which our enemies can cheerfully lie on television every day,
and we don't even have the nerve to insist on the truth. We
pretend their lies are reasonable. This is a very fundamental
problem. And if you look at who some of the largest owners of
some of our largest banks are today, they're Saudis.
You keep pumping billions of dollars a year into countries like
Venezuela, Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Russia, and you are
presently going to have created people who oppose you who have
lots of money. And they're then going to come back to your own
country and finance, for example, Arab study institutes whose
only requirement is that they never tell the truth. So you have
all sorts of Ph.D.s who now show up quite cheerfully prepared to
say whatever it is that makes their funders happy - in the name,
of course, of academic freedom. So why wouldn't Columbia host a
genocidal madman? It's just part of political correctness. I
mean, Ahmadinejad may say terrible things, he may lock up
students, he may kill journalists, he may say, "We should wipe
out Israel," he may say, "We should defeat the United States,"
but after all, what has he done that's inappropriate? What has
he done that wouldn't be repeated at a Hollywood cocktail party
or a nice gathering in Europe?
unacceptable. Why is it that the No. 1 threat in intelligence
movies is the CIA?
I happened the other night to be watching an old movie, To Live
and Die in L.A., which is about counterfeiting. But the movie
starts with a Secret Service agent who is defending Ronald
Reagan in 1985, and the person he is defending Ronald Reagan
from is a suicide bomber who is actually, overtly a Muslim
fanatic. Now, six years after 9/11, you could not get that scene
made in Hollywood today.
Just look at the movies. Why is it that the bad person is either
a right-wing crazed billionaire, or the CIA as a government
agency. Go look at the Bourne Ultimatum. Or a movie like the one
that George Clooney made, which was an absolute lie, in which it
implied that if you were a reformist Arab prince, that probably
the CIA would kill you. It's a total lie. We actually have SEALs
protecting people all over the world. We actually risk American
lives protecting reformers all over the world, and yet Hollywood
can't bring itself to tell the truth, (a) because it's
ideologically so opposed to the American government and the
American military, and (b), because it's terrified that if it
said something really openly, honestly true about Muslim
terrorists, they might show up in Hollywood. And you might have
somebody killed as the Dutch producer was killed.
And so we're living a life of cowardice, and in that life of
cowardice we're sleepwalking into a nightmare.
And then you come to Iran. There's a terrific book. Mark Bowden
is a remarkable writer who wrote Black Hawk Down, has enormous
personal courage. He's a Philadelphia newspaper writer, actually
got the money out of the Philadelphia newspaper to go to Somalia
to interview the Somalian side of Black Hawk Down. It's a
remarkable achievement. Tells a great story about getting to
Somalia, paying lots of cash, having the local warlord protect
him, and after about two weeks the warlord came to him and said,
"You know, we've decided that we're very uncomfortable with you
being here, and you should leave."
And so he goes to the hotel, where he is the only hard-currency
guest, and says, "I've got to check out two weeks early because
the warlord has told me that he no longer will protect me." And
the hotel owner, who wants to keep his only hard-currency guest,
says, "Well, why are you listening to him? He's not the
government. There is no government." And Bowden says, "Well,
what will I do?" And he says, "You hire a bigger warlord with
more guns," which he did. But then he could only stay one week
because he ran out of money.
But this is a guy with real courage. I mean, imagine trying to
go out and be a journalist in that kind of world, OK? So Bowden
came back and wrote Guest of the Ayatollah, which is the Iranian
hostage of 1979, which he entitled, "The First Shots in Iran's
War Against America." So in the Bowden worldview, the current
Iranian dictatorship has been at war with the United States
since 1979. Violated international law. Every conceivable tenet
of international law was violated when they seized the American
Embassy and they seized the diplomats. Killed Americans in
Lebanon in the early '80s. Killed Americans at Khobar Towers in
'95 and had the Clinton administration deliberately avoid
revealing the information, as Louis Freeh, the director of the
FBI, has said publicly, because they didn't want to have to
confront the Iranian complicity.
And so you have an Iranian regime which is cited annually as the
leading supporter of state terrorism in the world. Every year
the State Department says that. It's an extraordinary act of
lucidity on the part of an institution which seeks to avoid it
as often as possible.
And you have Gen. Petraeus come to the U.S. Congress and say
publicly in an open session, "The Iranians are waging a proxy
war against Americans in Iraq."
I was so deeply offended by this, it's hard for me to express it
without sounding irrational. I'm an Army brat. My dad served 27
years in the infantry. The idea that an American general would
come to the American Congress, testify in public that our young
men and women are being killed by Iran, and we have done
nothing, I find absolutely abhorrent.
So I'm preparing to come and talk today. I got up this morning,
and a friend had sent me yesterday's Jerusalem Post editorial,
which if you haven't read, I recommend to you. It has, for
example, the following quote: "On Monday, chief Palestinian
negotiator Saeb Erekat said, 'The problem of the content of the
document setting out joint principles for peace-making
post-Annapolis has not been resolved. One of the more pressing
problems is the Zionist regime's insistence on being recognized
as a Jewish state. We will not agree to recognize Israel as a
Jewish state. There is no country in the world where religious
and national identities are intertwined.' "
What truly bothers me is the shallowness and the sophistry of
the Western governments, starting with our own. When a person
says to you, "I don't recognize that you exist," you don't start
a negotiation. The person says, "I literally do not recognize"
and then lies to you. I mean the first thing you say to this guy
is "Terrific. Let's go visit Mecca. Since clearly there's no
other state except Israel that is based on religion, the fact
that I happen to be Christian won't bother anybody." And then
he'll say, "Well, that's different."
