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James Woolsey: The War for Democracy ^ | December 9, 2004 | James Woolsey

Posted on 12/09/2004 6:41:19 AM PST by Tolik

(The following is a speech given by James Woolsey at Restoration Weekend 2004. Frontpage will be posting more transcripts of other keynote speakers in the coming issues – The Editors)

Introduction by General Thomas McInerney:

Jim Woolsey is a great American and a Democrat. Last year there were two great Americans here; the other was Zell Miller. These men are Americans before they are politicians. They care about this great nation before they work an agenda. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with Jim on a number of things. We all know that he was Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He’ll tell you about his numerous visits with the President, and how one time he stealthily went in there and landed his own airplane. And – but I’ll let him tell you about that.

He is currently a senior partner with Booz Allen Hamilton in their global partnership. I first met him – he doesn’t remember that – when he was the Undersecretary of the Navy under Graham Claytor, when I was a Senior Military Assistant to a chap by the name of Bob Komer, who is no longer with us. But Jim remembers Bullet Bob. And he did incredible things then, as he is doing incredible things today behind the scenes. So we’re absolutely delighted and honored to have you with us in this Restoration Weekend.

James Woolsey: Thanks, Tom. Well, I was delighted and honored when David asked me to be with you this weekend – especially honored to be at any function in the presence of Natan Sharansky. Until I went straight a couple of years ago and went with Booz Allen, I was, for 22 years off and on, a Washington lawyer. And then I spent some time at the CIA in the Clinton administration. So I am actually pretty well honored to be invited into any polite company for any purposes whatsoever.

Tom’s right. It probably was not the high point of my career as DCI that I had a close working relationship with President Clinton. And he’s quite correct also that when that little airplane crashed into the south lawn of the White House in the Fall of ’94, after I’d been on the job a couple of years, the White House staff joke was that must be Woolsey, still trying to get an appointment with the President.

But the real reason one leaves a perfectly fine law practice several times to go into government is because of public appreciation. And I thought of that the other day when someone asked me why I kept coming and going from government that way. And I said that’s probably what it is. And then I remembered a trip I took to California in late ’93. I’d been on the job nearly a year, and my wife and I were in the same class at Stanford and had a class reunion coming up. So we thought we’d cash in our frequent flyer miles and have a nice weekend in California, fly first class, see old friends. When I mentioned my plans to my security men, they said, well, we really want her to go on a different plane, because we don’t want anybody named Woolsey on the plane. And I said, but my name is Woolsey. And they said, yeah, but you’re going to be flying under an alias. And I said uh-oh, there goes the frequent flyer miles.

So, on a government salary, I shelled out a couple of round-trip coach fares to California and put Sue on an airplane and went out with my two security people to the airport. In those simpler times, all they needed to do was show up at the cockpit, show the captain and the staff, the head flight attendant, that they had federal officers, entitled to carry weapons, that they were carrying weapons. So we went back to the back row of coach. I sat in the middle of the row of five. The plane wasn’t full. My security detail sat on the aisles.

The flight to California was uneventful. But as we were walking down the Jetway, the flight attendant came up and whispered something to one of my security men. And he just cracked up. And I said, Merv, what’s so funny? He said, you know what she said? She said, you know, I’ve been on these flights now for 20 years. And that is the politest and best-behaved prisoner that we have ever had. So it is, in fact, the public appreciation one gets that is the reason one goes into public service.

Well, let me share a few thoughts with you this morning on what I have come to call the Long War of the 21st Century. I used to call it World War IV, following my friend Eliot Cohen, who called it that in an op-ed right after 9/11 in the Wall Street Journal. Eliot’s point is that the Cold War was World War III. And this war is going to have more in common with the Cold War than with either World War I or II.

But people hear the phrase World War and they think of Normandy and Iwo Jima and short, intense periods of principally military combat. I think Eliot’s point is the right one, which is that this war will have a strong ideological component and will last some time. So, in order to avoid the association with World Wars I and II, I started calling it the Long War of the 21st Century. Now, why do I think it’s going to be long? First of all, it is with three totalitarian movements coming out of the Middle East.

I want to say just a word about each one. And I am not going to further deal with North Korea during these remarks. People can ask questions about it if you want afterwards. North Korea is crazy enough to be part of the Middle East, but it doesn’t happen to be. In any case, I think it’s important that we are, as was the case in World War II, actually at war with not one, not two, but three totalitarian movements.

These movements hate each other and they come from somewhat different roots. They were all affected by the chaotic history of the early part of the 20th century. They insult each other. They kill each other’s members from time to time. But like the Nazis and the Communists, they are perfectly capable of working together. And they have; and do; and are now; and will, if they think it’s in their interests to do so.

