View Full Version : Mark Steyn on a grim day for the Special Ops community

06-30-05, 07:34 PM
Courtesy of Mark aka The Fontman

Mark Steyn on a grim day for the Special Ops community
Source: Radio Blogger Dot Com
June 30, 2005

As Hugh went on the air today, the news that we lost several of the best trained personnel in the world a couple of days ago in Afghanistan was confirmed. Hugh will spend a lot of time on that today, and we'll link some of the key transcripts. Here's the columnist to the world, Mark Steyn:

HH: Mark Steyn joins us from Steynonline.com, columnist to the world. Mark, it always hurts to have people killed in the war, but sixteen at once, and especially special forces, seals, and their Army counterparts. A really grim day for the military.

MS: Yes, it is. These are perhaps the best trained fighting men anywhere on the planet. Not just fighting men, that doesn't really begin to do justice to it. But they're also people who in this particular war, proved expert at liaising with very different local tribesmen and very different local configurations of forces, and figuring out, really, hill by hill, the best way to deal with the problem. And one of the reasons that we don't hear a lot from Afghanistan, is because the kind of men who died in this crash have done such a great job at fighting this war in such a successful and low-key way, that it kind of dropped off the radar. And this reminds us of what they're engaged in there is very real and still a war.

HH: I recall when we were at the Naval Academy together two years ago this past April, I asked to meet the captain of the water polo team, because I follow polo. And he came up, and I asked him what he's going to do, and he said he's going to the seals. I don't know where he is right now, but he had said that the Academy had seen a huge surge in their midshipmen who were signing up to go and serve in the seals. An interesting counterpoint, really, to those Americans who want to cut and run in Iraq, versus those who want to go...not just the front line. I mean there are brave people serving all through Iraq. But they want to go right in the ravine where the Taliban and the Al Qaeda are.

MS: Yes, and I think what we forget as well is that it's easy to talk about where the big land forces are in this war. But there's an awful lot of countries around the world, not just Afghanistan, but all kinds of little tiny pin pricks all over the map, where small numbers of U.S. special forces are engaged in holding down small local branches of this Islamist terrorist thing. Because these guys are trying to basically destabilize every country. I mean, just to pull a country at random off the top of my head, something like 700 people have been killed by Islamic terrorism in Thailand in the last two years. This is a country everyone thinks of as a popular tourist destination, and a country that doesn't have any real internal problems. Yet that's been destabilized. And what the U.S. special forces have been particularly effective at, in places like the Horn of Africa and other parts of the world, is sending small numbers of people in to work with whoever's on the ground there, and to roll back some of these advances these guys made. I mean, that's really the future of the modern Army, and the modern Navy, and a modern advanced nation's military, not whether you've got huge bases of fixed forces in Germany and Belgium and all the rest of it.

HH: Now Mark Steyn, you watched the president, obviously, two nights ago. What did you assess his speech as?

MS: Well, I think his speech tied in, really, to what the events this week remind us of...that this war is ongoing, and we can have a discussion about how to conduct it. And you know, there was a tremendous creativity about the way the war was fought in Afghanistan. That was really the Pentagon at its best, improvising a whole, fantastic new way of winning a supposedly unwinnable country. But, if you're going to have a debate about it, the other side has got to come up with ideas, and I think this really the challenge. That just being the anybody-but-Bush party is a disaster for the Democratic Party, because it's simply not going to get them anywhere. I mean, it may get them more donations from MoveOn.org, and it may get them more approval from Michael Moore, but it's actually turning them into an absolutely irrelevant political force, whatever you feel about George W. Bush.

HH: And it's turning them into crazy people. Tony Blair felt obliged today to denounce the idea that the Downing Street memos reflected a commitment to go to war in Iraq long before the U.N. campaign began.

MS: Yes. I mean this is a silly thing, and it bascially revolves around the difference in meaning, in the meme everyone pounce on the word fixed...that this guy C...C is the head of MI6, the secret service. If you've seen the James Bond movies, he's called M there, and he's commonly played by Judi Dench. But in real life, he's called C, and he isn't a woman. And so C sits on in this meeting, and he uses the word fixed...he's just back from Washington, and he says this has been fixed. And what these MoveOn.org crazies think is that this means the whole thing has been kind of fiddled, in the American vernacular sense. In fact, in the British vernacular sense, all it means is that the policy's been decided upon and set in place. And this is just so idiotic. There's no secret to any of this. George W. Bush was pledging publicly that it was the policy of the United States that Saddam Hussein not be in power. And all the rest is fine print. And it's just ridiculous. He made no secret of it. The Bush doctrine became clear a few days after September 11th, when he spoke to Congress.

