…and you really ought to see what she has to say.
This is the speech from last week which generated so much buzz, particularly after Laura Washington of the Chicago Sun-Times said this of it…
This was no ordinary rubber chicken affair. That was my reaction to the extraordinary keynoter at Tuesday’s Better Government Association annual luncheon.
Lara Logan, a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes,” delivered a provocative speech to about 1,100 influentials from government, politics, media, and the legal and corporate arenas. Such downtown gatherings are a regular on Chicago’s networking circuit. (I am a member of the BGA’s Civic Leadership Committee, and the Chicago Sun-Times was a sponsor).
Her ominous and frightening message was gleaned from years of covering our wars in the Middle East. She arrived in Chicago on the heels of her Sept. 30 report, “The Longest War.” It examined the Afghanistan conflict and exposed the perils that still confront America, 11 years after 9/11.
Eleven years later, “they” still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They’re coming back.
“I chose this subject because, one, I can’t stand, that there is a major lie being propagated . . .” Logan declared in her native South African accent.
The lie is that America’s military might has tamed the Taliban.
The video, and then some takeaways…
Hat tip to Yid With Lid, who was the first to find the clip.
Logan’s speech is everything that Washington says of it and more. She paints a picture of the war in Afghanistan which, frankly, is the worst possible picture for American policymakers. First, she offers up a scenario eerily reminiscent of Vietnam – namely, that we’re fighting a limited war, essentially of attrition, against a committed enemy who has freedom of movement just on the other side of a border because we’ve determined that political considerations should prevent us from doing the dirty work of routing the enemy out of where he lives.
But she then calls such an analogy ridiculous. Because, she says, regardless of how committed the Viet Cong or North Vietnamese army may have been they had zero interest in following us home after our departure from Afghanistan.
This enemy does. This enemy believes that it was their victory over the Soviets, with our help (which they are neither grateful for nor recognize as important – Allah provided, as they see it), which ultimately brought the USSR down. They believe they will do the exact same thing to America in Afghanistan. They believe beating us there will pave the way for the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate, and they exhort their people on a constant basis using that very language.
Logan recognizes that we’re leaving in Afghanistan. She doesn’t believe that we should and she believes it’s impossible to “win” in Afghanistan under our current stated goals there and timed pullout. And in that, she’s correct.
She’s also correct in recognizing the scope of our fight and the nature of our enemy in what is a civilizational struggle. Logan should be given full attention in this regard; she’s been dismissed this week by some as having too emotional an interest in the subject matter, which is absurd – maybe it’s putting too sharp a point on this, but the night she was raped and beaten within an inch of her life in Tahrir Square Logan gained a better understanding of the nature of Sharia Islam than any working Western journalist alive. When she says that our government is lying to us about the nature of our enemy and that we are arrogant to act as though we are the sole author of the script in what is essentially a world war – the other side is just as determined to write that script as we are, and probably far more so – she speaks from experience and perspective which outstrips virtually the entire Obama administration and its national security team in particular.
We’re going to lose in Afghanistan. That’s neither avoidable at this point nor the end of the world – though certainly it’s extremely difficult for our veterans to hear. What’s more important is that we don’t lose the civilizational struggle. And the answer there is to deny the Islamic world the resources to prosecute it.
Which is a difficult, difficult task. Because what funds jihad is Arab oil. The Taliban would have knives and clubs but for Pakistani-supplied weapons bought with Saudi petrodollars. They have guns and bombs. And so to win in Afghanistan, we have to cut off the Saudi petrodollars. How do you do that?
This is a problem which has confounded American strategists for a long time; further back, certainly, than 9/11. But the answer must begin with energy independence, which thanks to American innovation and technology and American entrepreneurship is now possible.
The answer also involves denying the enemy the ability to operate in the United States. That means treating jihadist Muslims in precisely the same manner we treated Communists during the Cold War and the German-American Bund during World War II. It means eradicating the threat. If that requires deportations, surveillance, arrests and prosecutions which for lovers of liberty are difficult to stomach, we should be prepared for it. War is hell, and this is war.
It also means operating in a completely different manner with respect to things like airport security. TSA patdowns of six-year-olds and Swedish-American grandmothers waste resources when the people who are threats to travel are of a quite specific demographic and behavioral profile.
The mosque in Nashville from which Carlos Bledsoe became the Islamist monster who killed Andy Long at the Little Rock military recruiting station on June 1, 2009 should have been raided and its proprietors and employees arrested. The mosques frequented by Major Nidal Hassan before his shooting spree at Fort Hood should have suffered a similar fate. The mosques Anwar al-Awlaki used to preach treason and jihad before departing to emerge as Al-Qaeda’s chief inspirational figure in Yemen should have been taken down and those who hired and followed Awlaki should have been arrested.
And the Muslim Brotherhood front groups who act in concert to degrade American society and set the table for our eventual fall to the Islamic world should be put out of business.
This is how you fight a civilizational struggle. We are not fighting it. And while Logan has our situation on the ground in Afghanistan precisely right, the problem is bigger even than she will describe in the speech.
Nonetheless, all Americans need to hear it. Because Logan is offering a very objective, if passionate, assessment of an issue we cannot avoid. And we are not getting that objective, if passionate, assessment of that issue from our government.