Interview with Jed Babbin on America at War and the State of the Union

In an exclusive interview with Accuracy in Media last week on Veteran’s Day, former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense and bestselling author Jed Babbin said that now that the Republicans have made big gains in Congress, they will have to deliver or else face the same fate the Democrats met earlier this month. And he is warning that the Obama administration is doing damage to the military, and may not be up to the many national security challenges that the United States currently faces.

Babbin says that “We have not fought the ideological half of this war at all.  We have to do what is right for America, and what is right is to redefine the war, to find the sponsors of terrorism and get them out of that business, and, also, to take on the ideological war.  Let’s face it,” says Babbin, “Islam is not only a religion, Islam is an ideology, and radical Islam is hegemonistic.  It is violent—it provides a blanket declaration of war against our culture.  And we need to be defending that—we need to be attacking the ideology. George Bush didn’t want to do that, and Barack Obama is, quite frankly, surrendering that part of the war preemptively. So I believe we have to redo our thinking very significantly in order to win this war.”

Babbin, a former Air Force officer, is the best-selling author of In the Words of Our Enemies; Inside the Asylum: Why the U.N. and Old Europe are Worse Than You Think; and Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States. Most recently he has written a broadside, or pamphlet, called How Obama is Transforming America’s Military from Superpower to Paper Tiger.  He is the former editor of Human Events, the oldest conservative journal in the U.S., and is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law School.

Below, in italics, are excerpts from the interview. You can listen to the entire interview, or read the transcript here.

The Republicans need to achieve things.  The American people voted to throw out the Democrats more than to elect the Republicans, and if they don’t achieve things, the same thing’s going to happen all over again in 2012.  You have a mandate to cut spending, to reduce the size of government, to get government out of our personal lives—vis à vis Obamacare and things of that nature.  But if they don’t do it, if they don’t actually accomplish things, I don’t think they’re going to be rewarded by the voters in 2012.

Congress needs to look at what the government has done in areas in which the Constitution does not call for it to act, and back the government out of those areas.  There’s nothing in the Constitution that I can find which says the government ought to be buying General Motors and then saying, “Well, we’re going to produce the Chevy Volt”—which nobody wants, an electric car—“and then subsidize it with a $7,500 tax credit.”

When I hear about plans—Secretary Gates is voicing to cut back military pay, to reduce the cost of military health care—I’m just, frankly, appalled.  There are an awful lot of things in this government that need to be cut, and need to be cut massively, but the debt that we owe to our veterans—the combat veterans, the trigger-pullers—those are the guys we need to support, and that burden is one we should bear proudly.

I don’t believe that we’ve seen the end of conventional war.  I look at what China is developing, a hell-for-leather build-up in their military structure.  I look at what happens in the Middle East, and with Iran and other nations there.  I believe that conventional war capabilities are things that we have to have, and that goes into other areas, also, in unconventional war.  Cyber-warfare—we now get thousands of cyber attacks a day against our intelligence, military, and industrial infrastructure, and we have to be very aggressive in not only defending that, but, quite frankly, in coming up with the capability and operational doctrine to have the offensive capability in that area that we need.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, we’ve been fighting proxy wars.  The people who sponsor terrorism have paid no price for doing so, and, regardless of what happens in Iraq and Afghanistan, when we withdraw, the terrorists will go back in.  You see that already in Iraq.  There are massive attacks in Iraq, quite a few of them over the past two weeks taking hundreds of casualties.  This is in direct proportion to our withdrawal.  I’m not saying we should stay in Iraq—I believe we should withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan as fast as our little feet will carry us out of there—but the basic point is, the nations that sponsor terrorism—Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, a number of others—have to be made to get out of that business.  You can do that economically, diplomatically—and militarily.

…we have to contain China.  What we have to understand is, we are now engaged in, effectively, the Second Cold War—with China.  China is expansionist and hegemonistic.  They are building their military with a view towards excluding our military from their areas of operation.  They’re developing weapons very specifically to attack and defeat American aircraft carriers.  Their anti-submarine warfare capabilities are growing.  And their cyber-war capability is enormous.  It is, probably, much more advanced than ours, and, quite frankly, we are suffering attacks from China every day in the cyber-war area.  The long and the short of it is, China has to be contained.  They are, of course, our banker, though, and, at this point, they have enormous leverage against us.

I think the House being run by the Republicans, from January, for the next two years, is going to prevent Obama from accomplishing more of his domestic agenda, but Congress can’t stop him from doing really harmful things in the international arena, and I think that Mr. Obama’s agenda, quite frankly, to take us down from superpower status, will be very, very dangerous, and Congressional Republicans are going to have to work very hard to try to contain what Obama is doing.  We need to try to contain China.  We need to fix our relationship with Saudi Arabia.  None of that’s going to get better in the next two years because Barack Obama’s going to make it worse.

The whole point of this book [In the Words of Our Enemies], is that there are bad people out there, they do mean us harm, there are nations that are our enemies, and we should take them at their word.  Instead of trying to psychoanalyze these folks, let’s just take their word and act accordingly.  When Hugo Chavez threatens the use of oil as a weapon against the United States, we ought to take that seriously.  When the Saudi preachers, the imams, and the main mosques in Riyadh are chanting “Death to the West!” we need to take that seriously, and we haven’t.

Back in the day, when I was growing up, I was reading an awful lot of things—National Review and others—and there was an evolution of conservative thought.  People were talking about different theories and debating them and pushing conservative thought into the future.  That’s what the conservative media is not doing right now.  It very much needs to be done, and I’m hopeful that there are going to be ways to do that in the near future.

Roger Aronoff is a media analyst with Accuracy in Media, and is the writer/director of the award-winning documentary, “Confronting Iraq: Conflict and Hope.”

He can be contacted at

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