An American hero defines the battle for America's future.
The following talk by Colonel Allen West was delivered at David Horowitz's Restoration Weekend in West Palm Beach, Florida (Nov. 17-20, 2011). Introductory remarks were given by David Horowitz.
David Horowitz: It is my great pleasure to introduce our speaker tonight, Colonel Allen West --
-- one of the bravest and most articulate members of Congress, and already, although still only a freshman, one of the leading voices of the Republican Party.
Colonel West is also the number-one congressman that 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. This is the second national figure of the Republican Party we have had this weekend, the second black Republican whom the Democrats have targeted with vicious attacks.
There is a reason for that. Democrats will tell you that it is because they actually care about blacks. But that just tells you what you already knew -- that Democrats are hypocrites and liars.
Democrats control every major inner-city school system in America, from Harlem to Detroit to South Central Los Angeles. They control them 100 percent, and have controlled them 100 percent 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 unions. 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, in general, too polite to mention it.
Democrats view politics as war conducted by other means, a fact that Allen West is one of the few Republicans to recognize. Democrats view blacks as cannon fodder in their war. They are not ends in themselves, but a means to power. If Democrats lost just 20 percent of the black vote nationally, they would lose virtually every state in the union.
That's why they hate and fear Colonel Allen West. They hate him because he is black, and they fear him because he will not fold under fire. He is why Democrats are terrified of an articulate black Republican like Allen West, who will not be intimidated by their racist tactics. He will blow their cover and destroy their game.
I loved it when Allen 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 who 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.
At an event at Los Angeles, Colonel West pointed out that the head of the Congressional Black Caucus recently said that if Barack Obama 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. Republicans are good at talking about the 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 that 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 Clinton, 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 congressmen before, but few who have 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.
Colonel West joined the army after graduating from the University of Tennessee. He 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 1st 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-martialled 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 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 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-martialled during a Republican administration, which is 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 sabotage 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, as 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 Republicans 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, in their own country -- who called their commander a traitor and their military personnel torturers and killers -- got away with it.
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 -- Colonel West.
Allen West: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much, David.
And it's amazing when the introduction is actually longer than the amount of time allotted to you that you're supposed to speak.
So we'll see what we can do with that.
But first of all, David, thanks so much for having me here. And once again, I'd like to introduce everyone -- if you have not met my wife, Dr. Angela West; and my youngest daughter, Austen West.
And I know that we have a couple of my colleagues here -- Congressman Royce from California and Congressman Turner from New York. So thank you.
And there are many dear friends that are here.
I just want to take maybe 10 to 15 minutes to talk to you about what I think the challenges are for us going forward. We are truly in a battle for the future and the legacy of the United States of America. And that battle is going to happen in less than one year. And I'm really honored that David Horowitz and his Freedom Center continues to be on the frontline to talk about those issues that we all need to be educated on, and we all need to make sure that other people are educated on. And we cannot back down from this. Because what will we say to our children and grandchildren if we fail in this mission?
You know, I want to welcome each and every one of you to the district that I represent -- United States Congressional District 22, right here, in Florida.
Now, I want to ask you a simple question, and I think it's the question that is really the seminal question that we need to understand as we go forward for the next year -- what is American exceptionalism? Because I will tell you what American exceptionalism is to me -- the fact that 50 years ago, when I was born, in 1961, in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia, there would be no way possible that I would be standing here speaking in The Breakers. The fact that now I can stand here as the representative for this great Palm Beach Island -- a place that, I guarantee you, I would not have been able to come to 50 years ago -- is a testimony to what makes America the greatest nation that the world has ever known. And that is what we cannot forget.
However, the ideological chasm that exists in America today, with people that believe that there are such things as class or caste -- they don't understand that sense of American exceptionalism. They don't understand the fact that where you are born in America, or where you come from, has nothing to do with where you end up, or your station later on in life. That is what we must fight for in our country.
Now I'm reading Mark Steyn's second book here, "After America." I'm about halfway through. I've already read your fist book, "America Alone," when I was over in Kandahar, Afghanistan. And I just want to say this. When we're here at Restoration Weekend, how are we going to restore our America so that the things that Mark writes about will not come to fruition; so that no one will sit around and talk about "after America?" Well, there are five challenges that I think we must come to understand. And I want to talk to you based upon a perception and the insights from being up there on Capitol Hill for just the past 11 months.
The first thing you should have recognized was yesterday. If you did not tune into C-SPAN and see the debate that was going on on the House floor, you missed the difference between who we are and what we believe in, and what the other side believes in. The fact that we could not get a balanced budget amendment passed in the United States of America is absolutely appalling and reprehensible, especially when you consider that fact that there were people on the other side of the aisle that actually clapped and cheered about the fact that it was defeated.
When you listened to the debate, and people said that now was not the time for a balanced budget amendment -- America is $15 trillion in debt. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is 101 percent. Greece's debt-to-GDP ratio is 128 percent. Italy's is 120 percent. If not now, when?
But what was played out yesterday was the recalcitrance of those people in the Democrat Party -- not all Democrats; some did vote with us, but overarchingly so -- a party that does not want to reign in the out-of-control spending in Washington, DC. Why? Because they know, very simply, that's the means by which they will continue to buy votes in this country. They've failed to understand the simple thing that Margaret Thatcher said when she talked about how socialism works very well, until you run out of other people's money.
What you saw yesterday is one of the major obstacles to us restoring this country -- individuals that don't want to see the economic prosperity of the United States of America. They want to take as much of the American capital that they can and concentrate it in Washington, DC, and spend it wastefully.
