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?
I believe in peace through strength. That’s military strength, it’s moral strength, it’s economic strength, it’s personal strength. Above all, it’s the strength that it takes to make a stand. Militarily we have to stand up against the notion that investing in our troops isn’t necessary. It is always necessary to invest in the strategic strength of the United States of America. We cannot allow our military and veterans to be cast off to the side. And it does upset me that we do not see more of our presidential nominee candidates on the Republican Party side not talking about national security and not talking about their vision for securing the United States of America.
These men and women put their lives on the line for us, even during those so-called times of peace. And if we aren’t willing of giving them every ounce of support that they need, then we do not deserve to have the title of being called a [hegemon]. We are truly the world’s last best hope for freedom and democracy. We are that lighthouse to a stormy sea. But we’ll cease to be those things if we forget our fighting men and women, our fighting men and women who are the fittest, finest force that the history of this world has ever known. And we have to be sure that that never changes.
Morally, we have to stand up to the unerring axiom that there is good and evil in the world. And in those cases where evil brings the fight to good, we must be willing to ensure that good does prevail. We must stand beside that friend, Israel, who shares our commitment. And that means battling violent extremism wherever it is in operation. That means in Tel Aviv as well as New York City. It means in Jerusalem, just the same as Chicago or just the same as LA.
But economically, we have got to move away from this sense of crony capitalism and the adverse effects that it has on our national security.
We spent $1.36 trillion propping up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That would’ve funded the entire base budget of the Department of Defense for three years. We spent $79.69 billion to bail out the automobile industry. That would’ve funded navy shipbuilding for over five years. We spent $535 million of taxpayer money into the now-bankrupt solar power company Solyndra. That would’ve completed this year’s navy backlog of ship maintenance, and you still would’ve had $200 million left over. We spent $3 billion in taxpayer money for Cash for Clunkers. That would’ve purchased 125 new amphibious assault vehicles to meet the military needs of our United States Marine Corps to get them from ship to shore.
China now has over 60 attack submarines. We’re about to fall under the requirement of 48 attack submarines. With the taxpayer money that we spent to bail out AIG, we could’ve purchased 44 attack submarines. The money that we spent to bail out Bank of America would’ve covered our navy carrier shortfall 10 times over. With the taxpayer money that the United States pays to China in the interest on public debt, the air force could’ve afforded to buy three F-22 fighters, jets, per week. But of course, we have canceled that program.
Finally, we have to take a stand and be firm in our convictions. And that is understanding that it is America’s people that make America great. Because as David Horowitz so well knows, there is tyranny in the idea that at the end of the day, a person is not responsible for his fortune or for his fate. And that is the tyranny we face here domestically every single day, from within, with a liberal, progressive, socialist agenda whose goal is to prop up, to grow and to promote the bureaucratic nanny state. That type of thinking leads inexorably to a government that usurps the dignity of the citizens it professes to be serving.
We must not forget that each of us has the right, given [to] God, to fail or succeed; to make of our own lives what we may with as little interference as possible. For it was Thomas Jefferson who said the government that is big enough to give you everything that you want is also big enough to take it away.
We must never forget the incredible American heritage that we must be proud of. So I want to share with you a couple of final quotes. As Roger Sherman warned us after signing the Declaration of Independence – sad will be the day when the American people forget their traditions and their history, and no longer remember that the country they love, the institutions they cherish and the freedom they hope to preserve were born from the throes of armed resistance to tyranny and nursed in the rugged arms of fearless men.
And if that is not enough, let’s close by remembering the words of John Stuart Mill, when he said war is an ugly thing, but it is not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feelings which thinks that nothing is worth a war is much worse. Therefore, the magnificence of David Horowitz and his Freedom Center is that they understand that we are fighting against that decaying state of moral and patriotic sense in our America. But leave here today taking heart. Because we shall prevail.
So God bless you all. God bless our America. And thank you for having me here.
Unidentified Speaker: The congressman can take a couple questions. We are taping this. So Elizabeth has the microphone. So if someone has a question, she will find you.
