Speech by Senator Rick Santorum · 03 March 2007

Second National Academic Freedom Conference

Saturday, March 3, 2007 

Speech by Senator Rick Santorum:

  

Rick Santorum: Is the average American going to be afraid of a guy living in a cave, we haven’t seen in six years -- that he’s going to destroy the United States of America?  No.

 

You know, there was a story that General Franks, Tommy Franks, told me soon after the war.  He told me that about a year after the attacks of 9/11, he had an opportunity to be with the President.  The President, for the first year or so after the war, would on occasion refer to the terrorists as cowards.  He would call them cowards.  And General Franks had an opportunity to talk to the President; said, “Mr. President, you know, you refer to these terrorists as cowards.”  He said, “Mr. President, they may be many things, but they are not cowards.  These are people who are willing to die for what they believe in.  So they are not cowards.  But more importantly, by calling them cowards, you tell the American public something very wrong.”  Who is afraid of a coward?  Who believes a coward will defeat us?

 

Words matter.  How you define things matter, particularly in this war.  Why?  Because there will be no clean victories.  So the path will be harder.  It will take much more understanding for the American public to understand this.  And they simply don’t.

 

And so I spent a whole lot of time trying to convince the President to do this.  And as David mentioned, he did it one time -- he said the word “Islamic fascism” one time, about three days after I gave my last lecture to him about using that word.  He did it, if you recall, the day the British foiled a plot where a group of people were going to blow up airlines coming across from Britain to the United States, 10 airliners.  And he was asked at a press briefing a question, and he referred to the enemy as Islamic fascists.

 

There was a raft of stories.  People were saying, “Ah, the President’s redefined the war.” I got -- I can’t tell you, because I’d just given a speech on it, saying the President needed to do this.  My phone was ringing off the hook.  “Have you convinced the President to change focus?”  Well, three days later, he ended up going to the State Department.  And at the State Department, rumor has it, he was confronted by senior-level administration officials at the State Department.  And he was told that if he used the term “fascism” and “Islam” together, he would destroy the coalition of Islamic supporters that we have around the world.  He would anger Muslims throughout the world and in this country; would incite more anti-American activity; and he has to never use that term again.  And he never has since.

 

And as a result, we have a country that is walking through this war, just looking at blood and destruction, and not knowing why it’s happening.  So what I’ve decided to do is to go out, and I’ve formed a project at a think-tank, Ethics in Public Policy.  And I wanted to talk about this and one other thing that I noticed.

 

During the end of my campaign, I noticed there was something else going on; something else that I found rather disturbing.  It was in a growing alliance between this radical group of Islamacists, particularly Iran, and people in Central and South America, Venezuela, Nicaragua now, Ecuador, Bolivia, and North Korea and other places -- that these alliances were forming.  And no one was talking about it.  In fact, we were ignoring it.  You saw the United Nations, when Hugo Chavez got up and called the President a devil.  And the American left and the college campuses -- they just loved that.  Then Ahmadinejad got up, and he was excoriating the President; again, the American left -- they just loved this.  Right before the election, it was great.  They were tearing the President apart, showing, again, lack of respect for the President.  But what I saw was something different.  What I saw was a growing alliance that really disturbed me.  So I went out and started to talk about that.

 

And for me, it was like -- I don’t play chess very well.  But what I do know is that if you’re really a good chess player, as the game goes on, you can sort of see what’s going to happen.  You can sort of see the moves and counter-moves.  And you sort of having a feeling of how this thing’s going to end.  Well, that’s sort of how I see this.  There’s a lot of moves and counter-moves going on around the world.  And I think I have a feeling -- an eerie one -- of how it may turn out.

 

We have an array of enemies against us.  The one is Islamic fascism.  But what we haven’t done is explain to you that there is not one brand of Islamic fascism.  We tend to paint them as -- for simplicity’s sake -- as, you know, everybody in jihad.  But there are two different sects, of Sunnis and Shia, and they believe two fundamentally different things; not theologically.  Their theology is both based on the Koran.  It’s not like Protestants and Catholics, where they have theological differences in the Koran.  They have historical differences as who’s the rightful leader of Islam, which leads them to fight for power as opposed to theology.