HH: Now Mark Steyn, last night, Frank Gaffney and I spent two grim hours at the Museum for Tolerance with a crowd, talking about the Sharon disengagement from Gaza policy. And we read from your wonderful interview with John Hawkins at Right Wing News yesterday, about your comment that the Palestinians really don't seem very interested in nation building. And we got to the point where it seems almost inevitable that Gaza will become Hamasistan, and a much more sophisticated version of Kabul. I wonder if we've really thought this through?

MS: Well, the problem here is, and I don't believe...just let me say in an ideal world, I don't think that Gaza and the West Bank should be a Palestinian state. The original division of Palestine, in 1922, by which there became what we now regard as Palestine, in the west, and what is now Jordan, in the east. I think that was the division, and Jordan is the Palestinian state. But we're not talking about an ideal world. And what is clear is that I've been in countries that are on the verge of nationhood, and have nationalist movements. If you're in Catholic Belfast, you get a sense that these people want to be out of the United Kingdom. If you're...I was in Slovenia before it split away from Yugoslavia, and you got the sense there. You kept meeting intellectuals who had great plans for a Slovene state. But there's no sense of that in Palestine. These people...if it's a choice between Jew killing and nation-building, they'll choose Jew killing every time. And in fact, it's only the international community that persists in the delusion that there's some kind of nationalist movement here. There isn't. And I think you're right that they'll basically be a gangsta squad in Gaza. And if that's the case, and the Israelis have no other choice than kind of walling it off and leaving them inside there, it may well be the best solution.

HH: Although if they in fact have a greater technological sophistication than Al Qaeda had at their disposal in Kabul, it will only be a matter of time until some Islamo-fascist operating outside of whatever authority is there, decides that Tel Aviv is worth the possibility of destruction, and they mix up their brew. I mean, it does seem to me to be, and Frank, and the audience, inevitable that there's going to be a huge mass-casualty attack in Israel, originating from Gaza. Or do you think that's too pessimistic?

MS: No, I think that is a possibility. I think it's also a possibility of one originating elsewhere in the region, because Ayub Khan of Pakistan disbursed his nuclear technology widely throughout the Middle East. And that's a serious thing. But we're up against...you know, Israel isn't just up against its official enemies. It's up against a whole worldview at the United Nations, at the European Union, and all the rest. The Israelis are basically the new Nazis. You know, that sixty years ago, the anti-Semites in Europe said there shouldn't be any Jews in Europe. Now they're saying basically there shouldn't be any Jews in Palestine. Basically, their whole view is there shouldn't be any Jews anywhere. And this is the problem, that in the end, America is the last friend Israel has on the planet, and even America tends to play this, you know, both sides want peace routine.

HH: Yea, we've gone wobbly. My Church is trying to dis-invest, and I apologize on behalf of all Presbyterians everywhere.

MS: Yes, and that's actually the behavior of the Congregational Church, and the Anglican Church and all...many other mainstream Protestant Churches. It's disgraceful, and history will judge them just as harshly as it did those Churches who didn't stand up for ani-Semitism in Europe sixty years ago.

HH: I agree with that. Now, before we run out of time, I want to read a quote, and apologies to the delicate ears in the audience. Quote, as soon as I saw his picture in the paper, I knew that was the bastard, said the retired Army Colonel Charles Scott, 73, a former hostage who lives in Jonesboro. He's referring, of course, to Iran's new president, Mark Steyn. What do we do about this?

MS: Yes...

HH: He's a thug.

MS: Yes, that's right. A man who held American citizens hostage, is now the president of Iran. And you've got people in the United States State Department, who persist in saying, going around saying, oh well. Iran is a democracy, and we can work with Iran. Iran is not. Iran is where the whole politicization of radical Islam began, thanks to the ineptitude of Jimmy Carter, and his dopey policies of the 1970's.

HH: Well, we will be right back. Mark Steyn, thank you.

End of interview