Moving America Forward

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The world isn’t less dangerous; it’s more dangerous. It’s more complicated. The Russians just dumped in another nuclear boomer submarine of late. They’re getting back in the world game and they know it and they want to do it. The Chinese feel so emboldened that they told the United States, “You can’t even bring your Navy in the South China Sea. That’s ours.” The North Koreans said, “Yeah, we’ll take your 300,000 metric tons of food, and oh, by the way, thanks, United States, but we’re going to launch a missile” — that they said is for a satellite purpose, but it’s clearly research for an intercontinental ballistic missile for their nuclear weapon program.

Iran continues to march toward its nuclear weapons. They tried to kill the Saudi ambassador in our capitol, the United States of America, and you know what happened to them? Nothing.

Terrorist organizations, AQIM, Al Qaeda in Mahgreb, are very engaged and growing. Now, it tends to be the largest financial benefactor for Al Qaeda. They have said publicly in their doctrine that they want to obtain weapons of mass destruction to cause that big event and it doesn’t have to be a nuclear weapon or missile. It could be a radiological bomb, a chemical weapon. We have weapons like those in Libya we can’t quite find. We have Syria with a huge stockpile. And this president is absolutely paralyzed at how he moves forward to solve a very difficult problem.

He gave a whole bunch of problems to this country when he gave his 1967 border speech, which meant that he was more pro-Palestinian than Abbas was Palestinian. Abbas had cut a deal with George W. Bush about, “You can go up, but you can’t go out.” Remember this in the settlements? And this president comes out and says he wants to get to the ’67 borders. Why all the turmoil; why did they go to the United Nations? And no press outlet covers it, right? He caused every bit of that trouble for both Israel and the United States and he gets a pass.

Would you trust the United States if someone had a nuclear weapon facing at you and you just weren’t sure if they’d be with you or not? Of course not. That’s where Israel is. And if you were the Iranians, do you believe it when this president says, “All the options are on the table?” Of course not. That’s our problem.

Our military has never really been a large instrument for destruction and owning and obtaining wealth. It has been always about the projection of power and keeping peace and making sure that our prosperity and our markets are open for future prosperity in this country. So this notion that we’re going to give up because it’s hard is a dangerous one indeed.

The blueprint that this president has laid out for this country is one that I hope you’re all offended by. It says, “We don’t really mind if we slip to number two or maybe even number three in the world.” The Chinese certainly aren’t thinking that and they want to be number one. The North Koreans are thinking “We can get a nuclear weapon; they’re not going to do anything.” The Iranians think the United States is a defanged tiger indeed.

Hugo Chavez has extended his arm to the Iranians to give them a post in our own Latin American. Hezbollah believes that they can operate with impunity around the world. The Iranians and their [crudes force] believe that they can operate with impunity around the world — attacks in Bangkok, nothing happened; in Tbilisi, and nothing happened; in Pakistan, and nothing happened. And they tried to do an operation here in the United States and nothing happened. Would you trust the future of your country to this president?

I don’t think you would if you’re places like Israel or even Lebanon or other places who are enjoying the fact that they believe we’re in a weakened state. I know I wouldn’t and that’s our problem. George Washington said, “If you want peace, prepare for war.” It’s a pretty simple formula and we have done it since the inception of our country and it has worked pretty darn good, right? We’re from Michigan; we’re not all that complicated. We like cars, we like defense and we like free markets. It’s not all that complicated, really, but to think that we’re going to grow ourselves in debt, in taxes, in government intervention in our lives, and cut our military capability in half, what does that mean for us?

Well, I hope we shake ourselves out of this and I know this group is pretty much there. If you listen to David, you’re pretty much there. It’s the folks who didn’t show up tonight that I worry about. If we don’t shake ourselves out of this, this will be the first generation of Americans that hand off to our children and grandchildren a less prosperous future, a less secure future and a future that means I am more dependent on my government, who takes away from my neighbor, than any other time in the history of this great nation.

And we didn’t become this great nation for any of those things, not one of them. We became a great nation because of the entrepreneurial spirit of this country because we believed in something bigger than ourselves and an idea, and the notion that we could actually wok as hard as we wanted, including seven days a week, blood, sweat and tears.

I have a friend of mine who is from South Africa who came here and she’s got eight employees. She runs — I asked permission to tell this story — eight employees. She works like a dog. She literally works seven days a week. She runs the register. It’s a little dog-grooming store with supplies in the front. She cleans the bathrooms, she cleans the front floor, employs these eight people. She said, “This year, I might, if I’m lucky, break $50,000 a year. If I’m lucky, I will break $50,000 a year, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because I wouldn’t even have this chance to do this where I come from. This is a great country. Please don’t screw it up.”