 

The Sunnis want to reestablish a Kalifat.  For a thousand years, Sunni Islam fought Christendom -- a thousand years.  And in fact, for most of the time, won; for the most of the time, was on the offensive.  It wasn’t till the late 17th century that Islam was stopped.  And it was stopped at the gates of Vienna, in the heart of Europe, in Austria.  The siege of Vienna -- the second siege of Vienna in 1683 -- that ultimately was the highwater mark of Islam.

 

Does anybody know when the highwater mark of Islam was?  September the 11th, 1683.  It was the very next day, on the plains of Vienna, that Christendom -- the Holy League, it was called -- united.  All of Europe, with the exception of -- anybody want to guess?  France, right, you got it.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

 

But with the exception of France, we conquered -- they conquered -- the Sunnis, and drove them into finally a treaty in 1699.  And for 300 years, they have been silent.  Why?  Because they didn’t have the resources or the technology to compete with the modern world.  For 300 years, they lay silent.

 

But now Sunni Islam, through al-Qaeda, which is Sunni; through resources, known as oil; through technology that is now off-the-shelf, and through frustration -- imagine you’re a Muslim.  You are the person who has the faith that is the successor to the two incomplete faiths -- Judaism and Christianity.  You are the final revelation.  You are the one that is going to control the world.  You are the one for a thousand years dominated the world.  And for 300 years, you sit in a backwater, looking at Christendom thrive, while you sit in squalor and poverty.  How can this be?

 

And so, strains of Islam started to come, like Wahhabism, that adopted tactics of the modern world, grafted them onto Islam in a corrupted way, and are now projecting itself through these terrorist organizations.

 

This is what we fight.  They want to reconquer the world.  They want to establish a new Kalifat that was eliminated by Turkey 100 years ago; by Atatürk.  That’s one -- and by the way, it’s not just al-Qaeda.  It is terrorist groups and nation-states that support these terrorist groups, like Saudi Arabia, all over the world.

 

Then you have the Shias.  But they’re a minority.  They were -- up until the late 1970s, they were considered the peaceful Muslims.  They didn’t fight -- most of these wars, they didn’t participate and fight.  They didn’t believe -- their history tells them, you know, that they’re not to establish a Kalifat.  They are to wait to the return of the Mahdi, the return of the Twelfth Imam.  It is only till then that they will establish reign in the rest of the world.  And they are to wait until then.  They are not to govern until the Mahdi returns.  That’s what Shias believe.

 

So you say, Well, then, why do they now govern Iran?  Why do they now take arms against us via Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations?  Well, that’s thanks to a man named Ayatollah Khomeini, who has taken some of the roots of the modern world, and some of the roots of Sunni Islam, and grafted them onto the Shia religion -- which in my mind makes the Shia brand of Islamist extremists even more dangerous than the Sunni [version].

 

Why?  Because the ultimate goal of the Shia brand of Islamic Islam is to bring back the Mahdi.  And do you know when the Mahdi returns?  At the Apocalypse at the end of the world.  You see, they are not interested in conquering the world; they are interested in destroying the world.

 

Now I would suspect -- I could be wrong -- but I would suspect that some of you, if not most of you, had never heard any of this.  And that’s the crime.  Because we’ve been at war with these people, particularly in Iran, since 1979.  And we have been in armed conflict with them for the last five years.  And America has no knowledge of who we fight, and why they fight us.  And thus, they despair.

 

So it is important for all of you to know who we fight.  You are in the seeds of academia.  They will never tell you who we fight.  But you need to know.  And you need to educate.

 

But it’s not just radical Islam; it is also the radical left.  Because what we’re seeing now is the old adage you learned when you were a kid -- the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  And the left -- whether it’s here in this country, and certainly around the world -- sees America today as the enemy.  They fight us on college campuses, and they fight us in the streets of Central and South American countries, in North Korea, in other places.