We've got to do something about this country. Because we cannot allow that vision -- that vision from President Obama to Harry Reid, to Nancy Pelosi, to Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- we cannot allow that vision to be the vision for the next 30, 40 or 50 years for the United States of America.
The next major obstacle I see is that America must get back to understanding what capitalism is. Right now, we are dealing with crony capitalism. We are dealing with a federal government that takes taxpayer dollars. And they're the ones that are deciding the winners and the losers in the free market. We're looking at a federal government that all of sudden believes it's the number-one venture capitalist. When you look at what is happening with Solyndra and some of these other corporations and companies, and we see how well they do with that -- when we talk about the economic failure of 2008, it's all because government decided they would get involved in the mortgage industry. And of course, not too long ago, government decided they'd get involved in the healthcare industry. And if history plays out, we know where that will end up.
It's very obvious. This President does not care about jobs for the American people. You look at what happened with the Keystone XL project -- 20,000 jobs to produce that pipeline. Almost 118,000 jobs indirectly created. And what did he say? He said we're going to put it off until next year, after the election. America does not have a Commander in Chief; America has a Campaigner in Chief.
But the thing that really upsets me the most is that we have a complicit media that will not call this President out. You know, here in my pocket, 22 bills that are sitting on the desk of Harry Reid that are not getting pushed. But yet, you don't hear the media talking about this. You don't hear the mainstream media talking about Solyndra. You don't hear the mainstream media wanting to talk about the Keystone XL project. What each and every one of us have to realize as we continue on -- you're a media source. You've got to get out there and spread the truth, through your e-mails, through your blogs, on the television, through radio. We've got to get the American people back engaged once again.
The bureaucratic nanny state will be the death of the United States of America. Because this is the race that we're in. If more people become wedded to government, either by subsistence check or employment check -- if that 47 percent of wage-earning households that do not pay federal income taxes all of a sudden becomes 50 or 51 percent, as we say down in Georgia -- Katie, bar the door, because it is over. That's the race that we're in in the next year.
That's why you see a President that goes out and says you can have free healthcare, you can have free education, you can have free cars, you can have a federal government that is giving people 250 free minutes on a cell phone. You can have anything that you want. If you're a college student, we'll take care of your student loans. Because if they get more people dependent -- and the facts show that -- a 41 percent increase in people on food stamps, from 32 million to 45 million; a 16 percent increase of Americans on poverty, up by 6.4 million. 48.5 percent of Americans are now on some form of government aid. That's the race that we're in. Because if the bureaucratic nanny state grows, as Ayn Rand wrote about in "Atlas Shrugged" -- if you start to grow the entitlement class over the production class, the producers will stop producing.
But where will we go? Because America is the last great hope for mankind. It truly is, as Kennedy and Reagan said, the shining city that sits upon a hill. But our light is starting to grow dimmer and dimmer.
We cannot have someone sitting in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue that continues to make politically expedient foreign policy decisions. We're still living with the decision of President Jimmy Carter to not support the Shah of Iran. And it gave us the ayatollahs.
So what will come forth out of an Egypt that we forced Hosni Mubarak to step down? Well, we already see it playing out. The Muslim Brotherhood is gaining in strength and power, Iranian warships transiting through the Suez Canal, an Egypt that brokered a reconciliation pact between Fatah and Hamas, an Egyptian foreign minister that met with the Iranian foreign minister. When we all of a sudden said we would go to zero troops in Iraq, the general on the ground -- General Austin, that I knew -- I served with him in Fort Bragg -- asked for 10,000 to 15,000. It was taken down to 3,000 to 5,000. But the President stood up and said -- I've kept my campaign promise. We're completely pulling out of Iraq.
And in August, when I sat there in Israel with Prime Minister Netanyahu, there was one thing that he said -- I am concerned if we do not have a credible military presence in Iraq. Something that no one is talking about is Masoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdish people. Within days after President Obama making that statement, he traveled to Iran and did something he had never done before -- he met with Ahmadinejad, he met with the Ayatollah Khomeini. Because for the second time, we turned our back on the Kurdish people. Pro-American, pro-Israel, Kurdish people. That's what happens when you have a Campaigner in Chief and not a Commander in Chief.
The last thing -- and I'm sure David Horowitz knows this so well -- you've got to read Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals." You've got to read The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx. You've got to read Sun Tzu's "Art of War." You've got to develop a strategy to defeat them. Because what we see playing out with this Occupy Wall Street is exactly what they seek to do. They are going to create violence, turmoil and upheaval all throughout our major urban areas and try to disrupt us, and try to get us off of what the true message is. The fact that they're trying to compare this to a Constitutional, conservative, grassroots movement, the Tea Party, is appalling and disgusting. But this is who we are, and this is who we're dealing with.
This is their last chance to do as the President said -- to fundamentally transform the United States of America. Well, I got to tell you something. This little thing that I carry with me whenever I go out, the Declaration and the Constitution -- it does not need fundamental transformation.
So tonight you're going to hear from some great speakers. I am honored to be here and to speak. It's a privilege to represent the American people here residing in Congressional District 22. But I've been on many battlefields. But this is the battlefield for our United States of America, the Constitutional republic that has been running for 235 years. The dream that Thomas Jefferson put pen to paper and talked about can be lost in the twinkling of an eye.
If we want to restore America, if we want to have a Restoration Weekend next November, right here in The Breakers; if we want to prove Mark wrong in his book, "After America;" every single one of you has got to put on some battle fatigues, lace up your boots, and get ready to fight.
God bless you all, and thank you.
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