Carl: Yes, thank you, Congressman.
I’d like your insight as to what are the criteria for the use of American forces. There’s one school that says you use the American forces when the national interest of the United States is involved.
Allen West: Yes.
Carl: The other school says you use it on humanitarian, global interests. And we went to war in Kosovo for humanitarian interests, we went to war in Libya for humanitarian interests, and we now have 100 troops in Uganda for humanitarian interests. What are your views on that?
Allen West: Well, I think that when you look at the missions of the United States military, of course there’s a broad spectrum. And you do have to have engagement in certain areas. But I think that we have to be clearly defined in the goals and objectives any time we employ our military.
Now, when you’re talking about employing your military in a combat operation in that type of sense, then you have to have some type of threat against the United States, as we have been attacked, our interests have been attacked or our men and women in uniform have been attacked.
And I think that right now it’s a moving target. First of all, we don’t really know who we’re fighting against. And when you say this war on terror – but then you narrowly bring it down to it’s just Taliban or al-Qaeda, then what about Hamas? What about Hezbollah? What about Islamic jihad? What about al-Quds? What about Al oxa? What about JET, LET, Hikani, Abu Sayyaf? I mean, we can go on ad nauseam, ad infinitum.
So I think that that’s why you have to have people that sit back and really understand what is this 21st century battlefield. There are many different parts of it. I mean, there’s an economic war, as we talked about, going on with China. But when you’re employing your military forces, if you’re employing them in a combat sense, you have to understand clearly what are the desired end states that you want to have.
A lot of people get hung up about what’s the exit strategy. Well, the exit strategy has to be very simple, as I spoke to with a young Code Pink lady a couple of weeks ago. She said you have to end the wars. Well, first of all, there are only two ways that you end a war. You win, or you lose. And Ronald Reagan was very clear when he said – we win, they lose.
But the first thing we have to do is understand who is “they.“ And we have never been able to clearly articulate that on this modern battlefield. Now, I have no problems with our military going in with humanitarian assistance. When I was in Afghanistan and the earthquake hit over in Pakistan, we sent military support into Pakistan. That is a means by which you can defeat the enemy. Because now, all of a sudden, you are using that as a tool of propaganda to show that we are here to help; they are not. And we have the capacity to do that.
But as well, you have to be focused on the enemy. And I think that’s what we got away from, is really being focused on the enemy on this battlefield. And we got to what I call, like I said, nation-building, occupation-style warfare. Building schools, building hospitals, you know, repairing roads – that’s fine. But that’s not really the essential mission of the United States military. And what they don’t understand is that at nighttime, after you’ve built all these schools and the bad guy comes in, if you’re not there to provide that security, they could care less about the school and all of those things being built.
So once again, it comes back to having people that first define who the enemy is, so we can focus on this enemy. Do the requirements assessment across the geographic AORs to develop the right capacity and capability. We’ve got soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines that have been out there five and six tours. You run them into the ground.
When it comes to these humanitarian assistance missions, make sure that we properly define them. Because the last thing I want to see happen is exactly what happened in Somalia, back in 1993, where we decided we were going to go in for a humanitarian assistance mission. And the next thing you know, it morphed into something totally bad, and we weren’t prepared for it. And what happened? The Battle of Mogadishu. Eighteen rangers were killed, I think 59 to 65 were wounded; even though they were very successful – I believe the enemy body count was over 1,000. But what did the enemy see us do? They saw us withdrawing. That’s the message that we don’t want to send. Because remember Osama bin Laden said the United States of America is nothing more than a paper tiger, after he saw what we did in Somalia.
So the most important thing, in answering your question, is developing the strategic goals and objectives of the military. That starts with the national security strategy coming out of the White House. Then that goes over to the Pentagon to develop the national military strategy. And then, that goes down to your combatant commanders – CENTCOM, AFRICOM, SOUTHCOM, [PCOM] – so that they can develop their operational theater strategies, and then that gets down to the tactical level. Right now, we don’t have a definitive way ahead.
