Posted 9/04/02: (A Memorable Article About a Naval Hero)
JAMES STOCKDALE (USNA ‘47)
Fort Worth Star Telegram 090102 (C09-02)
Copyright 2002 Star-Telegram Newspaper, Inc.
Fort Worth Star Telegram
September 1, 2002, Sunday FINAL EDITION
SECTION: SUNDAY LIFE; Pg. 1
LENGTH: 4231 words
HEADLINE: JAMES STOCKDALE;
The vice admiral was branded a fool after the 1992 vice-presidential debate.
But this scholar and heroic former POW who suffered years of torture never
needs to ask himself, "Who am I?"
BYLINE: JEFF GUINN; Star-Telegram Staff Writer
A vulgar person . . . never looks for either help or harm from himself, but
only from externals. The condition and characteristic of a philosopher is that
he looks to himself for all help or harm.
-- from Enchiridon by Epictetus (A.D. 55-135), the favorite stoic philosopher
of Adm. James Stockdale
CORONADO, Calif. -- Retired Vice Adm. James Bond Stockdale, now 78, didn't
enjoy the experience of running for vice president in 1992, which he says he
did as a favor to third-party presidential candidate Ross Perot. Like millions
of others, Stockdale especially recalls the televised vice-presidential debate
that October, when he began his remarks with the rhetorical questions,
"Who am I? Why am I here?," and then stumbled through the rest of
"Afterward, lots of people decided I was an idiot," Stockdale
recalls as he sips a cup of coffee in the dining room of his home in a San
Diego suburb. "Things were said about me. Conclusions were drawn. I
suppose some would have had their feelings hurt badly. But I had philosophy
and experience to fall back on, so I went right on with my life. Other people
can't hurt you inside, which is where it counts, if you don't let them."
That belief makes Stockdale the antithesis of almost everyone else who has
inadvertently become well-known for a negative reason. He says he's surprised
more people don't feel the same way.
"As we learn from the book of Job in the Bible, life isn't fair,"
Stockdale observes. "From that, from the philosophers I had read, like
Camus, Pascal, Kant, Hume and my personal favorite, Epictetus, there's the
message of relying on yourself, on your own sense of honor. 'Stoicism' is the
proper term. It gives me, as it would give anyone, perspective."
That, and seven years in a North Vietnamese prison, where extensive physical
torture became a ritual, and where Stockdale gambled his own life to force
better conditions for his fellow prisoners. His back was broken, one leg was
shattered beyond repair, his shoulders were torn from their sockets, and his
hearing was irreparably damaged. After his release, the citation read by
President Ford as he presented Stockdale with the Medal of Honor also noted
the "near mortal" wounds Stockdale inflicted on himself to prove to
his captors that he wouldn't break no matter what they did.
Compared with that, being called names in 1992 was nothing. These days,
though, Stockdale certainly wouldn't mind if his fellow citizens knew a little
more about him than a few bumbling remarks in a TV debate he didn't even know
about until three days before the cameras rolled.
Stockdale walks very slowly. His left leg hasn't bent at the knee since Sept.
9, 1965, when his plane was shot down during a bombing mission against a
bridge near the North Vietnamese city of Thanh Hoa. His hearing is adequate
when his hearing aid works properly. Age causes him to "lose a word
sometimes," but his steely blue eyes still fix on visitors, and his
scarred body is trim in a white knit shirt and khaki slacks.
Stockdale and his wife, Sybil, live in the same house they bought decades ago
when Stockdale was stationed at the naval base in Coronado. It is decorated
with a few mementos of Stockdale's military career and lots of family
memorabilia. Mrs. Stockdale is ill and unavailable to be interviewed. All four
Stockdale sons are schoolteachers; judging from framed photos, there are many
Stockdale's Medal of Honor is in a box upstairs, not displayed in a prominent
place for visitors to see.
"That would be like bragging," Stockdale says. "I wouldn't want
to do that."
He's also initially reluctant to discuss his political fiasco with Perot.
Stockdale's fascination has always been with things military, rather than
"The whole thing with Ross was an accident," he says. "I've put
it behind me. My training was to make decisions, to do what was right rather
than what was expedient. I never learned to talk in those cagey ways
politicians have, seeming to say something without committing yourself to any
real opinion. What I wanted to say in that debate was something like, 'Here's
who I am. Ask these other fellows, Quayle and Gore, to give you examples from
their lives that demonstrate who they really are, instead of just repeating
things other people told them they ought to say."
To understand how he was able to cope with the aftermath of the disastrous
vice-presidential debate, Stockdale says it's important to understand him. And
that understanding is found in memories of seven years' captivity in Hanoi's
infamous Hoa Lo prison.
Jim Stockdale was born in 1923, the only child of a schoolteacher and the vice
president of a china factory in Abingdon, Ill. His explanation of how he ended
up at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., illustrates why Stockdale
would never, ever have been able to function effectively in the 30-second
sound bite world of politics. He takes 15 minutes to answer the question,
beginning with a description of his father's struggle to educate himself, and
then how his mother insisted he learn to play the piano well and he did,
winning competitions against older kids because no one should ever try less
than his best, that was his mother's most important rule -- and on to how,
admiring his parents as he did, he asked them what experiences had served them
best, and his father claimed to have learned his most valuable life lessons
during a hitch in the Navy.
"So it was natural for me to want to emulate that," Stockdale
concludes, and is suddenly silent. He's answered the question as best he can,
and is ready for the next one.
His uncle, Stockdale notes, was a World War I fighter pilot. Young Jim wanted
to emulate him. Mom Stockdale wanted to know why her only child thought he
could be a pilot, when there was so much risk involved.
"I told her I had good coordination, and that I felt I could make good,
quick decisions," Stockdale says. "I didn't think of being a pilot
as just flying around in the sky. I went in expecting I would end up fighting
at some point. See, that was the attitude for young men back then -- it's your
privilege to enjoy freedom, so be prepared to fight for it."
He did, serving for his first three years after graduation aboard ships, then
achieving his dream of becoming a fighter pilot like his uncle. There was a
break in 1961-62 when the Navy sent him to Stanford University for graduate
work, a traditional career step for officers the service has earmarked for its
highest ranks and responsibilities. At Stanford, professor Philip Rhinelander
introduced Stockdale to the works of many ancient philosophers, and his
28-year-old pupil gradually became mesmerized by what he read.
"Wisdom doesn't have any no-good-past-this-date, where it turns
sour," Stockdale says. "I saw, with fellows like Epictetus, that you
could apply ideas that were thousands of years old to modern problems. Mostly,
I was gradually taken with the idea that we can't always control the
circumstances we find ourselves in but we can always control how we respond to
Soon after Cmdr. Stockdale returned to active service, he found himself
heading fighter squadrons in Vietnam. In August 1964, he led the first
American airstrike into North Vietnam after Congress gave wider war powers to
President Johnson. Stockdale scoffs today at persistent beliefs that these
raids sought anything other than military targets -- "On mine I know,
because I was involved in putting them together." In September 1965,
Stockdale was shot down over the North Vietnamese countryside while on a
mission to destroy a key bridge.
"When I ejected, I came down in a rural area, a farm community,"
Stockdale recalls. "I felt so good because I wasn't hurt, but then I saw
this guy wearing a pith helmet and a whistle. He blew the whistle and sicced
this gang on me, and they beat me for about five minutes before he blew his
whistle again. He came over and motioned for me to get up, but I couldn't
because my left leg was poking out over here."