 

You’re seeing an alliance grow.  There was just an announcement this past week -- there is now nonstop service, airplane service, between Karakus and Tehran.  Interesting destination.  You’re seeing Venezuela, under Hugo Chavez, sign a defense pact with Iran, start a $2 billion anti-American fund for Central and South America, spend more money on arms than any other country -- foreign arms sales -- than any other country in the world, create a million-person army, spending $30 billion to build forts, and [has] aligned country with Evo Morales in Bolivia to build forts -- where?  On the border of Chile, on the border of Peru, on the border of Brazil and Argentina and Colombia; facing toward those countries.  And who is going to be in those forts?  Yes, there’ll be Bolivian troops.  But the officers in charge will be Cuban and Venezuelan.

 

He has made it very clear -- the left is coming back.  He has already, as you’ve seen, nationalized the telecommunications company, he’s nationalized the oil industries, he’s shutting down all the free press, all the television networks that don’t agree with him.  And he is funding democratic elections.  He’s funding the Communist candidates, like Daniel Ortega, who just won in Nicaragua, so they can take over.  He is the new Castro, except he has one advantage that Castro never had -- oil.  He has the money to do what Castro could never do.

 

And so isn’t it interesting that the radical left and radical Islam, who have very little ideologically in common, would join together?  They see the soft underbelly of America, just like the Soviet Union did.  And they’re going after it.  And we stand by and ignore it.

 

We laugh at this man Chavez and consider him a buffoon.  I remind you, we laughed at Hitler.  And we laughed at Khrushchev when he pounded his shoe on the table at the United Nations.  These little men, these idiots -- they are neither.  They are dangers and threats to the United States of America.

 

So this is what we are up against.  And unfortunately, we see the United States standing on the sideline, or at least, when it comes to Central and South America.  And now potentially, when it comes to radical Islam holding back or retreating from the fight -- you know, Winston Churchill once said that -- in his book, “The Gathering Storm,” he said, in the subtitle, “How the English-speaking peoples through their unwisdom, carelessness and good nature allowed the wicked to rearm.”

 

And so it is today.  We are sitting back.  We are debating whether we are going to confront this evil.  And let me assure you, they are not going to go away.  That’s what the left will tell you.  That’s what the Democrats will say.  If we pull back, they’ll leave us alone.  If we pull back -- let themselves work it out -- it is not a concern to us.

 

Well, the American public believes this.  Why?  Because they don’t know better.  We have to teach them.  Teach them.  The President of the United States has to turn from the Commander in Chief to the Educator in Chief, and so does everybody else who believes in this cause.

 

And so that’s why I’ve decided to do what I have led out to do.  And let me teach you some things that I think are important, not just to describe who the enemy is and what the problem is, but to offer something that is difficult, which is hope.

 

But I say this with this proviso, with this caveat -- this will be a long war.  This will -- remember, when they had the technological ability to fight us, they did, for a thousand years.  A thousand years.  This is hard for us to understand -- a country scantly 250 years of age.  A thousand years is incomprehensible to us.  It is not to them.  It is not to them.  Their history is that history.

 

And they know their history.  They know who they are.  They know who we are.  And we have no idea who they are.

 

What must we do to win?  We must educate, engage, evangelize and eradicate.

 

Let me -- on the education side, this is -- people have likened this to World War II; that, you know, we’re sort of not getting it, like we didn’t get -- this is more like the Cold War.  This is more like -- at the beginning of the threat of Communism, the Americans didn’t get it.  And so there were all sorts of organizations, many on college campuses, that organized to educate the American public about the threat of Communism, about that ideology.  The American left wasn’t going to do it; they were sympathetic.  Hollywood wasn’t going to do it; they were sympathetic.

 

We need to do it.  We need to educate.  We need to define the enemy.

 

I have -- my staff, toward the end of my campaign -- if I ever said the word war on terror, we’re fighting terrorism or terrorists, I’d have to put a dollar in -- that used to be a quarter -- it was a dollar in the jar.  Stop using that term.  Never say war on terror, never say we’re fighting terrorists.  Because we’re not.