Allen West: Let me tell you this about Uganda. You know, having been in the military for a few days – if you really want to go in and train a military, that’s called a foreign internal defense mission for your Special Forces guys – FID mission. Special Forces A-Team – the basis of that is 12 individuals. At most, one or two of those Special Forces A-Teams – they can go in and do it. When you’re talking about 100 Green Beret going in, that’s something totally different. And I don’t understand why we’re committing 100 Special Forces Operators to go chasing after some guy that’s been out there doing whatever for the past 20, 25 years.
So trust me, there are some members of Congress that are over there in Africa right now, that are delving into this a little bit deeper. And we’ll do the same thing when we get back up there. And I’m sure we’re going to have a hearing [and ask about] – Armed Services Committee.
Unidentified Audience Member: Thank you.
Of all the candidates, Speaker Gingrich, I think, has been the most forcefully critical of this Super Committee. And he says it should be dissolved. And your remarks pointed to some of the devastating results in the military if the Super Committee, quote, doesn’t do its job.
Allen West: Yes.
Unidentified Audience Member: Many of us wonder – how did that ever happen, where Congress walked away from its responsibility, handing it over to the Super Committee, and agreeing that automatic cuts in defense happen if they don’t do their job?
Allen West: Well, one of the things is, you know, everyone talks about compromise. Compromise, compromise, you know. I don’t believe in compromising your principles. Now, I did vote for the Budget Control Act. I believe it was a 70 to 75 percent solution. I was not for this Super Committee. But I wanted to see us push the ball a little bit further down the court. This Super Committee thing was the brainchild of Harry Reid, that got included in this final agreement that got passed.
There are people in Washington, D.C., and there’s a few on that Super Committee, that see this as the opportunity to destroy defense in the United States of America. And I think it’s so important that you all need to call your representatives and tell them that you don’t want to see that happen. We have already cut the United States military $478 billion over the next 10 years.
Secretary Pennetta and the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, testified before the Armed Services Committee last week – any further cuts will decimate the United States military. Another $500 billion – it’ll destroy the United States military. And we’ve got to understand it can’t be the bill-payer.
We can fix the fiscal irresponsibility in Washington, D.C. GAO Report came out back in February – $200 billion to $300 billion of redundant and duplicative programs in Washington, D.C. There are places where you can find it. But unfortunately, the other side, the Left, has never been fond of the military. And I think you’re seeing that play out in a lot of the policies that have happened over these past 1,000-plus days of the Obama Administration. We can’t allow them to stick a knife into our military.
Please support, you know, the great California Congressman who is the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Buck McKeon. Because he is doing a great job standing up for our military and drawing a line in the sand, saying that the Super Committee must do their job, and there will not be any further cuts.
The great thing is that whatever decisions the Super Committee does come up with, it has to come to the House and the Senate for a vote. And if it has to do anything with further cuts to the military, it’s not passing me.
Unidentified Audience Member: Considering the sheer volume of cyber attacks originating from China, do you consider this an actual act of war? And if so, what do you propose to do about it?
Allen West: Well, it is. And we already have done something about it. We have created a new military command called United States Cyber Command. Because there are dedicated units in China which are seeking to attack not just our military systems but our financial systems all across the board, to include a lot of our defense military industry systems.
So, you know, we’re in a cold war era with China. We have to come to that realization. And the longer that we push it off, then we’re going to find ourselves at a disadvantage. Because by 2016, if we don’t fix our economy, their economy is supposed to overtake ours. It may not happen by 2016, but they are definitely on that way. If we’re not careful within the next eight to 10 years, the world’s largest blue-water navy will fly under a Chinese flag.
Now, what difference does that make? Well, when you talk about the free trade agreements that we just signed, the means by which a nation can expand its power economically – going back to the Phoenicians, they always knew this – was through the trade, was through the sea lanes of commerce. And if you cannot protect the sea lanes of commerce, what good is it?
It’s going to hurt my heart to say this, being an old soldier – the strength of a nation is in its navy. It’s not in its army. Okay, I know. I mean, whoever is taping this thing, I’m sure I’ll get turned in to the army police.