First of all, there are the Middle East Fascists. I use that term advisedly about the Ba’athists in Iraq and Syria, because they are Fascists. There’s no point in mincing words. The Ba’athist parties were modeled after the Fascist parties of the ’20s and ’30s. They function like them and they’re anti-Semitic like them. They’re Fascists.

Every time I hear the word “insurgent” to describe the enemy in Fallujah, it grates on me. What we ought to call them is what they are, which is Fascists. They call themselves the Party of Return, because what they want to do is bring Ba’athism, i.e., Fascism, back to Iraq. We’ve been at war with that totalitarian movement since around 1991, probably when the first President Bush organized the coalition to throw Saddam out of Kuwait. Saddam called 1991 the mother of all battles because it was just a battle in a long war. He tried to kill former President Bush in ’93, fired at our airplanes all the time in the ’90s. So that war never really has ended. It’s going on in Fallujah, in the Sunni Triangle today. It’s going on in the support for the terrorists and for fellow Ba’athists/Fascists that the Syrians are continually sending across the border.

This movement I am not terribly worried about for the long haul, because their ideology is dead. It is nothing but a rationale for power, the way the Communist ideology came to be, as the 20th century moved on, an excuse for power. No one, I think, anymore really believes in the Ba’athist vision of a unified Middle East under Ba’athist rule. But they will be troublesome for some time, and they are a group that has to be defeated.

The second and third groups are also totalitarian in exactly the sense Mussolini meant it: total commitment required, total control – the objective is a total vision of the world – [and] are both Islamist movements; one from the Shi’ite side of Islam, and one from the Sunni side of Islam. The first: the Vilayat Faqih, the Rule of the Clerics in Tehran – Khamenei, Rafsanjani and his colleagues. And the second: the Islamists of Al Qaeda’s stripe, underpinned, in many ways, by the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia.

I always say Islamist rather than Radical Muslim or anything of that kind because I don’t think we want to credit either Khamenei or Osama bin Laden – or, for that matter, the Wahhabi – with truly representing the great religion of Islam. I think that Khamenei and his gang in Tehran and bin Laden and the most extreme of the Wahhabi clerics are Muslims to just about the same extent that Torquemada was a Christian. Torquemada ran his life as a power behind the throne in Ferdinand and Isabella’s Spain by burning Jews, Muslims and dissident Christians at the stake, stealing their money. His behavior was about as far from that preached in the Sermon on the Mount as it is possible for an individual to be.

And I don’t think we need, in retrospect, to grant Torquemada’s claim that he was a Christian. And I don’t think we need, in current terms, to grant either Khamenei’s or Osama bin Laden’s claim that they represent Islam. They are trying to be as totalitarian movements, to take over an important position in one of the world’s great religions. But we have hundreds of millions of good and decent Muslims we need to make common cause with. And we don’t want to grant, at the outset, that our enemies represent them.

The Islamists in Tehran have been at war with us for something like a quarter of a century – just over a quarter of a century, actually. A few days ago was the 25th anniversary of their having seized our hostages in Tehran in 1979. They, through their instrumentalities such as Hezbollah, have conducted terrorist attacks against us for over two decades, going up to Khobar Tower.

So that movement is also one that, unfortunately, has more legs and more power and more steam, I think, than the Fascists. It controls the instruments of power of the Iranian state. It controls its oil money. It controls its intelligence services. It controls Hezbollah. And it will be with us, I am afraid, for some time. But it has a weakness that the Sunni Islamists don’t have, because, as Bernard Lewis says, there is only one country in the Middle East – excluding, I think, Israel, there is only one country in the Middle East where the United States is genuinely and broadly popular, and that’s Iran.

And the reason is because Khamenei and his fellow members of the rule of clerics are solidly at odds not only with common sense in the way a society can decently be administered, but they are at odds with the mainline Shiite tradition, which is one of separation of Mosque and State, with one very old historical exception, the Shi’a have generally not believed in the union of Mosque and State. They have not been in favor of theocracy. And Ayatollah Sistani in Iraq today speaks for that so-called quietest tendency or movement, the notion that Mosque and State should be kept apart. And it’s one of the reasons why I think we have some source of potential optimism about the direction of Shiite Islam and its political objectives in Iraq.