 

They are in a whole new war with us.  We can choose not to be in one; doesn’t mean we aren’t.  We are in a war, and theology is its basis.  Just like we were in a war against Communism, and ideology was its basis.  We need to understand that.

 

We need to do more, as I said, to spread the ideas throughout your campuses, but you also have to explain to people what losing looks like.  Because people don’t think we can lose to these folks.

 

What losing looks like is pretty easy, in my mind.  Look at Europe.  Europe is on the way to losing.  The most popular male name in Belgium -- Mohammad.  It’s the fifth most popular name in France among boys.  They are losing because they are not having children, they have no faith, they have nothing to counteract it.  They are balkanizing Islam, but that’s exactly what they want.  And they’re creating an opportunity for the creation of Eurabia, or Euristan in the future.  At their current population trends of Europeans having children -- of Westernized Europeans, not Islamic Europeans -- European population will be half of what it is today in 32 years.  Europe will not be in this battle with us.  Because there will be no Europe left to fight.

 

That’s what part of this will look like.  The rest will be for them to control all of the oil revenues, for them to control all the other things that are important to making economies go, and drive us to our knees economically.  This is not beyond the realm of possibility.

 

And there are many other ways through technology that they can attack us, without having to blow up bombs in New York City or Washington, D.C.

 

That’s what losing looks like.  It looks like being alone and isolated, and without freedom and opportunity.

 

The second thing we have to do is engage the American people.  You know, one of the things that we have not done is tell the American people what they can do to help.  I think one of the things we can do is engage the American left.

 

On your college campuses, engage the feminists.  Here’s how you do it.  Have joint left-right -- no, wait a minute -- have joint feminist-College Republican symposium on how Islam treats women.  Bring in women from the Islamic world who have escaped from the radical Islamic world, to talk about honor killings and mutilation, and polygamy, and all the other horrific things that happen to women in the Islamic world.  Challenge them, in their own roots, to stand up and fight against something that they say that they’re against.

 

Have a joint symposium with the gay and lesbian organizations on college campuses.  And talk about how Islam treats homosexuals.  Talk about how they treat anybody who is found to be a homosexual, and the answer to that is, they kill them.  Talk about why they’re not standing up and fighting for what they say they believe in, in fighting radical Islam.

 

You have an opportunity to shine light where there is now just heat.  Engage them.  We need to engage America.  We need to engage America on energy.  The President is trying to do that.  I remind you, without oil, we wouldn’t be here.  Without oil, there wouldn’t be a problem.  We have to do something about our energy independence, and we need to engage the American people.

 

Evangelize.  Now I don’t mean convert Muslims into Christians.  But one of the things we do need to do is appeal to moderate Muslims.  Christianity went through this.  Christianity did not always -- even though the Bible said so -- separate church and state.  The Bible was -- Jesus was very clear -- give unto Caesar what’s to Caesar and to God what is to God.  But that was not practiced for hundreds, if not over a thousand years.  The church and the state were one after the Emperor Constantine, for a long time, in many countries.

 

And so, we need to explain to them how we went through our change, our modernization of the faith, to allow religious pluralism.  We need to engage.  And that means you need to engage.  Engage your Muslim club on campus.  Ask them -- have a symposium about how we can achieve religious pluralism.  And --

 

Unidentified Audience Member: [inaudible]

 

Rick Santorum: The other thing we need to do is eradicate, and that’s the final thing.  As I said, this is going to be a long war.  There are going to be pluses and minuses, ups and downs.  But we have to win this war to -- fight this war to win this war.  We cannot sit back and think that these folks are going to go away, because they simply will not.

 

We have to improve our intelligence.  It is still woeful.  The idea that we have absolutely no idea -- which we do not -- whether Iran is close to a bomb or not is just absolutely unacceptable.  Our intelligence community is still in a woeful state.  It is not allowing us to defend ourselves.

 

We need to improve.  We need to get better.  We need to take on one major threat.  And the President is moving toward it, contrary to what everybody in the Administration says.  And I think he’s moving toward it for the right reason -- because we cannot tolerate it.  And that is we cannot tolerate the continuance of that government that is in control of Iran.

