safeguard that will matter. And that is why national security is, and must remain, America’s number-one priority.
And we have to do a better job in supporting our men and women on this present 21st century battlefield. That means not just with bumper stickers, but with proper funding and supplies, with assistance for their families, with high-quality healthcare when they’re injured, and with good-paying jobs for them when they come home, when their tours of duty are complete. Because an 11.7 percent unemployment rate for our veterans is unacceptable. It is reprehensible, and we should not allow that to happen.
It is easy in the aftermath of conflict periods to become complacent, to lose sight of the reason for investing in our troops. And we have seen this play out in our history. We have seen it after the World Wars. We saw it after the Cold War. And we’re again seeing it today. We spend and spend as the wars rage on, and then watch as our military atrophies for the lack of funding as soon as they’re over. We cannot continue with the practice that I call the peaks and valleys of military readiness, where we try to ramp up for an operation and then, as soon as we believe that that operation’s complete, we look to the military to be the bill-payers for the fiscal irresponsibility of this nation. And we put their readiness and their preparedness at stake. That type of thinking cannot be any more misguided.
The bottom line is this — if you wait until your forces are called upon to fight before you think about their needs, then the war is already over. You’ve already lost it. Our servicemen and -women are the very embodiment of everything that’s right about America. And after 22 years of serving beside them, after having a father who served in World War II, an older brother who served in Vietnam, and a nephew who is serving now, I think I know a little bit about the steel and the spines of the American fighting man and woman.
The young people who comprise the armed forces of the United States are, without a doubt, today the strongest and most competent soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and coastguardsmen the world has ever known. They serve willingly and with valor. And they are imminently deserving of our gratitude and our support. As long as we are faithful to the cause and to those who fight it, as long as we recognize what we are up against and resolve that we will not be defeated, there’s no doubt in my mind — and should not be any doubt in any of your minds — that we will come out on top. Because there’s a resiliency in the American fighting spirit that cannot be broken, even in the face of the impossible.
We are a nation that was forged in the heat of a revolution, that has truly been through hell and back, that has been through civil wars, world wars, regional combat conflicts. But the flame of our fighting spirit continues to burn as bright as ever. Even through the darkest days and the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil, we somehow rose to that challenge. And that is why I have great faith in our ability to weather any storm. Because that is, after all, the American way.
But for some, that means just weapons and ammunition. But what I have to tell you today — it means strategic foresight. American troops, when you study our history, have never lost at the tactical level on the ground. But if we do not have leaders that can provide for them well thought-out objectives, they can win every single battle, but we will still lose the war in the end. For those who served in Vietnam, they can tell you that is exactly what happened.
So let me ask you a question — when was the last time you heard anyone, any leader, over the past 10 years or so, say — these are our strategic objectives as we prosecute this war? War on terror is a horrible misnomer. Terror is a tactic. A nation cannot fight a tactic. But yet, we are [ruttle a ship]. Because when you read the most recent national security strategy coming out of the Obama Administration, it talks more about global warming, and it never mentions radical Islamism, jihadism or violent Muslim extremism. It wants our soldiers and sailors and airmen and marines to fight the weather.
See, the problem is you haven’t heard that. You haven’t heard anyone talk about this new 21st century battlefield, which is so different from the battlefield that I participated on in 1991 as a young captain in Desert Shield-Desert Storm. We have to recognize the emergence of the non-state, non-uniform belligerent that does not respect borders and boundaries. We have to understand that we must move away from a Cold War-era forward-deployed military, and get back toward a power projection military that can go into all of these geographic areas of responsibility and deny the enemy sanctuary, to cut off his flow of men, material, resources and supplies. It means that we have to go back to those numbers that I gave you first and foremost.
And we’ve got to do something that we have not done since the collapse of the Soviet Union. We’ve got to go geographic area of responsibility by geographic area of responsibility, and look at the requirements that are necessary based upon an analysis of the enemy and an intelligence assessment that sets our capability and our capacity for the next 20 to 30 years.
But I can tell you, that’s not what happened after the collapse of the Soviet Union. When you read things like Francis Fukuyama, who wrote that this is the end of the world as we know it in all type of ideological conflict — he had it absolutely wrong. If you had instead read Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” — Huntington had it right. But yet, once again, we saw the military as the bill-payer of such things such as midnight basketball.
We have to get away from nation-building and occupation-style warfare, and understand that it’s the strategic mobility and maneuverability that is the strength of these great United States of America and our military, so that we can then be in those places where the enemy is not suspecting us to be, and we can strike him quickly, and we can pull back. On this modern-day battlefield, we don’t have any need to think that it’s our responsibility to rebuild. Because that’s not what this enemy understands nor respects. They understand strength, they understand you going in, they understand you kicking his tail and then being ready to kick his tail again. That is what strategic-level thinkers need to be considering.