But the mullahs in Tehran are completely at odds with this separation of Mosque and State tradition. And it’s one of the reasons why they’re not only unpopular among the young people of Iran – and people 19 and younger are 50 percent of Iran – and unpopular among the women and unpopular among the reformers, but they’re also unpopular among substantial numbers of Shiite Iranian clerics, including several of the ayatollahs and grand ayatollahs in the Holy City of Qum, because they are – Khamenei and his henchmen – are at odds with the mainline Shiite tradition.

So, although we need to worry about them a great deal – we especially need to worry about them getting nuclear weapons – I think that their ideology has some important weaknesses, which unfortunately are not shared by the Sunni Islamists, the third group. This group has been at war with us, off and on, for a long time, but pretty much intensely for about a decade, since ’94/’95, when bin Laden turned his attention from what he calls the near enemy, such as the Mubarak regime of Egypt, toward the far enemy, or us, whom he calls the Crusaders and the Jews.

The Sunni Islamists have a couple of advantages that the Shiite Islamists don’t. First of all, the tradition of Sunni Islam in many points in history is one of the union of Mosque and State in the Caliphate. When bin Laden says that the darkest day in the history of Islam was 80 some years ago, and you calculate back and it’s 1924, and you ask yourself why, it’s because that’s when Kemal Ataturk disestablished the Caliphate, the union of Mosque and State in Turkey.

The union of Mosque and State in theocracy is what bin Laden is pointed toward. First, his radical world vision is to unify the Arab World, destroy Israel, expel the United States from the Middle East, then to unify all of Islam, then to unify all of the world that had once been under Islam, such as what they call Andalucia, namely Spain, and then finally the world as a whole.

Now, this may seem like a crazy vision to those of us in the West, who are not part of this tradition. But it’s no crazier than Hitler’s 1,000-year Reich or the dream of world communism. Totalitarian movements have these kinds of heaven-on-earth dreams. And it is a decided advantage to the Sunni Islamists that they are operating pursuant to something that has historically been there, from time to time, and sometimes for centuries, within Sunni Islam.

They also have another advantage, which is that they are fabulously and phenomenally rich. They are operating with the funds from wealthy Saudi families and from others in the Gulf. They are sustained by oil money. My acquaintance, on whose show I was a few weeks ago, Bill Maher, who I don’t agree with on most things I can think of, except oil, Maher has a book out called When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden.

It’s a picture from a World War II poster of a man driving and a ghost of Hitler sitting next to him. It was to encourage carpooling and saving of gasoline. And the theme was when you ride alone, you ride with Hitler. His book now is called When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden. And the overall point in this book of Maher’s is that oil is really the sustaining structure and financing mechanism for not only the terrorist attacks on us but much of the political movement and structure of things in the Middle East, which creates very serious difficulties.

We can get into this some in questions if you want, but the point is that in the late 1970s the Saudi royal family, particularly, had two things happen to it. They got very, very frightened because of the takeover at the Great Mosque in Mecca by the Islamists – that was nearly a coup against the Saudi state in ’79 – and also the shah falling to a Shiite Islamist theocracy right across the Gulf.

They got very frightened. And they also got very rich, because foreign earnings from oil sales to the Saudis were about $2 billion a year at the beginning of the ’70s. By the end of the ’70s, they were $20 billion a year headed up. Lord knows what they are today at $50 a barrel of oil. But oil earnings in the last quarter of the century have meant that the Wahhabis and families who are generous to them have been able to fund Wahhabi beliefs and proselytizing in the world to the tune of some $70-75 billion – that’s with a ‘b’ – over the last quarter of a century.

The Saudis essentially struck a deal with the Wahhabis, which was, here is all the money in the world you could ever want. Take over the education in the kingdom. That’s fine. Take over education in Pakistan, madrassas of Pakistan, set up religious institutes in the United States. Here’s all the money you ever want. Just leave us alone. And that bargain has, more or less, stayed until relatively recently, when there have been some terrorist attacks inside Saudi Arabia. None yet on the royal family.

But it is a very serious problem. To give you an idea of what it means, I was scheduled to be in a – I won’t call it a debate – a “discussion” over in the Pentagon some months ago with Adel Al-Jubeir. You see him on television from time to time. He’s a very smooth young Saudi spokesman for the Crown Prince on foreign policy issues.

I did a naughty thing. I went on the Web the night before and, through the Mideast Media Research Institute Web site, downloaded the main themes that the Saudi Religious Ministry had sent out the previous week, drawn from the Saudi imams’ sermons in the kingdom the Friday before. And the Saudi Religious Ministry, every week, takes these, consolidates, develops the major themes that it likes and wants the Wahhabi mosques, whether in Los Angeles or in Rawalpindi, to emphasize in the following week.