Stockdale's knee was virtually destroyed. He was on crutches for his first two
years in prison, and after his eventual release, American doctors told him it
was "too screwed up" to be even partially fixed through surgery. His
back was injured, too. His captors hauled him up, put some rudimentary
bandages on the wounds they'd just inflicted, and, for three days, drove their
prisoner around in what the semiconscious Stockdale thought were circles.
Finally, he was brought to Hoa Lo prison, the legendary "Hanoi
"They hauled me in and dropped me in front of the commissar, who spoke
pretty good English," Stockdale says. "He said, 'OK, you're
Stockdale. When do you think Jenkins will come in?' Jenkins was one of my
fliers. They wanted to throw me for a loop by using his name. After a while,
we POWs figured out the Viet Cong would go over to Hong Kong, buy the
newspapers to get the names of those who'd been shot down and comments from
those who weren't. So they'd read something about Jenkins and could drop his
name on me. So simple, so foolproof. And that's the first I saw of how they
were trying to play us."
Hoa Lo, Stockdale says, "was a political prison, not really a
prisoner-of-war camp. They weren't just keeping us there until the war was
over. They were trying to use us for their own purposes, which were making us
confess to their ridiculous propaganda. They had a small stage built downtown,
and when somebody gave in and would say what they wanted, they'd take him
there and make a show of it. And every time that happened, it hurt America,
hurt our country."
As senior officer among the POWs, Stockdale automatically became their leader.
He was appalled by what he discovered.
"Some people who, prior to my arrival, had been senior, had not betrayed
their trust as highest-ranking officers, but they had been too silent,"
Stockdale recalls. "They did not say to the others, 'Do not in any way
cooperate with our captors.' They simply sat and watched things happen. I
announced I was now running things. I didn't get any dissent."
Since outright war had never been declared, it was not certain whether the
Viet Cong were required to treat their prisoners according to the Geneva
Convention -- no torture, sufficient food, only requiring prisoners to recite
name, rank and serial number.
The Viet Cong, Stockdale says, used torture and anything else they could think
of to coerce POWs into "confessing" war crimes. His first message to
his fellow prisoners was simple.
"I told them that we must take control over our own destinies,"
Stockdale says. "Just like Epictetus and others taught, though I didn't
throw those names around. I said we had to accept the idea of being tortured,
that the experience wouldn't be as bad, probably, as the fear of torture
before it even happened. We had to show these people that we wouldn't be
forced to do something we all knew was wrong."
As their leader, Stockdale says, he had to set an example. He was tortured
many times -- usually with "the ropes. That was where they'd tie our arms
behind our backs and pull tight, pretty much dislocating the shoulders. Then
they'd push your head down between your legs, by putting their foot on the
back of your neck. The pressure would cut off circulation to the upper body.
Sometimes, for variety, there were the leg irons, torture irons that twisted
you. Of course, it hurt. Bones were sometimes broken. But the idea was not to
do what they demanded no matter how much it hurt, because after a while they'd
have to get the message that torturing us served no purpose. Only then would
they stop doing it."
Early on, Stockdale was made a particular target of his captors. He was the
POW leader; it was obvious he was counseling defiance. He was informed one day
that he would be taken downtown to read a propaganda statement.
"A guard we called the Rat handed me a safety razor in my cell, so I
could clean myself up and look presentable," Stockdale recalls, speaking
as calmly as though he were describing a Sunday picnic with his family.
"They were always careful not to torture us in ways that would look too
obvious, like punishment to the face. They wanted it to seem like we were
making these statements of our own free will, which of course would have been
ludicrous. At any rate, I took that razor after he turned away and cut swaths
down my head until I had the blood running down my shoulders."
Shocked, Stockdale's guards dragged him into an interrogation room. He would
still be taken out to make a statement, they told him; they'd just staunch his
head wounds and make him wear a hat. After checking to see there were no sharp
objects in the room that Stockdale could use to cut himself further, they left
to find the hat.
"While they were gone, I picked up a mahogany stool and bashed my own
face with it," Stockdale says. "Both my eyes swelled up and closed.
When they came back in with the hat, they couldn't believe it. They couldn't
take me out in public now because anyone seeing it would think they'd beaten
me to make me cooperate. One of 'em said to me, 'What will we tell the
commissar?' and I said, 'You tell him the commander of the POWs decided not to
go downtown.' "
As punishment, Stockdale spent much of the next two years in solitary
confinement, usually in leg irons. He was tortured more than a dozen times.
Undeterred, he communicated with other prisoners by tapping out code on cell
walls with tin cups. Whenever he was allowed to talk directly with other
Americans, he instructed them to resist any form of cooperation with the Viet
"We had a few who didn't see it that way, but most did," Stockdale
Always, he recommended that the POWs try to find something to laugh about.
"It wasn't like Hogan's Heroes or anything, but we did have our funny
moments," he says. "One favorite time involved a guy named Jim
Mulligan. We always suspected a lot of the guards didn't speak much English;
they'd only pretend to understand it. The Rat was one of those. Now, what
they'd do was to give us papers to read with some of their left-wing
propaganda on it. You'd read it, they'd ask your opinion of it, and if you
said it was crap -- which it always was -- then they might beat you. Well, the
Rat gives Jim a paper with that crap written on it, Jim reads it, the Rat asks
what he thinks and Jim says, 'I think it's ridiculous.' So the Rat gets mad,
don't remember if he hit him that time, but he yells about how Jim has no
right to talk to a North Vietnamese officer like that. 'Tell me again what you
think,' the Rat yells, and Jim looks him in the eye and says, 'I'm very sorry,
I shouldn't have said it was ridiculous. I should have said it was sheer
bull----.' And the Rat says to Jim, 'That's better. Keep a civil tongue in
your head.' Oh, we laughed about that."
In 1969, North Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh died. The guards at Hoa Lo had
tears in their eyes as they interacted with the POWs. Torture sessions grew
even more frequent. Again, Stockdale was a particular target.
"I considered myself the leader," he recalls. "I had to
retaliate, had to show them we Americans were not going to be broken."
After a particularly nasty session, Stockdale was left alone in a cell that
had a window. Struggling to his feet, staggering on his bad leg, he smashed
the window and used a long shard of glass to slice his own arms. The object,
he says, was to impress on his captors that no amount of suffering would make
"Eventually, I passed out in a pool of my own blood," he says.
"I came to the next morning about 4 a.m. They brought in a cot, made me
lay on it and put a guard with a rifle by the foot of the cot so I couldn't do
anything else to myself."
Later that morning, the commissar came to inform Stockdale there would be an
investigation of the American's actions. The POW commander was placed back in
solitary confinement. A few months later, the prison had a new commissar.
Incidents of torture ceased almost completely. Stockdale had finally made his
"They didn't give us as much crap after that," he says quietly,
gazing out his window and perhaps seeing the Hoa Lo interrogation chamber
instead of his flower-filled back yard. "We'd shut off the torture
When the war finally ended in 1973, Stockdale and his fellow Hanoi Hilton POWs
came home. He reunited with his wife, Sybil, and four sons. Though his name
briefly made national headlines, few Americans wanted to think about Vietnam
anymore, and public fascination with a heroic prisoner of war quickly faded.
