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Col. Austin Bay on the Republicans waffling on support for the war.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

HH: Got another Texan now, Col. Austin Bay of, actually knows that, “Hell, Hoss, we’re at war.” Austin, welcome back. Always a pleasure.

AB: Thanks, Hugh. Glad to be there.

HH: Let’s remind people where they can get your latest, Embrace the Suck, a pamphlet. Where’s the website where they can grab that?

AB: I edited and put it together, Adam Bellow of is the publisher. I encourage everybody to go take a look at it. I saw that the Los Angeles Times ran an op-ed of mine, but most of the op-ed was comprised of terms and definitions from Embrace The Suck. So they ran that, I think, on Sunday.

HH: Excellent. Now I think Embrace the Suck is important, but not nearly as important as getting informed opinion about what benchmark resolutions do. Now Col. Bay, remind people how much time you spent in Iraq.

AB: Well, in Iraq, I was brought back on active duty from the retired reserves for six months, ended up serving seven months, and about, a little over four months of them in Iraq at Camp Victory outside of Baghdad. I was working on both security, trying to combine the security operations with our economic development lines of operation as well.

HH: And so, given what the context is right now, what do you make of Senate and House resolutions offered by Republicans? I know you would hate Biden, but what about House and Senate Republicans offering demands for benchmarks?

AB: Hugh, may I shape the question a little bit better?

HH: You’ve got eight minutes.

AB: Here’s the way I’d look at it, and I guess I should have added, I’ll combine I have 32 years in the service as a reservist, primarily, but also on active duty. I mean, I made active duty in the 1970’s, three years in Germany, served in the Persian Gulf War, Iraq, and also various relief operations in Central America. Now let me tell you what this kind of signaling does to our very aggressive enemies. All it does is encourage them, because they sit there and they say the nation of couch potatoes, those spineless paper tigers…remember that name that we used to be called? They’re paper tigers, they are going to fold. All we have to do is just continue to hold out, because the only thing we’ve got are first of all, are murderous tendencies, and our divinely inspired will. And of course, they really are, our enemies are brittle enemies. The only thing…brittle and brutal enemies. The only thing that empowers them are their media driven faith that we’re going to fold.

HH: And so, Col. Bay, what do you want these politicians to understand about what they do?

AB: I’ll tell you what. Let me pick out a politician that I still admire, Hugh, and that happens to be Joe Lieberman. Joe Lieberman understands that the biggest issue of our time, and I will say our time for the next three or four decades, is confronting…I’ll call it what it is, Islamo-fascist inspired terrorism. And part of that is creating the opportunity, creating alternatives…Heaven forbid, Hugh, here’s a Heavenly laden word, creating choice in the Middle East where there has been only a choice between tyrants and terrorists, who really are the same side of a coin. Senator Lieberman has shown that he understands that, and he’s willing to stand up and fight that war. We’re all going to fight it. The question is do we fight it on our terms, and fight it there, or do we fight it on their terms, and fight it on the battlefields of their choice?

HH: Now Col. Bay, do you believe that elected representatives, especially I’m talking to Republicans right now…

AB: Yes, yes, yes.

HH: …have a grip of how the enemy understands how the war is going, and how their words impact the enemy, and not just American political audiences?

AB: Hugh, I’m afraid that our political class is more concerned about their political clout, their personal political clout, than they are about defending the United States, and extending freedom. And I will tell you defending America and extending freedom in the kind of strategic situation we live in, technological compression it’s called, we can get anywhere on this planet within about 18 hours by jet, we share all the same diseases, we share all the same information, we share all the same weapons, with that kind of strategic reality, you’ve got to firmly stand to extend freedom, and I’ll tell you, you’re not going to defend America the way it needs to be defended in the 21st Century by withdrawing.

HH: Now you pivot…a lot of people touch you from the civilian world, and a lot of people talk to you from the military world. Is the opinion about Congress’ competence on this war widely shared, your opinion, widely shared within the uniformed services, both active duty and recently retired?

AB: Hugh, I can’t answer that. I can really only speak for myself. And let’s talk about the Republicans. I think there are a lot of Republicans in shock at their losses in November of 2006, and they’re scrambling, unfortunately, to look at reelection, instead of honest reevaluation of what they should stand for, and what they should advocate. But I’ll tell you what, you’re always going to come down well in the long run if you stand for extending freedom on this planet.

HH: Let me ask you as well about your reaction to confirming General Petraeus, who authored the new plan, who testified on its behalf, and asked for the assets to carry it out, confirming him on one day, and then criticizing the plan on the next. Does that make any sense to you?

AB: No, it doesn’t. It only makes sense if you think you can get away with it in a media that is not balanced. If I were running a front page, I would have had…here’s what Petraeus said yesterday, and those you said they’re supporting him, and here’s what they say today. A political game is being played, which is politicians want to have it both ways. Heavens, if this works out in Iraq, suddenly, everyone wants to be the father of victory. At the same time, they want to hedge and say if there’s…if we have to end up…because we don’t have to, but if we end up choosing defeat, they want to have verbiage so that they can defend themselves the next time they’re on the Hustings.

HH: Austin Bay, always a great pleasure, always bracing. You hit the weblog right there.

End of interview.

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