This week these three themes were

a) that all Jews are pigs and monkeys,

b) that it is the obligation of all true Muslims to hate and, where possible, to kill Christians and Jews, and

c) American women routinely sleep with their fathers and brothers. Incest is a common way of life in the United States, and that just shows how rotten the Americans are.

Now, this is not some one military officer or some one minister who has happened here saying something like Christianity is better than Islam, and everybody says oh, no, no, no, you can’t say that. No, no. This is not an individual; this is the Saudi government’s planned dissemination of doctrine for Wahhabi ministers, imams around the world, to emphasize the following week. This garbage has been going on for a quarter of a century.

So, if you wonder why sometimes the young men in the streets of Cairo or Fallujah are particularly angry as the news comes from Al-Jazeera, their imam is saying these sorts of things at the mosque. It’s not too hard to figure out where the money is coming from for that, and why it is happening.

Well, if that’s who we are at war with, why? Why did they decide to come after us? I think there are two reasons. One is the same reason that Hitler probably would have given in December of ’41, when after Pearl Harbor he declared war on us, even though he really didn’t have to. He knew. He knew that at some point we were going to get into the fight, that we would be his biggest problem, so he might as well come after us while he thought that we were weak.

I think that it was best summed up, for me, by a cab driver in the District of Columbia a couple of years ago. Now, I take a lot of cabs in the District. And I hate reading articles about public opinion polls – my apologies to the pollsters who may be present. So instead, I talk to cab drivers. It’s, I think, a perfectly fine finger on the pulse of America. And it’s a lot more interesting than reading magazine and newspaper articles about public opinion polls.

This particular day was the day after former President Clinton had given a speech at Georgetown University in which he had said – well, he had implied, not exactly said – that 9/11 was in part a payback for American slavery and the treatment of the American Indians. The newspaper was open in the front seat of the cab to that particular article. I got in and I saw right away that the cab driver was one of my favorite substitutes for public opinion polls. He was an older black guy, about my age, picture of his family on the dashboard, Redskins baseball cap, beaded seat. Clearly had been driving a cab in the District for a long time.

I got in. I said, I see your paper there. Did you read that article about the President’s speech? He said, oh yeah. I said, what’d you think of it? He said, these people don’t hate us for what we’ve done wrong. They hate us for what we do right, all right?

You can’t do better than that. We are hated by the Wahhabis, by the Islamists, for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, open economies, equal treatment of women – well, almost equal treatment of women, better than they do, anyway. That’s why we’re hated, indeed cordially loathed.

But why now? Why at the end of the 20th century? Why did the pace pick up? Well, these three movements have been at war with us for a long time. As I said, the Fascists, the Ba’athists since ’91, so that’s 14 years, the Shiite Islamists for a quarter of a century, since ’79, and the Sunni Islamists for about a decade. What’s new is not the war. What’s new is that we decided to notice after 9/11.

Don Rumsfeld said, and I think quite rightly so, that nothing is more provocative when dealing with totalitarian movements than weakness. In a way, we did worse than just being weak in this last quarter-century. Put yourself in the hypothetical position of an adviser to Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Mr. Khamenei in Tehran. Let’s say the three of them have called you together with them. You’re sympathetic in my hypothetical here.

It’s around the end of the 20th century. And they say, we’re trying to decide what to do about these Americans. What are they like? I don’t know about you. But I think if I were to try to transport myself into the shoes of someone who was sympathetic with their cause, I would say something like this: Well, the Americans are strong. But, first of all, one of their principal characteristics is that they do not give a damn about the people of the Middle East.

According to their views with respect to Eastern Europe and other parts of the world, democracy is important. But they don’t give a damn what kind of governments we live in over here. They can be autocratic kingdoms, dictatorships. The Americans basically think we should be polite filling station attendants, that we should sit there and shut up. And whenever they need it, we should pump the oil for them, for their big SUVs. And otherwise, they don’t care about us at all. So that’s the first thing.

The second thing is that they’re cowards. And let me explain to you what I mean by both of these. Short summary, the history of the last 25 years in a few minutes. 1979, we seized their hostages in Tehran. And what did they do? They tied yellow ribbons around trees. In 1983 we blew up their barracks, their Marine barracks in their embassy in Beirut. Killed hundreds of them. What did they do? They left.

Then throughout the ’80s we launched a number of terrorist attacks against them, Achille Lauro and others. What did they do? They sent the lawyers. Right. They sent the prosecutors. They thought this was a law enforcement matter. They’d arrest people from time to time and prosecute them and put them in prison.