Stockdale had a brief tour of duty as a naval wing commander, but his left leg
still couldn't bend, making it hard to clamber into a cockpit and practically
impossible to bail out in case of emergency. So he became president of the
Naval War College, then president of The
Citadel, and finally signed on as an analyst at Stanford University's Hoover
Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. He devoted himself to writing books,
giving lectures and designing college courses about morality and war -- the
responsibilities of soldiers to their countries and to themselves.
Then, in 1992, Ross Perot called.
"I was in my office at Hoover one afternoon when the phone rang,"
Stockdale recalls. "He said, 'Hey. Jim, this is Ross. You know, I made a
fool of myself on Larry King's TV show the other day and said I'd run for
president. To get on the ballot in about 25 states, I have to have a vice-
presidential candidate. Would you let me use your name as a stand-in, just for
a couple weeks until I can find a politician to run with me?' "
Stockdale knew Perot, though not well. He'd been impressed to learn of Perot's
outspoken support for POWs during the Vietnam conflict and was thoroughly
unimpressed with most politicians he'd encountered.
"So I said 'OK,' figuring it would only be for a few weeks and knowing I
wouldn't actually have to give speeches or do any kind of campaigning,"
Stockdale says. "I liked the idea of Ross or any nontraditional guy
upsetting the usual political balance. Some time goes by, and all of a sudden
there are these notices about a TV debate between the vice-presidential
candidates, and I'm listed as one of them. It's only a couple of days away. So
I call Ross and say, 'Hey, I'm off the hook on this debate thing, aren't I?'
and he says, 'Oh, the invitation came three weeks ago and we accepted for you.
Weren't you told?' "
Dan Quayle and Al Gore had speechwriters and advisers to help them bone up on
issues. They rehearsed sound-bite responses. Stockdale had no staff. His only
speeches had been made at military conferences and in classrooms, where taking
45 minutes to offer thoroughly reasoned opinions was routine.
"I had never even had a political conversation with Ross Perot,"
Stockdale says. "So I couldn't talk about what he believed in. I guess I
could have refused to go on that debate, but someone had accepted in my name
and I felt that obligated me."
Beatings during his POW days had robbed Stockdale of much of his hearing. Just
before the televised debate began, his hearing aid conked out. Sometimes, when
he seemed to stumble answering questions, it was because he wasn't entirely
certain what he had been asked.
"Even if I had heard everything, I had no practice giving glib, short
answers like those other two," Stockdale says. "When I started with
'Who am I? What am I doing here?' my thought was to explain the difference
between me and professional politicians, that I had some real-life experience
that they didn't. But I got cut off, and it sort of went downhill from
Former Speaker of the House Jim Wright, who watched the debate, says
"there's no doubt Admiral Stockdale gave the impression he was a gabby
old man who didn't know what he was doing. That sounds harsh, I know, and it
wasn't fair. But it was the result."
The next day, Medal of Honor recipient James B. Stockdale was a national
laughingstock. But the comedians who mocked him in monologues had no idea he
was laughing at himself.
"Afterward, some of the other boys at Hoover and I would go out to lunch,
and we'd try to figure out what things I'd said that were the unintentional
funniest," Stockdale says. "I guess the eventual winner was that one
line of mine, 'I think I'm out of ammunition here.' "
Perot eventually took 18 percent of the popular vote, the best showing by an
independent party presidential candidate since Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose
candidacy in 1912. Stockdale went back to the Hoover Institute. Though
strangers might have made fun of him, he says, Hoover colleagues and old Navy
friends never did. He lost no sleep regretting how he'd performed. Regret, he
notes, is simply a waste of energy.
"If, sometimes, people would recognize me and poke fun, I would just
remind myself that I controlled my own life," Stockdale says.
"Character is permanent; events are transient. But I will say this --
because I would have approached things pragmatically, because I would have
favored substance over slickness, I think I would have made a pretty good vice
Stockdale has retired from the Hoover Institute. Back home in Coronado, he's
not exactly a celebrity. His number's right there in the phone book.
"If anyone wants to talk to me, I'm here," he says. But very few
strangers ever show up on his doorstep. Mostly, anyone knocking is an old
Though not a man given to cracking jokes, Stockdale's quirky sense of humor is
evident in another way. Over the course of his career, he attended lots of
events with presidents and afterward was sent the requisite signed photos of
himself -- with Ford, Reagan and George W. Bush (there are none from the elder
Bush, but then, the Perot/Stockdale ticket opposed him during the 1992
campaign). All these photos are prominently displayed in a downstairs
If there's a current frustration in Stockdale's life, it's that important
world events are unfolding and he isn't helping his country.
"I've had experience in learning how those from foreign cultures may hate
us, and some success in proving to them that their hate will not deter
Americans," Stockdale says. "If I should be asked, by the current
president or our military leaders, to offer some thoughts, some suggestions,
I'd certainly do it. But I guess they're not going to ask."
As a visitor prepares to leave after hours of conversation, Stockdale
considers a final question: In his own heart, how would he like to be
remembered? How does he want people to think of him?
"I guess I'd like to be thought of as a guy who tried to help his
country," Stockdale says after several moments. "Maybe as someone
who never shirked battle, who realized it was an honor to be an American and
tried to live up to the responsibilities of that honor at any personal
That's who he was. That's what he was doing here.
Posted 3/05/02: (A Memorable Speech by John McCain)
> Speech by John McCain Forrestal Lecture Series -
U.S. Naval Academy
> October 9, 2001
> Thank you. It's a great privilege to be again asked to participate in
> Forrestal Lecture Series. I'm always very glad, and somewhat amazed,
> find myself in distinguished circumstances at the Naval Academy,
> my less than distinguished career here. It's a great country, my friends.
> one knows that more than an old midshipman who was once in a neck and neck
> race for the honor of being anchorman. I'm very relieved if later in life
> might have done something to give the Academy reason to hope, against all
> odds, that it would not always be embarrassed to claim an association with
> me. I am also quite proud that a distinguished graduate and great supporte
> the Academy, a great patriot, and a great friend, John McMullen, joins us
> this evening. John's presence makes your kind invitation to me an even
> greater privilege.
> I had intended to use this occasion to share a few of my thoughts
> the reorganization of our armed forces as the administration began to
> outline its plans with the release of the Quadrennial Defense Review last
> week. It was, of course, an extremely important subject before September
> 11th, and it is all the more so now. The threats to the security of the
> United States, to the very lives and property of Americans, have changed
> the last decade. The attacks of September 11th have made more urgent the
> already urgent task, of reorganizing our military to make sure that we
> the people, weapons and planning necessary to ensure not only the success
> our world leadership, international peace and stability and the global
> progress of our values, but to safeguard the survival of the American way
> In the months ahead, no task before the Administration and the
> be more important or require greater care and deliberation than making the
> changes necessary to strengthen our national defense in this new,
> era of world history.
> I take my responsibility in this important work very seriously, and I
> to take part in the debate, using all the judgment, however modest, that
> experience has granted me. But I have decided to wait for a later occasion
> more thoroughly address the subject.
> Because of the attacks on our country, and because of the presence
> so many who have or had the privilege of wearing the uniform of the United
> States, I thought it more appropriate to speak tonight directly to the
> midshipmen, and to speak of more enduring themes than defense
> as timely and important as that subject is. I thought I might share some
> thoughts about the privilege, the duty and the honor, that was once mine,
> is now yours.