That is an amazing thing where the son of a teacher can become a member of congress and be the head of the Intelligence Committee. Now, if you ask my family, they think that’s very scary indeed. (Laughter). So please don’t ask my family about that — yes, exactly, exactly.

So I hope we shake ourselves out of this and begin to move forward on an America that we all believed in that allowed us to be successful, that allowed the next generation after us to be successful, that believed in something bigger than ourselves, that rejected that radical, liberal notion that if the government doesn’t do it, it can’t be done. Well, we’ve rejected that for over 200 years and that’s why we have the largest middle class in America. That’s why we have the largest military, through projection of power, in the world and they’re really scared to mess with us.

Somebody said, “Why do we have to be 10 times better than the next guy?” I said, “How would you — do you really want to find out? Would you really like to find out what happens when you’re only as good as the next guy? What if you’re not as good as the next guy?” Well, history has shown us what happens under those circumstances. So if you believe in a country that’s going to have every opportunity for the next generation, I know you’ll do more than enjoy this weekend and I hope you do, that you’ll take this fight to your workplace, to your places of worship, that you’ll break every rule your grandmother told you about talking about politics at the dinner table. It has to happen; yeah, you bet. (Applause). That’s all right. You can clap for that. (Applause).

I’ll tell you one last story and I’ll let you go and eat for the second round. Apparently, I’m the only one keeping you from food and that’s always a bad idea. (Laughter).

Unidentified Audience Member:  You’re doing great.

Congressman Mike Rogers:  Yeah, thanks. That’s not what this table over here is saying over here by me. I’ve seen them getting a grip on that dinner roll. That’s always a clue. In the FBI, we would call that a clue. (Laughter).

I had the great fortune to know a colonel who was in the 101st Airborne Division and he was supposed to lead 5,000 of the finest combat soldiers American could put together and they were from all walks of life — all races, all religions, all demographics, all economic status. Really, our military is very representative, despite what you hear in the news. Well, as would have it (sic), they were supposed to go up and land and clean out this mountain ridge. It was Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, pretty tough. The terrain — if you’ve never been there, the terrain is hard. It’s difficult. The weather changes a lot. It is a miserable place to operate away from your base.

As luck and military training would have it, the headquarters unit — so this is the colonel. He’s the tough guy. He looks like right out of central casting, a crew cut, the square jaw, an “I Love Mom” tattoo, tougher than woodpecker lips, this guy. Oh, yeah, think about that for a minute — a wonderful guy. (Laughter). He spent 24 years in the military, Ranger tab, Airborne qualified. This guy is the real deal and he’s leading these troops and he’s passionate about it.

Well, they land on the wrong spot on this mountain ridge and they landed about 100 yards from 500 Taliban fighters and this is the headquarters unit. They’re supposed to be beyond — behind the fighting units trying to coordinate the battle. Now, they don’t have the right ammunition. They’re very lightly armed, but thankfully, they’re very seasoned, seasoned officers, seasoned sergeants and non-commissioned officers. They get in a perimeter and they start holding them off — 20 wounded in about 10 minutes — a pretty tough fight for them. They’re just not ready for this.

There was a young platoon about 4,000 feet down the mountainside in reserve. He got on the horn and said, “Boys, if you don’t get up here, we’re not going to make it off the side of this mountain.” So these young men from all over the country — 18, 19 years old; their platoon leader was 24 and their platoon sergeant was about 28 — they dropped all their other gear, picked up 100 pounds of ammunition each and scrambled up 4,000 feet up the side of a mountain, sometimes at a 70% grade. Think of that.

And he said when they got there, I gave them just one order. I said, “Get that ammunition up on the perimeter. Keep the enemy back and hope to God we’re going to get off the mountain alive today.” And this big, tough Army colonel says, “I’ve never seen such bravery and courage in my life,” because these young men dragged that ammunition to the perimeter and covered — using their bodies — covered the bodies of the wounded sergeants and NCOs that were appointed over them to keep them from getting shot again and stayed there for as long as 90 minutes. And he said, “Because of their bravery, everyone — everyone — made it off the mountain alive that day.”

And he said — this big, tough Army colonel with a tear streaming down his face, said, “I’ve been doing this Army thing for a long time, but I will tell you something pretty damn special is still happening in America, that these 5,000 young men would come here and these young men would risk their lives to the officers and NCOs that were appointed over them to keep them alive to fight another day. Something pretty damn spectacular is still happening in America that would allow that to happen.” And he said, “I don’t know politics, but I’m going to tell you, when I come home, I’m going to lick stamps, I’m going to march in parades. I’m going to do everything that I can to keep this great country to hand off to the next generation.”

Thanks for being part of that solution. Thanks for thinking about those young men who risk their lives every day to defend this country. Thanks for standing up for liberty and thanks for rejecting the notion that we should manage the decline of America. The best is yet to come. God bless you and God bless the United States. (Applause).

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  • Fred Dawes