Then in 1991 the first President Bush, uncharacteristically for the Americans, did something decisive. He ended up with 500,000 troops in Iraq. But he lost his nerve, signed a cease-fire agreement. After having encouraged the Kurds and Shi’a to rebel against Saddam, seeing them succeeding in 15 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, he signed a cease-fire agreement, which left the Republican Guard intact, left the bridges across the Tigris and Euphrates intact, left the armed helicopters intact. Saddam flew his armed helicopters against the Kurds and the Shi’a, and the Americans sat there and watched tens of thousands of them be massacred.

Then in 1993 Saddam tried to assassinate former President Bush in Kuwait with a bomb. And what did President Clinton do? He fired a couple dozen cruise missiles into an empty Iraqi intelligence headquarters in the middle of the night and had his secretary of state announce that we’d done this in the middle of the night so we’d hurt as few people as possible. Not too effective in dealing with Saddam. But it was a devastating strike on Iraqi cleaning women and night watchmen.

Then in 1993 we shot down their helicopters. Black Hawk down in Mogadishu. And what did they do? Same thing they did 10 years before in Beirut. They left. And throughout the rest of the ’90s, we executed a number of rather effective terrorist attacks against them. East Africa, Cole. And what did they do? They did the same thing they did in the 1980s. They sent the lawyers, who prosecuted a few people. Oh, President Clinton fired a few cruise missiles into some empty tents and an empty pharmaceutical plant in Sudan. That’s about it.

So I’ll tell you, Osama, Mr. Khamenei, Saddam, what they’re like. What they’re like is that they’re blustered. They don’t care about the people of the Middle East. They care only about our oil. And they’re cowards.

Now, I think after 9/11 that advice could be shown to have had some rather serious flaws. And those who acted upon it, such as the Taliban and Saddam, are sadder people today, just as the Japanese Empire, which made the same judgment about us at the beginning of the 1940s, was sadder and wiser after they saw what we did after Pearl Harbor.

But both – those who might have looked at our behavior in the ’20s and ’30s and made the decision to attack us at Pearl Harbor, and for those who looked on our behavior in the ’80s and ’90s and made the decision that it was a risk-free proposition to go to war against us – both of those advisers had some facts on their side. Well, if that’s whom we’re at war with and why we’re at war, how do we have to fight it?

There’s two aspects to the war here at home that will change a lot of our lives in substantial ways for a long time. By the way, when I call this the Long War, I mean decades, not years. The Cold War was 45 years. That’s probably not a bad benchmark.

One aspect of the war here at home is the tradeoff we’re going to have to make between liberty and security. Now, in the latter part of the Cold War and in the ’90s, our view was hey, we’re Americans. We want all good things. Security is good. Liberty is good. We’ll have 100 percent of both. And security will be dealt with by those folks like the intelligence community and the armed forces and NATO and stuff. And that’s all overseas.

And here at home we’ll have about as much liberty as any modern society could conceivably have. And we’ll make sure that these never impinge on one another, even theoretically. And what we’ll do – the Congress said at one point, for example – is we’ll construct the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure this way. We’ll make it illegal for the FBI, if it obtains material on terrorism in the United States that may have foreign sources to it, we’ll make it illegal for them to give that information to anybody except a prosecutor.

Now, that sounds a little odd. But that was Federal Rule 6E of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, until the passage of the Patriot Act. So, what was the consequence of that? 1993, first World Trade Center bombing, people with all sorts of ties to God knows where. One of the lead bombers, Yasin, goes back to Iraq and lives the life of Riley in Baghdad for years on a stipend from the Iraqi government.

The blind sheik, penetrated by the FBI, Mr. Nosair, who killed Rabbi Meir Kahane, is captured. All of these activities by the FBI produce boxes and boxes and boxes of documents and materials and files in Arabic. We don’t have any translators up there in New York. What happens to those files? They sit in New York FBI headquarters for years. They’ve just rather recently been translated. That was not the FBI playing its cards close to its vest. They were obeying the law.

We had a lot of things like that in the ’80s and ’90s, to make absolutely sure liberty and security never, ever conflicted. Well, after 9/11, we rather readily, I think, came to the view that yes, we want foreign students in the United States. But 19 of the ones who had been here were learning something we didn’t want them to learn, which was how to fly airplanes into buildings. And we learned shortly thereafter that there really were terrorist cells in places like Lackawanna, New York, not thought previously to have been a hotbed of terrorism.