> On September 11, our country was attacked by a depraved, malevolent
> that hates every value Americans hold dear. It was a terrible blow that no
> one alive today will ever forget. But we will survive it. Our enemies will
> not. I have every confidence that the American people and their government
> will remain resolute in waging the war that has been declared on us. We
> been attacked and we are fighting back. And woe to anyone who dares oppose
> We have now begun the first phase of military operations against our
> enemies. As President Bush has explained, this war will have many
> components, diplomatic, financial, intelligence. It will include both
> overt and covert operations. But American military power is essential
> success. There should be no confusion about that. Nor should Mr. bin Laden
> anyone who wishes this country harm have any doubt about what America can
> accomplish by force when we are obliged to use it. They wrongly believed
> could destroy the way we live our lives. They are now just beginning to
> understand just how radically their lives are going to change.
> The professionalism and power of our armed forces, stronger by a
> of ten than any other nation on earth, is something only a fool would
> underestimate. When it is brought to bear in great and terrible measure it
> a thing to strike terror into the heart of anyone who opposes it. No
> is big enough, no cave deep enough to hide from the fury of American
> power when we are committed to victory. We must not shrink from using it,
> whatever measure necessary, to defeat our enemies, wherever they are.
> I agree that we will have to use force wisely to avoid inflaming the
> for America that our enemies have been allowed to sow in the Islamic
> Toward that end, we should try hard to minimize noncombatant casualties.
> we can use means other than force in some countries to achieve our goal,
> we should. But we must keep our attention firmly fixed on our primary
> Our goal is to vanquish terrorism, not reduce it, not change its
> not temporarily subdue it, but vanquish it. All other concerns are
> It is a difficult, demanding task we have undertaken. We must expect and
> prepare for our enemies to strike us again before they are vanquished.
> f this war will be fought at home. And the casualties that we will suffer
> again include civilians. We must keep our nerve at all costs. We should
> no more force than necessary, but no less than necessary. Fighting this
> in half measures will only give our enemies time and opportunity to strike
> again. We must change and change permanently the mindset of terrorists,
> who give them sanctuary and support, and those parts of Islamic
> who believe the terrorist conceit that they will ultimately prevail in a
> conflict with the West, that America has not the stomach to wage a
> relentless, long term, and, at times, ruthless war to destroy them.
> We are at war, a new kind of war as the President has rightly called
> might not involve nations clashing in conventional sea, land and air
> although it is possible that it could come to that. I should add that I
> consider the operations in Afghanistan that commenced on Sunday to be a
> against a nation, much less a war against the Muslim world. The Taliban
> Al Queda are not legitimate representatives of that country, they are
> terrorists, period, who represent evil, not nations. But whatever this
> unique attributes, it is war nonetheless, and like all wars it will
> sacrifice and hardship and casualties. And like all wars it will occasion
> great heroism.
> This war will still be underway, in one form or another, when some of
> perhaps all of you, receive your commissions. Eighty-thousand sailors and
> marines have already been summoned to war. Over three dozen warships,
> including the carriers Enterprise, Carl Vinson, Theodore Roosevelt and the
> Kitty Hawk have been deployed. Four battle groups, including Marine Corps
> Amphibious Ready Groups, destroyers, cruisers, submarines and support
> are on station. We know that much of the air campaign to date has been
> from American and British ships. And although this war cannot and will not
> fought only with cruise missiles and from 15,000 feet in the air, the Navy
> Marine Corps are always an essential instrument of American power,
> service will be essential to our victory, in Afghanistan and beyond if
> necessary. It is your duty and your honor to defend the greatest nation in
> history in its hour of need. I envy you.
> I say that fully aware of the hardships and risks that we impose on
> send to fight for us. I say that fully aware of the horrors that war
> inevitably visits on the innocent. I don't think war is glorious. I don't
> know a veteran who cherishes a romantic remembrance of war. All wars are
> awful. When nations must defend themselves by force of arms, a million
> tragedies ensue. Nothing, not the valor with which it is fought nor the
> nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify the cruel and merciless
> of warfare. That's what makes war a thing to be avoided if possible. But
> is not possible now. There was no avoiding the war we are in today anymore
> than we could have avoided world war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
> In truth, this war was declared by our enemies long before the
> September 11. And our reluctance to recognize this reality, and
> ourselves to unconditional victory, has been a very costly mistake
> the only things worse than war are the consequences of refusing to wage
> win it when our vital interests and founding ideals are at stake.
> Our enemies have now made plain to us the clear and present danger
> to our physical security and to the very essence of our culture, liberty.
> Only the most willfully deluded Americans could doubt the necessity of
> war. We must fight. And we must prevail.
> The term of art for the warfare of terrorists is asymmetrical. It is
> kind of warfare practiced by militarily inferior forces against
> ones. We are most certainly militarily superior to our enemies. But
> the Soviet Union when it invaded Afghanistan, if not nearly to the extent
> that we are, as al Queda and their Taliban allies are now learning. Yet
> ensures our success is that our military superiority is matched only by
> superiority of our ideals, and our unconquerable love for them. Our
> are weaker than us in arms and men, but they are weaker still in causes.
> fight to express their irrational hatred for all that is good in humanity,
> hatred that has fallen time and again to the armies and ideals of the
> righteous. We fight for love of freedom and justice, a love that is
> invincible. We will never surrender. They will.
> The obligation of victory is shared by all Americans, but not
> public and the men and women they elect to serve them must share a
> to see this war through to a just end, whatever the costs incurred,
> whatever setbacks we might encounter. As in all wars, we must endure
> we prevail. Our elected leaders, from the most obscure office holder to
> Commander-in-Chief, must not, as the President so eloquently promised,
> falter or fail. The President and his able cabinet must, and I am
> will, wage this war wisely and decisively. But government is responsible
> the summons. It falls to the men and women of the United States Armed
> it falls to you to give the answer. This is a righteous cause, and there
> much honor in your summons, but more honor still in your answer. I have no
> doubt that you are worthy of it. No doubt at all.
> In America, our rights come before our duties, as well they should.
> free people, and among those freedoms is the liberty to sacrifice or not
> for our birthright. We no longer have military conscription. Nor do
> it because we can rely on the patriotism of more than sufficient numbers
> Americans to defend willingly the liberty of us all. Yet early in life,
> have grasped a great truth: that those who claim their liberty but not
> duty to the civilization that ensures it live a half-life, having indulged
> their vanity and self-interest at the cost of their self-respect. The
> man or woman, the most successful and celebrated of our citizens possesses
> nothing important if their lives have no greater object than themselves.
> may be masters of their fate, but what a poor destiny it is that claims no
> higher cause than wealth and fame.
> I do not believe that war and military service are the only means to
> in America. God grants us all the privilege of having our character
> our patriotism tested. But those who wear the uniform of the United
> know better than anyone the meaning of American citizenship.
> Should we claim our rights and leave to others our duty to the nation
> protects them? Whatever we gain for ourselves will be of little
> value. It will build no monuments to virtue, claim no place in
> of posterity, offer no worthy summons to aspiring nations.
> celebrity gained and kept for private interest is a small thing. It makes
> comfortable, eases the material hardships our children will bear,
> fleeting regard for our lives, yet not the self-respect that in the end
> matter to you most. But sacrifice for a cause greater than self-interest
> you invest your lives with the eminence of that cause, your self-respect
> My father's generation fought depression and world war. Members of my
> generation fought in the Cold War and in the struggle for a more
> union, a more just society. Some fought in uniform and some did not,
> all rendered good service to America and humanity. Service in worthy
> give our lives meaning. They give even the most obscure names historical
> importance. Even when the names of the men and women who serve in them are
> forgotten, the world will still remember what they did.