We tolerate this. We have created our own nightmare because we
refuse to tell the truth. We refuse to tell the truth to our
politicians. Our State Department refuses to tell the truth to
the country. If the president of the United States, and again,
we're now so bitterly partisan, we're so committed to
red-vs.-blue hostility, that George W. Bush doesn't have the
capacity to give an address from the Oval Office that has any
meaning for half the country. And the anti-war left is so strong
in the Democratic primary that I think it's almost impossible
for any Democratic presidential candidate to tell the truth
about the situation.
And so the Republicans are isolated and trying to defend
incompetence. The Democrats are isolated and trying to find a
way to say, "I'm really for strength as long as I can have
peace, but I'd really like to have peace, except I don't want to
recognize these people who aren't very peaceful."
I just want to share with you, as a grandfather, as a citizen,
as a historian, as somebody who was once speaker of the House,
this is a serious national crisis. This is 1935 or 1936, and
it's getting worse every year.
None of our enemies are confused. Our enemies don't get up each
morning and go, "Oh, gosh, I think I'll have an existential
crisis of identity in which I will try to think through whether
or not we can be friends while you're killing me." Our enemies
get up every morning and say, "We hate the West. We hate
freedom." They would not allow a meeting with women in the room.
I was once interviewed by a BBC reporter, a nice young lady who
was only about as anti-American as she had to be to keep her
job. Since it was a live interview, I turned to her halfway
through the interview and I said, "Do you like your job?" And it
was summertime, and she's wearing a short-sleeve dress. And she
said, "Well, yes." She was confused because I had just reversed
roles. I said, "Well, then you should hope we win." She said,
"What do you mean?" And I said, "Well, if the enemy wins, you
won 't be allowed to be on television."
I don't know how to explain it any simpler than that.
Now what do we need?
We need first of all to recognize this is a real war. Our
enemies are peaceful when they're weak, are ruthless when
they're strong, demand mercy when they're losing, show no mercy
when they're winning. They understand exactly what this is, and
anybody who reads Sun Tzu will understand exactly what we're
living through. This is a total war. One side is going to win.
One side is going to lose. You'll be able to tell who won and
who lost by who's still standing. Most of Islam is not in this
war, but most of Islam isn't going to stop this war. They're
just going to sit to one side and tell you how sorry they are
that this happened. We had better design grand strategies that
are radically bigger and radically tougher and radically more
honest than anything currently going on, and that includes
winning the argument in Europe , and it includes winning the
argument in the rest of the world. And it includes being very
clear, and I'll just give you one simple example because we're
now muscle-bound by our own inability to talk honestly.
Iran produces 60 percent of its own gasoline. It produces lots
of crude oil but only has one refinery. It imports 40 percent of
its gasoline. The entire 60 percent is produced at one huge
In 1981, Ronald Reagan decided to break the Soviet empire. He
was asked what's your vision of the Cold War. He said, "Four
words: We win; they lose." He was clearly seen by The New York
Times as an out-of-touch, reactionary, right-wing cowboy from
California who had no idea what was going on in the world. And
11 years later the Soviet Union disappeared, but obviously that
had nothing to do with Reagan because that would have meant he
was right. So it's just a random accident the Soviet Union
Part of the war we waged on the Soviet Union involved their
natural gas supply because we wanted to cut off their hard
currency. The Soviets were desperate to get better equipment for
their pipeline. We managed to sell them through third parties
very, very sophisticated American pipeline equipment, which they
were thrilled to buy and thought they had pulled off a huge
coup. Now we weren't playing fair. We did not tell them that the
equipment was designed to blow up. One day in 1982, there was an
explosion in Siberia so large that the initial reflection on the
satellites looked like there was a tactical nuclear weapon. One
part of the White House was genuinely worried, and the other
part of the White House had to calm them down. They said, "No,
no, that's our equipment blowing up."
In the 28 years since the Iranians declared war on us, in the
six years since 9/11, in the months since Gen. Petraeus publicly
said they are killing young Americans, we have not been able to
figure out how to take down one refinery. Covertly, quietly,
without overt war. And we have not been able to figure out how
to use the most powerful navy in the world to simply stop the
tankers and say, "Look, you want to kill young Americans, you're
going to walk to the battlefield, but you're not going to ride
in the car because you're not going to have any gasoline."
We don't have to be stupid. The choice is not cowardice or total
war. Reagan unlocked Poland without firing a shot in an alliance
with the pope, with the labor unions and with the British. We
have every possibility if we're prepared to be honest to shape
the world. It'll be a very big project. It's much closer to
World War II than it is to anything we've tried recently. It
will require real effort, real intensity and real determination.
We're either going to do it now, while we're still
extraordinarily powerful, or we're going to do it later under
much more desperate circumstances after we've lost several cities.
We had better take this seriously because we are not very many
mistakes away from a second Holocaust. Three nuclear weapons is
a second Holocaust. Our enemies would like to get those weapons
as soon as they can, and they promise to use them as soon as
I suggest we defeat our enemies and create a different situation
long before they have that power.t