And we learned that in Herndon, Virginia, about two miles from CIA headquarters, there’s a major terrorist financing operation. We began to realize that there may be some cases in which we’re going to have to make some choices. Now there two things, I think, that are really important about this. One is that we have to understand that we are not a race, not a religion, not a language. We are nothing in the world but a bunch of immigrants and children of immigrants who have, God bless him, Madison’s Constitution. And everything we do has to be pursuant to that.

But it is also the case, as Justice Jackson said in a famous Supreme Court decision once, that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. And it is quite permissible, historically, going well back to before the Civil War, the Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution in such a way as to give the Executive Branch broad authority on security matters, particularly when they are operating pursuant to statute.

So something like the passage of the Patriot Act, with a sundown provision, congressional hearings, decisions whether to make a change here or there or not, that’s the way the American Constitution historically has dealt with the need to adopt security steps during wartime. We need to see to it that these steps are undertaken wisely, and without racial or religious discrimination. But we also need to understand that we are at war with totalitarian movements.

And although Americans aren’t comfortable talking about people’s religion in a lot of ways and a lot of circumstances, we have to realize, for example, there may be some very good reasons why we’ve put Wahhabi charities in the United States under far stricter scrutiny than, say, Sufi Muslim charities. We may have to realize that if you live in an apartment in New York City and you buy, from six different locations, six different loads of fertilizer of the sort that Timothy McVeigh purchased, you may have in mind a really first-rate garden on the roof of your apartment building. But you also may have something worse in mind.

So without profiling your race or your ethnicity or your religion, if you are an individual of whatever stripes who buys half a dozen loads of fertilizer of that sort, you may need to have a call paid upon you. And data mining and various types of new technologies make it possible for us to utilize behavior that people exhibit, to understand some things that ought to be looked at a bit more closely.

These decisions will not be easy. We have to make them carefully. And it’s important to make them wisely. But we not only want to be successful in presenting or deterring and degrading the effectiveness of terrorist attacks, we also want to be successful, because we don’t want the country to get scared. Because even this wonderful country, if they get scared, is capable of sometimes doing ugly things. We don’t want that to happen.

There’s another aspect to the war here at home that’s going to be important. We are the most technologically sophisticated society the world has ever seen. And we live at the heart of not just dozens, but hundreds of networks of all kinds. The electricity grid, the oil and gas pipeline, toxic chemical production and delivery, food production and delivery, the Internet, on and on. People who work in areas such as chaos theory and network theory have a phrase they call the butterfly effect, which has now given its name to a new movie.

The notion is a butterfly flutters its wings on one side of the world, and the ecosphere is a complicated system. And because of cascading effects and unpredictable consequences, we could end up with a resulting tornado on the other side of the world. Well, that sounds kind of theoretical. But realize a year ago August, a tree branch fell on some power lines in Northern Ohio. And before too many minutes were up, 50 million electricity consumers in Canada and the U.S. were out of electricity, some of them for up to a week.

Now, I don’t think butterfly effect is real descriptive of that. I’d call it a malignant effect. The body is a complicated system. The electricity grid is a complicated system. A disturbance can create cascading chaos, a metastasis, in a sense. And so, as we look at our increasingly complex globalized economy and modern networks, we have to realize that we’re going to have to keep solving some of these problems. And some of them are hard to solve. It’s not hopeless.

For example, a couple of years ago there was an earthquake, I think about 6.7 on the Richter scale, outside Paso Robles, California. About four people died. There was one a few weeks later of almost exactly the same power on the Richter scale near a city called Bam in Iran. Forty thousand people died. The difference is California building codes.

We have learned over the years how to deal with even some severe disruptions, such as earthquakes, but we haven’t learned to deal with all of them. And there are a number of our systems that require some fairly substantial change to make them resilient. If that were the only problem, then we’re just playing against nature. Einstein used to say, “God may be sophisticated, but he is not plain mean.” And what I think Einstein meant by that, since for him God and nature were pretty much the same thing, was that if you’re playing against nature to make something better or discover something, even E=mc2, you are not playing against somebody who is trying to defeat you.

The problem with our modern structured networks is that we’re not just playing against nature, we’re not just trying to solve the problem of malignancy. We also have another problem, because it was not a malignant effect that occurred the morning of 9/11. What happened there was that a group of, to use the President’s words, evil men got together a couple of years before, and they said, well, let’s look at some of the American networks. Let’s look at their civil air transport network. That one we might be able to do something with.

There are three things about it that are sort of interesting. One is that they let short knives through baggage checks at airports. And that’s really good, because box cutters can slit flight attendants’ and pilots’ throats just as readily as long knives. Second, if you can believe it, they’re polite to hijackers. They developed this doctrine back when they were just going to be flown to Cuba and have to stay on the ground for a few hours. They figured why create any disruption. Something, an accident, might happen. So they tell everybody, their flight crews and everybody, be polite to hijackers. That’s terrific.