> When I was a young man, I thought glory was the highest ambition, and
> all glory was self-glory. My parents tried to teach me otherwise, as did
> Naval Academy. But I didn't understand the lesson until later in life,
> confronted challenges I never expected to face.
> In that confrontation, I discovered I was dependent on others to a
> extent than I had ever realized, but that neither they nor the cause
> served made any claims on my identity. On the contrary, they gave me
> larger sense of myself than I had before. I discovered that nothing
> more liberating than to fight for a cause larger than yourself;
> that encompasses you, but is not defined by your existence alone.
> I have held a public trust since I graduated from the Academy
> years ago. I have never lived a single day, in good times and bad,
> wasn't grateful for the privilege. This country and her causes are a
> blessing to mankind, and they honor all who work to make America a
> place, and a greater influence on human history.
> For all the terrible problems that still afflict humanity, the 21st
> would have dawned on a much less hopeful world absent America's place
> This is what our enemies fail to understand. But they'll know it soon
> enough. As they race to their bunkers and caves while the might of
> world's only superpower concentrates on their destruction, they will
> just how powerful a force for good we are.
> Until the end of time, will there ever be a nation such as ours? I
> imagine that any other nation's history will ever so profoundly
> progress of the human race. That is not boastful chauvinism. It is a
> profession of faith in the American creed, and in the patriots who
> understood what history expects of us, and who saw to it that America
> exceeded even the loftiest aspirations of our founders.
> We are not a perfect nation. Prosperity and power might delude us
> thinking we have achieved that distinction, but challenges unforeseen
> mere generation ago command every good citizen's concern and labor.
> we have achieved in our brief history is irrefutable proof that a nation
> conceived in liberty will prove stronger than any nation ordered to exalt
> few at the expense of the many or made from a common race or culture or to
> preserve traditions that have no greater attribute than longevity.
> As blessed as we are, as empowered by liberty as we are, no nation
> complacent in its greatness can long sustain it. We are an unfinished
> nation. And we are not a people of half-measures. We must all take
> place, give our counsel, direct our passion to the enduring task of
> national greatness.
> I believe we were all shaken from whatever complacency we may have
> before September 11. And that is one good thing to have arisen from the
> of the World Trade Center. But it is only good so long as the
> absence of complacency does not provoke an absence of confidence.
> enemies have sought to destroy is beyond their reach. We must all have
> in that truth. Armed with the power of our faith, we can endure whatever
> trials we must face.
> Our enemies think we are weak, spared by prosperity from the hard
> life, bred only for comfort and easy pleasure, and not the violent, cruel
> struggle they plan for us. The hatred that cramps their hearts has
> from their judgment all wisdom and understanding about the power of
> civilization they battle.
> Twelve years ago, in the first days of the last days of the Soviet
> a young Czech student stood before a million of his countrymen, while
> hundred thousand Soviet troops occupied his country, and, trembling with
> emotion, read a manifesto that declared a new day for the peoples of
> Eastern Europe. But he began that new day with borrowed words when he
> "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are
> and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that
> these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
> The message of the American revolution is the central truth of human
> existence. Liberty is our God-given right. No one shall take it from
> We fight today, we will fight tomorrow, we will fight to the end of
> preserve it.
> Our enemies have used our liberty to their cruel ends. But our
> not our weakness. It is our strength. We will not let it be
> by fear. Our enemies have never had the strength to take our freedom
> us. They have taken innocent life. That is the limit of their power. And
> awakened to their threat, we will destroy that power too.
> The terror our enemies have tried to sow in the hearts of Americans
> now be the essence of their lives, however abbreviated their lives
> And when they meet their Maker they will learn that they had their
> wrong. Right, not hate, makes might. As they experience our power, so
> they know the full measure of our righteousness. And as their last hour
> approaches they can ask an all-loving God for mercy. But don't ask us. We
> bring justice, not mercy.
> Soon you will be the shield behind which marches the enduring message
> our revolution. There is no greater duty, no greater honor. Your
> needs you. Humanity needs you. Hold that honor as dearly as your country
> holds you. Hold it as dearly as do those who have already been called to
> battle. Hold it as if it were your greatest treasure. Because it is.
> Whatever sacrifices you must bear, you will know a happiness far more
> sublime than pleasure.
> My warrior days were long ago, but not so long ago that I have
> their purpose and their reward. This is your call to arms. This
> moment to make history. There will never be another nation such as
> Take good care of her. The fate of the world depends upon it.
> bless you, as He has blessed America with your service.
> Thank you.
Posted 12/16/02: (From Frank Duffy)
World War IV
Speech by James Woolsey at The National War College
16 November 2002
I was really quite honored when
David asked me a few months ago
to be with you this weekend. But, to tell you the truth, in the 34
years I've been in Washington until I went straight this last summer and
joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a vice president, I spent the bulk of
that time, 22 years, as: A. a lawyer; and B. in Washington D.C.; and,
then, I C. spent some time out at the CIA in D. the Clinton
Administration. So I'm actually pretty well honored to be invited into
any polite company for any purposes whatsoever.
I have adopted Eliot Cohen's
professor at Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies,
we are in World War IV, World War III having been the Cold War. And I
think Eliot's formulation fits the circumstances really better than
describing this as a war on terrorism.
Let me say a few words about
who our enemy is in this World War
IV, why they're at war with us and (now) we with them, and how
we have to think about fighting it both at home and abroad.
First of all, who are they?
Well, there are at least three,
but I would say principally three movements, of a sort, all coming out
Middle East . And the interesting thing is that they've been at war
with us for years. The Islamist Shia, the ruling circles, the ruling
the Mullahs of Iran, minority -- definite minority of the Iranian Shiite
Clerics, but those who constitute the ruling force in Iran and sponsor
and back Hezbollah, have been at war with us for nearly a quarter of a
century. They seized our hostages in 1979 in Tehran. They blew up
our embassy and our Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983. They've
conducted a wide range of terrorist acts against the United States for
something now close to a quarter of a century.
The second group is the
fascists - and I don't use that as an
expletive - the Baathist parties of Iraq and really Syria as well, are
essentially fascist parties or modeled after the fascist parties of the
'30s. They're totalitarian, they're anti-Semitic, they're fascist.
Baathists in Iraq have been at war with us for over a decade. For
Saddam, the Gulf War never stopped. He says it never stopped. He
behaves as if it never stopped. He tried to assassinate former
President Bush in 1993 in Kuwait. He has various ties, not amounting to
direction and control, but various associations with different terrorist
groups over the years, including al-Qaeda. He shoots at our aircraft,
again yesterday, over the no-fly zones. He's still at war. He signed
cease fire, which he's not observing, and so it's even clearer that he
war. And he has been so for at least 11 years.
The third group, and the one
that caused us finally to notice,
is the Islamist Sunni. And this is the most, in some ways, I think
and long-term portion of these three groupings that are at war with us,
and will be at war, I think, for a long time. The Wahhabi movement,
the religious movement in Saudi Arabia dating back to the 18th century
and with roots even well before that, was joined in the '50s and '60s
by immigration into Saudi Arabia by Islamists, or a more modern stripe
of essentially the same ideology, many of them coming from Egypt.