 

And I’m not suggesting that we have to go in there and blow them up.  But I would tell you this -- there’s an article -- fact, a great article -- today in the Wall Street Journal by Michael Ledeen.  And I would encourage you to get it.

 

The answer is you, the equivalent of you in Iran.  Over -- I think it’s about half the people in Iran are under the age of 30.  This is a young country.  This is a country of young people that is not particularly crazy -- the majority are not crazy about the ruling regime.

 

We are doing nothing -- let me underscore this -- we are doing nothing to help the dissonants in Iran revolt and turn that country back to a real democracy.  We are doing nothing, in part because of the State Department’s desire to negotiate with Iran and the CIA’s desire to stay out of the way of Iran.

 

I mean, think about this.  You’ve heard about these EFPs, these new projectiles that we found that were made in Iran, that are being used against our troops?  And these EFPs -- and you think -- well, I don’t know if you’ve seen the pictures, these little -- looks like little copper bowl, little copper dish.  You think, Well, you know, what’s the big deal?  Little copper dish.  I’ve seen pictures of Abrams tanks -- not Humvees, not up-armored Humvees -- but Abrams tanks that get hit with one of these things, these little cylinders that won’t look like much.  They look like a tin can after some maniac, you know, crushed it against his head.  It’s unbelievable what these things do.

 

And Iran is behind it.  And guess what?  We have known for years that Iran has been behind providing weapons and logistics to the Shia and Sunni insurgents.  They don’t care who kills each other, as long as they’re destabilizing Iraq.

 

So a radical Shiite regime is funding al-Qaeda, who doesn’t like radical Shiites.  Why?  Because they just want to defeat us.  They want to defeat democracy.

 

We’ve known this -- our intel people have known this for years.  But Congress didn’t know it.  I can tell you for a fact.  I stood in briefing after briefing, after I got word from troops and others that Iran was helping kill our troops in Iraq, and I went to briefings, classified briefings, asking if that was true and was repeatedly told no.  And I think I know why.  Because if they told us it was true, if they told the President it was true, then we’d have to do something about it.  And the CIA didn’t want us to do anything.  Because they didn’t have any good alternatives for us to do.

 

Now, we have to change the government of Iran.  And it will be a tough thing to do, but we need to do it.

 

Let me just -- let me close with one of my favorite quotes, as I think about the times that we’re going through.  It’s a quote by Sir Winston Churchill.  It was given in June of 1940, June of 1940, a year and a half before the United States would get into World War II.  “What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over.  I expect the Battle of Britain is about to begin.  Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization.  Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire.  The whole fury and might of our enemy will soon be turned upon us.  If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.  But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.  Let us therefore brace ourselves to do our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say, ‘This is their finest hour.’”

 

Tom Brokaw called that generation of Americans the greatest generation.  Yet, remember, it was a year and a half after Europe fell that this greatest generation halted hesitantly, and ultimately didn’t get involved until we were ourselves attacked.  In the face of this great evil across the ocean, [inaudible] of this lethal evil, this greatest generation of Americans said no to combating it.  As our closest ally was being bombed into oblivion, we stood on the sideline.

 

What we’re experiencing here in America is nothing new.  Americans don’t like war.  They don’t like suffering and dying.  No one does.  If this is to be our greatest and finest hour, we, like Britain, will be alone.  We, unlike Britain, will be scorned and ridiculed by everyone else around the world for doing it.  Unlike World War II, this war will not last a year or two or three or four.  This will be a long war.  This will take more from your generation than even the greatest generation gave America.

 

It may have been Britain’s finest hour, even during the years of ‘41 to ‘45.  World War II may have been America’s finest hour.  But it was not, and is not, our greatest challenge.  Your generation, the young people sitting right here before me, are the ones who will have to shoulder the burden of what I believe will be the beginning of the greatest struggle the West has ever seen.

 

The question is, will we have the wisdom, the courage and the perseverance to answer this call?  I pray, and I ask you all to pray, to God that we do.

 

Thank you, and God bless you.