And third, amazingly, they have flimsy cockpit doors on their airlines. That’s the best of all, because that means we don’t have to be satisfied with just killing the people on the airplanes. We can take over the planes, fly them into buildings, and kill thousands of them. Now, that is not malignancy. That’s war. That is like fighting Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. That’s going up against an enemy who gets inside your head, understands how things work, and goes for the weak point.

And these networks that serve us so well have been put together over the last, some of them, the electricity grid, 100 years, in an environment in which the only things that were important were openness, ease of access, efficiency, ease of maintenance, full information for everybody, without a single thought being given to terrorism. Not a thought. After all, we haven’t had to deal with a foreign enemy in North America going after our infrastructure since the British burned Washington in 1814.

So, no wonder we weren’t thinking about that. But that means that as we work on fixing these networks and making them more resilient, we have to think both about malignancy and malevolence. And we do not get to choose.

Our European friends like to work on malignant problems, like global warming. I think one can make a reasonable argument that by buying SUVs and putting more carbon into the atmosphere, 40, 50, 60 years down the road we may be contributing to Bangladesh sinking a bit beneath the waves. We’re not trying to sink Bangladesh beneath the waves. We don’t want to do that. Europeans like to work on these malignant problems. They don’t like to think about the malevolent ones, at least not until what happened in Amsterdam last week. Some of them may be beginning to wake up a little bit.

If you are a heavy smoker, there are few things clearer in medical science than that you are contributing to an increased risk of lung cancer. And if you’re standing at your bedroom window and having a last cigarette of the day, and you look out and you see a burglar climbing into your basement in a ski mask, carrying a .45, the sum total of your response should probably not be, you know, I really ought to stop smoking.

Yeah, you should. But that’s not all you ought to do. With a family shotgun or call 911 or something, you’ve got to deal with the malevolence problem as well as the longer-term malignancy problem. And you don’t get to choose. We have to tell our European friends.

Let me close with a few words about the war abroad. I think that the President and I think one of those who has inspired him [Natan Sharansky] are exactly right, that over the long run we are only going to have peace and security in the Middle East, and indeed the rest of the world, by helping countries where it is now not the case, move toward democracy and the rule of law.

And when I say democracy and the rule of law, I do not mean one election, once. Osama bin Laden might win an election today in Saudi Arabia. No. Lukashenko won one in Belarus, and it’s still a dictatorship. It’s not one election, once. It’s the whole panoply, with the rule of law, open economies, respect for human rights. Election is part of it.

But nobody should pretend this is going to be easy in the Middle East. Twenty-two Arab states, no democracy. Maybe one beginning in Iraq in January, we can hope. But the Arab world and the rest of Central Asia and China are an exception in the world today. The world had 20 democracies in August of 1945. And today it has 117, an increase of almost 100. Over 60 percent of the world’s governments and over 60 percent of the world’s people live in democracies.

Now, some of these are not perfect – for example, substantial corruption in a country like Indonesia. You can’t really say it has a full rule of law. But it now has regular elections. And Mrs. Sukarnoputri does not have to worry about a knock on the door in the middle of the night just because she lost this presidential election. She can come back in four years and try again.

Sixty percent of the world, up vastly from August of 1945, lives under electoral and democratic systems, and systems where there’s at least a modicum of civil liberties. And in many of those cases, about 90 of those countries, essentially full democracy and the rule of law. And it is true in some places that you might not think of.

For example, Mongolia and Mali are both perfectly fine, functioning democracies. Well over half of the world’s Muslims live in democracies: Indonesia, Bangladesh, the big Muslim population of India, Turkey, Bali, Senegal, is over 700 million Muslims.

The Middle East and the Arab world – plus the extended Middle East, including, say, Iran – is a very special problem. For historical and cultural reasons – some of them the influence of the Wahhabis – I believe it is a very, very big task. But what I love to tell my European friends is that although it’s going to be difficult to bring democracy and the rule of law to the Arab world and the rest of the Middle East, it won’t be nearly as hard as it was to bring it to Europe. And they say, what?

And I say, well, you know, the German Empire the first part of the century, the Nazis, the Fascists, the Communists. At times in the 20th century, Europe was entirely under either empires or autocratic states, or one type of totalitarian dictatorship or another. It took us two hot wars, World War I, World War II, a cold one, something on the order of a couple hundred million deaths from war, the Holocaust, and so forth, before we got Europe sorted out – we and the British and some others. So, I think the Arab world is going to be tough, but it can’t be as hard as Europe was.