And the very fundamentalist -- Islamist I think is the best formulation
-- groups of this sort, more or less focused on what they call the near
enemy. Say the barbaric regime in Egypt, and to some extent, the Saudi
royal family - the attacks in 1979 on the great mosques in Mecca.
They were focusing on what they called the "near enemy" until sometime
in the mid 1990's. Around 1994, they decided to turn and focus
their concentration and effort on what they call the Crusaders and Jews,
mainly us. And they have been at war with us since at least about
1994, give or take a year or so, in number of well-noted terrorists
incidents, including the Cole and the cast African embassy bombings and,
of course, September 11th.
What is different after
September 11th is not that these three
groups came to be at war with us. They've been at war with us for some
time. It's that we finally, finally may have noticed and have decided
at least, in part, that we are at war with them. If these are the three
groupings -- and by the way, I think of these more or less as analogous
to three mafia families. They do hate each other and they do kill
each other from time to time. But they hate us a great deal more and
they're perfectly willing and perfectly capable to assist one another in
one way or another, including Iraq and al-Qaeda.
If that's whom we're at war
with, why? Why did they decide to
come after us? I think there are two basic reasons. The first, and the
underlying one was best expressed to me last January by a D.C. cab
driver. Now, I resolutely refuse - since I'm not ever in elective
can afford to do this - I refuse to read any articles about public
opinion polls. And with the time I save, I talk to D.C. cab drivers.
It is both
more enjoyable and I think in many ways a much better finger on the
pulse of the nation. And I got into a cab last January, the day after
former President Clinton gave a speech at Georgetown University, in
which he implied -- he didn't exactly say, but pretty well implied --
the reason we were attacked on September 11th, was because America's
conduct of slavery and the treatment of the American Indian
historically. And as I got into the cab, I saw that the cab driver was
one of my favorite varieties of D.C. cab drivers, an older, black
American long-term resident of D.C., a guy about my age. And the
Washington Times article was open in the front seat to that story of the
President's speech. So as I got in, I said to the cab driver, "I see
your paper in the front there. Did you read that piece about President
Clinton's speech yesterday?"
He said, "Oh, yeah."
I said, "What did you
think about it?" He said,
"These people don't hate
us for what we've done wrong. They
hate us for what we do right."
You can't do better than that.
We're hated because of freedom
of speech, because of freedom of religion, because of our economic
freedom, because of our equal - or at least almost equal - treatment of
women, because of all the good things that we do. This is like the war
against Nazism. We are hated because of what of what we are. But
if hated, why attacked? Well, I would suggest that we have for
much of the last quarter of the century -- not all, but much -- have
been essentially hanging a "Kick Me" sign on our back in the Middle
East. We have given some evidence of being what bin Laden has actually
called a paper tiger.
My friend, Tom Moore, a former
chairman of the Joint Chiefs,
and maybe known to some of you here, was a young officer at the end
of World War II and participated in the interrogations of Prince Konoe
and several of the Japanese leaders of the handful who were
eventually hanged. And the team he was with asked all of them, "Why
you do it. Why did you attack us at Pearl Harbor?" He said, they
all said pretty much the same thing. They said, "We looked at what
were doing in the '20s and '30s. You were disarming. You
wouldn't fortify Wake Island. You wouldn't fortify Guam. Your army
to drill with wooden rifles. We had no idea that this rich spoiled,
feckless country would do what you did after December 7 of 1941. You
Flash forward three quarters of
a century. I think we gave a
lot of evidence to Saddam and to the Islamist Shia in Tehran and
Hezbollah and to the Islamist Sunni that we were for a long time,
essentially, a rich, spoiled feckless country that wouldn't fight. In
they took our hostages and we tied yellow ribbons around trees and
launched an ineffective effort, crashing helicopters in the desert to
rescue them.In 1983, they blew up our embassy and our marine barracks in
Beirut. What did we do? We left. Throughout much of the
1980's, various terrorist acts were committed against us. We would
occasionally arrest a few small fry, with one honorable exception --
President Reagan's strike against Tripoli.But generally speaking, we
litigated instead of doing much else with the terrorist acts of the
In 1991, President Bush
organized a magnificent coalition
against the seizure of Kuwait by Saddam Hussein. We fought the war
superbly -- and then stopped it while the Republican guard was intact.
And after having encouraged the Kurds and the Shiia to rebel
against Saddam, we stood back, left the bridges intact, left their units
intact, let them fly helicopters around carrying troops and missiles,
we watched the Kurds and Shiia who were winning in 15 of Iraq's 18
provinces, to be massacred. And the world looked at us and said, well,
we know what the Americans value. They save their oil in Saudi Arabia
and Kuwait and after that, they didn't care.
And then in 1993, Saddam tries
to assassinate former President
Bush in Kuwait with a bomb, and President Clinton fires a couple of
dozen cruise missiles into an empty building in the middle of the night
in Baghdad, thereby retaliating quite effectively against Iraqi cleaning
women and night watchmen, but not especially effectively against Saddam
In 1993, our helicopters were
shot down in Mogadishu and as in
Beirut in ten years earlier, we left.
And throughout the rest of the
'90s, we continued our practice
of the '80s.Instead of sending military force, we usually sent
prosecutors and litigators. We litigate well in the United States.
we would occasionally catch some small-fry terrorists in the United
States or elsewhere, and prosecute them. And once in a while, lob a few
bombs or cruise missiles from afar. And that was it until after
September 11th. So I would suggest that our response after September
11th in Afghanistan, like our response against the Japanese after
Pearl Harbor, was something that was quite surprising to our enemies in
the Middle East who attacked us. I think they were quite surprised
at what we did in Afghanistan. But, you have to admit, like the
Japanese at the beginning of the '40s, the Islamists, both Shia and
the fascist Baathists in the Middle East at the beginning of the 21st
Century, had some rationale and some evidence for believing this rich,
spoiled, feckless country would not fight.
If that's why we're at war, how
must we fight it at home and
abroad? At home the war is going to be difficult in two ways. One is
the infrastructure which serves this wonderful country is the most
technologically sophisticated infrastructure the world has ever seen.
are a society of dozens -- hundreds of networks. Food processing and
delivery, the internet, financial transfers, oil and gas pipelines, on
on and on. None of these was put together with a single thought being
given to being resilient against terrorism. All are open, relatively
easy access. Their vulnerable and dangerous points are highlighted.
Transformer here, hazardous chemicals here, cable crossing here
because we need to do maintenance. We haven't had to worry about
domestic violence against our civilian infrastructure, with the
exception of Sherman burning some plantations on his march to the sea,
since the British burned Washington in 1814.
So virtually all of our
infrastructure has been put together
with this sense of openness and ease of access and resilience -- some
resilience -- against random failures. But random failures is not what
we saw September 11th and a year ago, and I'm afraid not what we will
see in the future.
About seven years ago, one of
our communication satellites'
computer chips failed. The satellite lost its altitude control and
immediately 90 percent of the pagers in the country went down. The next
day, they were back up again because somebody had figured out
how to reroute them to a different satellite. That's the kind of thing
we do all the time. That's not what happened a year ago September
In the preparations for
September 11th that were taking place
sometime in the late 1990's or 2000, a group of very sharp and very evil
men sat down and said to themselves, something like this. Let's see.
