The quotes and excerpts of Lara Logan’s speech don’t really properly capture it the way that watching the video does. This is an emotional speech and it’s unusual because it’s been a while since we’ve heard anyone talk like this. It’s a speech that takes us back ten years to the early days of the War on Terror. And those ideas are apparently a core part of what she believes.
Lara Logan’s theme is that abandoning Afghanistan will turn it back over into a base for Islamic terrorists. And in between advocating serious engagement with Afghanistan and blasting the refusal to talk about Pakistan’s role in Al Qaeda, she slips in the occasional dangerous unexplored idea about the nature of the enemy.
Here’s the full video along with some important excerpts.
“It’s amazing to me that we are still comparing Afghanistan to Vietnam.
“The Viet Cong didn’t care what you did when you went back to America. The Viet Cong didn’t fight for an Islamic caliphate. The Viet Cong didn’t fight a global struggle. It’s amazing to me that we constantly ignore … what all these groups tell us every day in their own in their own statements.”
“They share something. They share an idea. Al Qaeda is not an organization. You don’t have to have a membership card or badge… this is terrorism, it is a completely and utterly different fight from anything we have faced in our history.”
“Our way of life is under attack and if you think that’s government propaganda, if you think that’s nonsense, if you think that’s warmongering, you’re not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight.”
“In your arrogance, you think you write the script, but you don’t. There’s two sides and we don’t dictate the terms. In fact after eleven years of war in Afghanistan, we’re rushing for the exits as fast as we can, not only do we not dictate the terms, but we have less power to dictate anything on the world stage.”
“Ambassador Ryan Crocker said, ‘We’ve killed all the slow and stupid ones. The ones that are left are more committed and they didn’t become any kinder or gentler in the last eleven years.’
“‘Another thing he said. We think we’ve won the campaign and they haven’t even begun to fight.’”
“If you fail to identify the ideological component to this fight, if you fail to identify what your enemy is really fighting for, if you lie about who they really are, I don’t see how you can possibly have the right strategy.”
“There’s a narrative coming out of Washington, much of it driven by Pakistani lobbying money and by Taliban apologists. One of my favorite things to read about is how the Taliban today is so unlike the Taliban of 2001, they’re a more moderate, gentler kinder Taliban who just can’t wait to see women in the workplace occupying an equal role in society and great economic prosperity for all of Afghanistan and they don’t really want to take us back 3,000 years into that terrible place I witnessed.”
“And when I look at what’s happening in Libya, this big song and dance, whether this was a terrorist attack or a protest, and you just want to scream for god’s sake, are you kidding me, the last time we were attacked like this was the USS Cole which was a prelude to the 1998 embassy bombings which was a prelude to 9/11. And you’re sending FBI to investigate. I hope you’re sending in your best clandestine warriors who will go in to exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil, that its ambassadors will not be murdered and that the United States will not do nothing about it.”