But I will also finish by saying this – United States Army has more amphibious landings than in the United States Marine Corps. But we have to understand that when you look at what’s just west of here, and what’s just east of me, in Florida, we are a maritime nation. And with the Panama Canal expanding in 2014 to have larger cargo ships, we’ve got to make sure that we are protecting that sea lane of commerce. And we’ve got to make sure that we understand that China is an adversarial nation to us, and they are doing things that truly are mini acts of war, however you want to call it. But it’s still an attack on our systems.
Unidentified Audience Member: I wanted to ask you – first of all, thank you very much for all of this. But what is the ultimate, ultimate way to deal with Iran? Because it seems to be very soon. And what should the US do?
Allen West: There’s only one thing they understand, and that’s strength. The lesson that Islamic nations have learned with the fall and the – well, killing of Muammar Khadafi – don’t give up your nuclear weapons program. Okay? Remember, in 2004, 2005, Khadafi gave up his program? If he still had that program, do you think NATO would’ve been able to go in there willy-nilly, you know, freedom of maneuver, like they just did?
So, guess what – Iran is going to step it up. Pakistan is going to hold onto it even tighter. And if you start to see a proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout the Islamic world – remember mutually assured destruction, that theory that we had between us and the Soviet Union? That’s gone. No MAD theory with these guys. So you’ve got to take an action. You got to take an action against their military capability and capacity.
When people talk about – ah, just increase the sanctions – sanctions means nothing to them. They could care less if their people are suffering. You know, as I said last night, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is going to just get more falafel. Okay? And even worse, they will take that and use it against you by saying – the reason why you, our people, are suffering is because the West is putting these sanctions on you.
We missed a golden opportunity by not supporting that Green Movement. Now, why did we not support that movement, and why did we allow Hosni Mubarak to be deposed? That’s one of those Final Jeopardy questions. But nothing good has come out of Egypt since Hosni Mubarak was deposed. Just the same as nothing good has come out of Iran since the shah of Iran was deposed.
Unidentified Speaker: Okay, this will be our final question.
Unidentified Audience Member: On national security, a little closer to home – couple days ago, a couple of men were arrested for breaking into – I believe it was the State House in San Antonio. And they were Islamic, and they were – they had some plans and schematics from other buildings across the country. Friend of mine who lives in San Antonio told me that the local news was reporting that as a prank. So what do we – you know, I mean, we’re talking about our own news media – what they’re not even telling us.
Allen West: Yes.
Unidentified Audience Member: It’s difficult to understand how we’re going to fight all this from the inside, inside our own country.
Allen West: Well, I got to tell you, once again, the porous nature of the border that you have south of here is a national security issue. There’s a classification of individuals that are being picked up by our border patrol that are not, you know, Hispanic or Mexican. And it’s scary. Because most of them are coming from Middle Eastern backgrounds. When you go along the border, you’re starting to find prayer rugs, you’re starting to find dictionaries that translate Arabic into Spanish, over into English.
So, you know, again, we’ve got to look at this thing from a strategic perspective and understand that one of the reasons why Rome saw itself collapse was when it stopped protecting its northern border. We’ve got to secure that border, we got to enforce our laws. And we got to make sure that we stop allowing sanctuaries to be used by this enemy. Hezbollah is in our hemisphere.
Now, last thing I read, I think the Monroe Doctrine was still a valid piece of law. And so we’re, sooner or later, going to have to look at making sure that we enforce that. Because Iran’s going to come in, China’s going to come in, Russia’s going to come in, all in our back door.
You know, I’ll close with this quote, from Alexander the Great. Alexander the Great said – I do not fear an army of lions if they are led by a lamb – I mean, sheep. I do fear an army of sheep led by lions. Right now, the world is a forest full of wolves, and the United States of America is looked at as sheep. So we need guard dogs. And we need lions. And so I know that’s what each and every one [of you all] –
Allen West: So, God bless you, and thank you so much.
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