The foolish Americans when they do baggage searches at airports
ignore short knives like box cutters. And short knives can slit throats
just as easily as long knives. Second, if you can believe it, they
conduct themselves with respect to airplane hijackings as if all
hijackings are going to go to Cuba and they' re just going to have to
the ground for a few hours. So they tell their air crews and everyone
to be very polite to hijackers. This is also good. And third, even
though twice a year going back many years, there have been crazy people
who get into the cockpits of their civilian airliners and people
write in to the FAA and say, you ought to do something about this, they
continue to have flimsy cockpit doors on their airliners. Let's see.
Short knives, polite to hijackers, friendly cockpit doors. We can take
over airliners, fly them into buildings, and kill thousands of them.
is not a random failure. That is a planned use of part of our
infrastructure to kill Americans. It's going for the jugular, going for
Einstein used to say, "God
may be sophisticated, but he's not
plain mean." And what I think Einstein meant by that is, since for him
nature and God were pretty much the same thing, if you're playing
against nature and trying to say, discover a new principle of physics,
sophisticated problem. It's going to be very tough. But there's
over there trying to outwit you and make it harder. In war and
terrorism, there is. There is someone who is trying to do that. And
have not given a single thought to how to manage our infrastructure
for the possibility of an attack on our own soil, something we have not
had to deal with for 200 years -- since 1814 - when the British
burned the White House. We have just-in-time delivery to hold down
operational costs until somebody puts a dirty bomb in one of the
50,000 containers that crosses U.S. borders every day and people decide
they have to start inspecting virtually all of the containers at ports
and all that just-in-time manufacturing is stopped after four or five
days. Full hospitals. Great idea. Keep hospital costs down.
costs down. Move people through hospitals rapidly. All hospitals 99
percent occupancy, et cetera. Wonderful idea, until there's a
bioterrorist attack and then thousands or hundreds or thousands or
millions of Americans need some sort of special healthcare.
All of these networks have
their weak points and many of them
have incentives in them to -- not for this purpose of course -- but
essentially to be vulnerable to terrorism. We are not only going to
have to go through our infrastructure -- and this is what I'm spending a
lot of my time working on now -- we are not only going to have to go
through our infrastructure and find the functional equivalent of the
flimsy cockpit doors and get them fixed. Then, we are also going to
have to pull together and take a look at things like our electricity
our oil and gas pipelines, our container ports and the rest and figure
out ways to change the incentives so that they build in resilience and
do it in such a way that it's compatible with economic freedom in a
market economy . We don't want some bureaucrat up there ordering
people to do this and this and this. But, we have to get some
resilience, some promotion of resilience into the incentives -- tax or
-- for the way our infrastructure's managed. That's only one of the two
hard jobs we've got.
The other one, in some ways may
be even harder. We have to do
two things simultaneously here -- nobody told us it was going to be
easy. We have to fight successfully in the United States against
terrorist cells and organizations that support terrorism and we have to
with the extremely difficult fact that some of these are, at least,
superficially religiously rooted in one aspect anyway of Islam. We have
understand that the vast majority of American Muslims are certainly not
terrorists and are not sympathetic to them. But that there are
institutions and individuals and there are institutions and individuals
with a lot of money that are effectively part of the infrastructure that
encourages and supports the hatred of the West of capitalism and of us
that is manifested in terrorism. We also have to remember who we
are. We are creatures of Madison's Constitution and his Bill of Rights
and we have to step by step, intervention by intervention, remember
both that we are Americans and under a Constitution, and that we are at
war and some part of that war is here and now.
Those are very hard choices.
One by one. My personal judgment
is that none of the decisions so far made by the Administration
goes beyond what is a reasonable line of taking strong action
domestically against terrorism because the Supreme Court has
been extremely tolerant of the Executive, but especially Executive and
Congress moving together in times of crisis and war. In the Civil
War, Lincoln suspended habeas corpus even. In World War II, of course,
we had the Japanese-Americans even put in the relocation camps
in the western part of the country. In World War I, there was some very
draconian legislation also upheld by the Supreme Court. And
nothing that has been done so far by the Administration, of course, even
remotely approaches any of those. But we do have to be alert. We
do not want in the mid-21st century people looking back on us having
made some of the kinds of decisions that, for example, were made to
incarcerate the Nisei, the Japanese-Americans in World War II and
saying, how in the world could those people have done that? But this
country can do some ugly things when it gets scared. And one thing to
remember about the incarceration of the Japanese-Americans in
World War II is that the three individuals most responsible were
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the then Attorney General running for
of the State of California, Earl Warren, and the man who wrote the
Korematsu decision which upheld the constitutionality of the acts, Hugo
Black. Roosevelt, Warren, and Black, of course, were not famous for
setting up concentration camps. They were names from the liberal side
of the American political spectrum. But even people who say they have
those values can do some ugly things if they are scared and they
believe the country is scared.
What we have to do is manage
this domestic war in such a way as
to move decisively and effectively against terrorist cells and those
who support them and at the same time, make sure that we don't slip into
extraordinarily ugly, anti-constitutional steps. This is not easy.
But nobody promised us a rose garden. And it will in some ways, I
think, be one of the hardest aspects of the war.
Let me conclude by saying a few
words about how I think we have
to fight this abroad.
These three movements, I think,
require somewhat different
tactics. In some ways, the most interesting situation right now exists
the Islamist Shia, the ruling circles of Iran. Because the small
minority of Iranian Shiite mullahs who constitute the ruling circles of
effectively in the same position that the inhabitants of the Kremlin
were in 1988 or the inhabitants of Versailles in 1788, mainly the storm
quite overhead yet, but if they look at the horizon, they can see it
gathering. They have lost the students. They have lost the women.
have lost the brave newspaper editors and professors who are in prison,
some under sentence of death and being tortured. They are one by
one losing the grand Ayatollahs. Ayatollah Montazeri, a very brave man,
issuing fatwas against suicide killings has been under house arrest
for five years. Early this past summer, Ayatollah Taheri, who was a
very, very hard line supporter of the mullahs in the City of Esfahan,
issued a blast against them saying that what they were doing, supporting
tortures, supporting terrorism, was fundamentally at odds with the
tenants of Islam, more student demonstrations and indeed, the Iranians
are having enough trouble keeping the students down using Iranian
muscle, using thugs, they are starting to have to begin to import
Syrians, who don't speak Farsi, in order to be able to suppress their
demonstrations. Keep your eye on Tehran. I can't claim that it's
to change soon. The mullahs have a great deal of power. They have
oil money and the military force and the rest. But, there are, I think,
some tectonic shifts below the surface there. With respect to our own
conduct, I think the President did exactly the right thing in the early
part of the summer, when after the student demonstration surrounding
Taheri's blast, he issued a statement basically saying that the United
States was on the side of the students, not the mullahs. And it drove
mullahs absolutely crazy and I think that's evidence of the shrewdness
of the President's move.
The fascists, the Baathists in
Iraq are, of course, at the
front of everybody's concern. I think that it is good that we were able
to get a
unanimous resolution through the Security Council. But the fact that it
was unanimous, should tell us, that even the Syrians could vote for
it should tell us that it was watered down in some important ways from
the initial submission. One can argue now that the resolution
requires the United States to go through Hans Blix in order to find a
violation of the Security Council resolution, whether it's in the
declaration, which Saddam owes on December 8, or a resistance by the
Iraqis of inspections. Hans Blix, to put it as gently as I can, does
have a stellar background of inquisitiveness or decisiveness. When in
early 2000, the current U.N. inspection regime was being set up, the
first head of the inspection regime was actually proposed, who would
have been fine. The French and Russians and Chinese carrying Iraq's
water objected to him and Kofi Annan found the one U.N. bureaucrat who
would be acceptable to Saddam Hussein, namely Hans Blix.