I think that we have to be patient about this. We have to build on potential alliances with friendly movements – such as certainly, within Islam, the Sufi and, I believe, if we work this right in Iraq, the Shi’a as well. And then those portions of the Sunni Muslim world that are not committed to totalitarianism and to Al Qaeda and Wahhabism and the like. This will not be easy. But look, if you’re interested in peace, this is the only way to go. Modern democracies don’t fight one another. You really can’t think of a case. They fight dictatorships. Dictatorships fight one another. We even sometimes, as we did in Iraq, pre-empt against dictatorships.

But modern democracies, what do they do? They choose up sides and argue about things like agricultural subsidies. That’s fine. That’s a perfectly reasonable way for them to spend their time: international affairs. And if you’re interested in disarmament, what are the three great cases of countries turning away from nuclear programs, until Libya finally got a little – we got Libya’s attention with a quarter of a million troops in Kuwait. And they said, hey, we’ll talk. Yes.

Until then, the three great successes were in the ’80s and ’90s: Brazil, Argentina and South Africa, all turning away from nuclear weapons programs. Why? Because they became democracies. It had nothing to do with United Nations or arms control agreements or anything else.

So, this will not be easy. And I think the only word for someone who believes we need to move toward bringing democracy and the rule of law to the Middle East, the only accurate word for someone who says this is going to be very, very difficult, is ‘realist’. For someone who goes further and says this is impossible, Arabs just can’t do this, I think there’s only one word. And that word is ‘racist’, because if you look at the Middle East today, there are some sprouts of green coming up through the sand. Bahrain is one example. Morocco on some things, or others. A few brave Saudi intellectuals who go in and call on the Crown Prince and talk about the need to improve rights of women. And in Saudi Arabia, things are beginning to happen a bit. And it’s not by accident. It’s in part because of some of the things that have happened in the course of the last two or three years.

So let me close by saying that as we undertake these efforts, we will find that people such as the Saudi royal family or the Mubarak regime in Egypt, or others will say, you damned Americans. You don’t understand our culture. Our culture is that I am in control. You come over here and you spread these disruptive ideas that don’t have any basis or roots in our civilization. You worry us a great deal.

And I think our response should be, well, OK, we would like to have you on our side. You can come over anytime. But if you choose not to be, you’re right to be worried, because it takes us a long time to wake up sometimes. But we’re now awake. And you’ve got a problem, because we’re on the side of those whom you most fear – your own people.

Thank you.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 229; jameswoolsey; longwar; waronterror; wot

1 posted on 12/09/2004 6:41:20 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; yonif; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; Alouette; ...

Nailed It!
Moral Clarity BUMP !

This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of good stuff that is worthy attention. I keep separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson, Lee Harris, David Warren, Orson Scott Card. You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about).

2 posted on 12/09/2004 6:42:07 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik

Very good!!!!

3 posted on 12/09/2004 6:51:18 AM PST by marty60
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Bookmark for later read

4 posted on 12/09/2004 6:57:55 AM PST by Hischild
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To: Tolik

self ping for later

5 posted on 12/09/2004 7:54:54 AM PST by MonroeDNA (“I feel more comfortable with Soviet intellectuals than I do with American businessmen.” --Soros)
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To: Tolik

And he just cracked up. And I said, Merv, what’s so funny? He said, you know what she said? She said, you know, I’ve been on these flights now for 20 years. And that is the politest and best-behaved prisoner that we have ever had. So it is, in fact, the public appreciation one gets that is the reason one goes into public service.

I'd say the good ones (politicians that is) really hate this part of the job, always being in a bubble, the bad ones (and there are waaaay to many of those) just LOVE IT.

6 posted on 12/09/2004 8:19:22 AM PST by Valin (Out Of My Mind; Back In Five Minutes)
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To: Tolik

self ping for future reference. This is the clearest explanation I have seen of why we must confront the terrorists on their turf.

7 posted on 12/09/2004 8:42:21 AM PST by rwa265
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To: Tolik

Woolsey makes sense, as usual. No wonder Clinton didn't bother seeing him when he was CIA director.

8 posted on 12/09/2004 4:12:11 PM PST by hershey
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To: rwa265
"This is the clearest explanation I have seen of why we must confront the terrorists on their turf."


9 posted on 12/10/2004 6:57:53 AM PST by Matchett-PI (All DemocRATS are either religious moral relativists, libertines or anarchists.)
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