We need to look at our rules of engagement. When we have rules of engagement that say we cannot engage the enemy until he shows you some hostile intent — well, having been in a few firefights, in two to three seconds, someone starts to lose their life. And if you’re telling our fighting men and women that they have to wait those two to three seconds, that they have to wait for this enemy to show that he is a bad guy, that he has hostile intent, then we do not have the initiative on this battlefield. We have to have the rules of engagement that allow our men and women to be able to be successful on the battlefield, and be on the offense. Because you don’t win on the defense.
It means that we must starting sitting back and looking at all of these different countries. We must look at Iran and understand that we’ve been at war with Iran since they took our hostages, that Iran is the one that is the number-one state sponsor of terrorism. They are the center of this Islamic totalitarianism. And the fact that now we have had a President that says we’re going to zero out our combat force in Iraq — I can tell you that Muqtada al-Sadr, the Mahdi Army, are just waiting for 1 January. And it will be a bloodbath.
We have to understand that now the Kurds in Northern Iraq will once again look and say — we’ve been abandoned for the second time, just the same as we did after Desert Shield-Desert Storm. That affects your credibility as a strategic superpower.
We need to look at Afghanistan and Pakistan, and understand that you will never have a secure Afghanistan until you contend with the enemy that has sanctuaries over in Pakistan. The Hikani network is now far more powerful than al-Qaeda is. And we know where their sanctuaries are. If they don’t respect the borders and boundaries, then we must not, either. And the ISI are not on our side. But yet, we continue to spend and send $3 billion of aid over to a Pakistan which really is deteriorating into a radical Islamist state.
We have to look at China and understand that we are already in an economic war with China. When you have a China that owns 27 percent of your national debt, that affects your foreign policy, that affects your national security. And the trade and balance that China now has is not going towards building up a better infrastructure, the standard of living for the Chinese citizen. Just recently, their first aircraft carrier rolled out. Their strategic air force is being built. And a lot of that technology they’re starting to get from us, even.
We have to understand that China poses an economic threat to us which will eventually become a military threat. Because, don’t forget — when was the last time a major Asian nation invested in its naval force? I think we all remember what happened then.
We must understand that Russia is still more so Soviet Union than it is a modern Russia. And if you are to be fooled, Vladimir Putin is still KGB.
We must understand that you have a Stalinist regime in North Korea. But once again, they are able to act out and continue to have international extortion because they believe that China has their back. And as long as China owns 27 percent of our debt, they will continue to act out. We must understand that Taiwan is very nervous about the military growth and development of China.
We must understand in Egypt that since Hosni Mubarak has been deposed, nothing has gone right in Egypt. Ask the Coptic Christians. Ask Israel what is happening. The number-one strongest political entity in Egypt is the Muslim Brotherhood. A lot of people are cheering today about Muammar Khadafi losing his life. But what happens next? Someone tell me, where are the chemical weapons, the biological weapons, the 30,000 shoulder-fired [man pas] that are missing from that country? My concern is that somehow they will make it through Egypt, and the next thing you know, they’ll be over in Gaza Strip.
We must look at Syria and understand that that is still a satellite of Iran. And they do not want to see that fall. Because so goes Syria, then so may affect that link to Hezbollah.
We have to look at what is happening south of our border, in Mexico. Illegal immigration is a national security issue. Because there are certain elements that are coming across our border that are not favorable to us. And we know that Iran was working with drug cartels to execute this assassination in Washington, D.C. And the drug cartels are getting stronger and stronger.
We must be concerned about Venezuela, and the influence that they are having in South America, as well as the alliances that they are developing with Iran. We must be concerned about Turkey. Prime Minister Erdogan is taking that country down the road of being a radical Islamist. And the deteriorating relations that we see between Turkey and Israel should cause us a lot of concern.
We must be worried about Yemen and Somalia. Because we are playing whack-a-mole with this enemy, who will always try to establish himself anywhere that he can find a volatile, unstable situation.
We must understand that a threat to freedom anywhere is a threat to freedom everywhere. And freedom is under attack every day on faraway streets. We have to be fearless in our support of our closest ally in the Middle East, which is the modern-day state of Israel. Because anything less —
Anything less will weaken Israel, and there are threats from all sides. Israel and America are united by a common enemy — this Islamic totalitarianism and terrorism. And our shared commitment of liberty and freedom, and freedom of worship and democracy, are what brings us together. But I am concerned, when you look at Gaza Strip and you see what happens with Hamas and Hezbollah. Because the UN Mandate 1701 is not being strictly enforced. So now you have 50,000 rockets and missiles that are stationed in Southern Israel, all pointed south toward Israel — Southern Lebanon, I’m sorry — pointed toward Israel.
And I must admit there’s an incredible precedent that has been established, when you trade one soldier for 1,037 terrorists. If the recidivism rate is 10 percent, think about what that brings about. We have now told a terrorist organization that a modern-day nation state is willing to go into negotiations. That is not a good thing. What happens if they get two soldiers next time?
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