People can change. We can hope that Hans Blix does not continue as the
Inspector Clouseau of international investigations. I hope he
does not. Let's see. But, if he does, the President under this
resolution will have some tough choices to make and perhaps, as soon as
December 8, as to whether the United States will on its own, declare
what will certainly be a lie: Saddam's declaration that he has no
weapons of mass destruction programs. Whether the United States will
decide that that is a violation of the U.N. resolution and we will
then take action. I must admit, I hope that happens because I don't
believe there is any way to solve this problem of Iraq without removing
Saddam forcefully. I wish it were otherwise, but I see no way around
As time goes on, if this winter
passes -- and winter is when
you want to fight in this region because our troops will have to wear
heavy protective gear against chemical weapons -- if this winter passes
it will be another year before we can move again and he will then be
even closer to having nuclear weapons and will have even more
sophisticated delivery means for the chemical and bacteriological
than he already has. It is a shame. It is unfortunate. But, it
dilemma that is presented to us and particularly, to the President, here
beginning around December 8. And I believe that he deserves, whatever
he decides, all the support any of us can give him.
The third group, the Islamist
Sunni, are al-Qaeda, are in many
ways, going to be the hardest to deal with because they are fueled by
money from the Gulf, Saudi Arabia principally. They are wealthy in and
of themselves. They're present in some 60 countries and they are
fanatically like the Wahhabis, who are their first cousins. They are
fanatically anti-Western, anti-modern, anti-Christian, anti-Jewish. If
want to get a feel for the infrastructure, the intellectual
infrastructure -- if you can call it that -- of their thinking, there
are websites where
one can go to pull in what the sermons are on any given Friday
throughout Saudi Arabia. I looked at one such set of sermons two or
weeks ago before some discussions we were having the defense policy
board. And the three main themes that week were that all Jews are
pigs and monkeys. The second major theme was that all Christians and
Jews are the enemy and it is our obligation to hate them and destroy
them. And the third was that women in the United States routinely
commit incest with their fathers and brothers and it is a common and
accepted thing in the United States.
This is not extraordinary.
This is the routine Wahhabi view.
One Wahhabi cleric was interviewed by a Washington Post reporter a
few weeks ago in Saudi Arabia . The Post reporter asked him, "Tell
I'm a Christian. Do you hate me?" And the Wahhabi Cleric said,
"Well, of course, if you're a Christian, I hate you. But, I'm not
to kill you." This is the moderate view. And we need to realize
as angry German nationalism of the 1920's and 1930's was the soil in
which Nazism grew, not all German nationalists became Nazis, but that
was the soil in which it grew. So the angry form of Islamism and
Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia today is the soil in which anti-Western and
anti-American terrorism grows.
This is going to be a long war,
very long indeed. I hope not
as long as the Cold War, 40 plus years, but certainly longer than either
World War I or World War II. I rather imagine it's going to be
measured, I'm afraid, in decades.
Is there any answer? Is there
any potential end to this? Now,
what I'm about to say is going to sound rather idealistic, but I think
the only thing that we can do. If you look at the world 85 years ago in
the spring of 1917, when this country entered World War I, there
were about 10 or 12 democracies in the world. The United States,
Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain, France, Switzerland, a couple
countries in Northern Europe. It was a world of empires, of kingdoms,
of colonies, and of various types of authoritarian regimes through the
world. Today, Freedom House, which I think does the best work on this
sort of thing, says that there are 120 out of 192 countries in the
world that are democracies. The world is about evenly divided between
what Freedom House calls free, such as the United States; and what
it calls partly free, such as Russia. But there are still 120 countries
with some parliamentary contested elections and some beginnings, at
least, of the rule of law. That is an amazing change in the lifetime of
many individuals now living -- from a 10 or 12 to 120 democracies in the
world. Nothing like that has ever happened in world history.
to say, we have had something to do with this, both in winning
World War I -- helping win World War I -- in prevailing, along with
Britain, in World War II; and eventually, in prevailing in the Cold War.
And along the way, a lot of people said very cynically at different
times -- fill in the blanks -- The Germans will never be able to run a
democracy; the Japanese will never be able to run a democracy; the
Russians will never be able to run a democracy; nobody with a Chinese
Confucian background is going to be able to run a democracy. It took
some help, but the Germans and the Japanese and now, even the
Russians, and Taiwanese seem to have figured it out. In spite of vast
cultural differences, very different from the Anglo-Saxon world of
parliament that Westminster and the early United States a lot of people
seemed to have figured it out.
In the Muslim world, outside
the 22 Arab states, which have no
democracies, some reasonably well-governed states that are
moderating and changing, such as Bahrein extent and others. Of the 24
Muslim-predominant non-Arab states, about half are democracies.
They include some of the poorest countries in the world. Bangladesh,
Mali - Mali is almost an ideal democracy. Nearly 200 million Muslims
live in a democracy in India. Outside one province, they are generally
at peace with their Hindu neighbors. There is a special problem in the
Middle East for historical and cultural reasons. Outside of Israel and
Turkey, the Middle East essentially consists of no democracies. It has,
rather, two types of governments -- pathological predators and
vulnerable autocrats. This is not a good mix. Five of those states:
Syria, Sudan and Libya sponsor and assist terrorism in one way or
another; all five of those are working on weapons of mass destruction of
one type or another.
The Mideast presents a serious
and massive problem of
pathological predators next to vulnerable autocracies. I don't believe
terror war is ever really going to go away until we change the face of
the Middle East. Now, that is a tall order. But, it's not as tall an
as what we have already done. In 1917, Europe was largely monarchies,
empires, and autocracies. Today, outside Belarus and Ukraine, it is
largely democratic, even including Russia. These changes that have
taken place over the course of the last 85 years are a remarkable
achievement. The ones that still have to be undertaken in a part of the
world that has historically not had democracy, which has reacted
angrily against intrusions from the outside, particularly the Arab
Middle East, presents a huge challenge. But I would say this, both to
terrorists and to the pathological predators such as Saddam Hussein and
to the autocrats as well, the barbarics, the Saudi royal family. They
have to realize that now for the fourth time in 100 years, we've been
awakened and this country is on the march. We didn't choose this
fight, but we're in it. And being on the march, there's only one way
we're going to be able to win it. It's the way we won World War I
fighting for Wilson's 14 points. The way we won World War II fighting
for Churchill's and Roosevelt's Atlantic Charter and the way we
won World War III fighting for the noble ideas I think best expressed by
President Reagan, but also very importantly at the beginning by
President Truman, that this was not a war of us against them. It was
not a war of countries. It was a war of freedom against tyranny. We
have to convince the people of the Middle East that we are on their
side, as we convinced Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel and Andrei
Sakharov that we were on their side. This will take time. It will be
difficult. But I think we need to say to both the terrorists and the
dictators and also to the autocrats who from time to time are friendly
with us, that we know, we understand we are going to make you
nervous. We want you to be nervous. We want you to realize now for
fourth time in 100 years, this country is on the march and we are
on the side of those whom you most fear - your own people.