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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Dr. Tony Campolo and Frank Gaffney debate the role of America in the world.

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HH: From Eastern University, I’m Hugh Hewitt. Thanks for listening to the Hugh Hewitt Show. I’m here joined by a wonderful crowd of Eastern University students, faculty and friends, as well as by two people whom I greatly admire, and I cannot imagine two better people to debate, since they come at it from very different perspectives, the role of America in the world. Please join me in welcoming Frank Gaffney from the Center For Security Policy and Eastern University’s own Tony Campolo. (applause) Now when we put this together, I knew Tony may be the most persuasive center-left Evangelical in the United States. Certainly, he is as well known as any, and he has a different view on the world than I do. And so I decided I would run away from that fight, and I’d bring Frank in to talk to Tony. (laughter) But I want to start early, I’m going to very much enjoy moderating this, and I think it’s an important conversation. Tony’s got a new book out called Letters To A Young Evangelical, in which he is very, very blunt about the war, about just war, about what America’s doing in the world, and he’s a great exponent of that. And Tony, I’m going to begin by asking you first for any opening remarks, and then secondly, is America a force for good in the world. Tony Campolo?

TC: Mixed. I think that there is incredible good that we are doing. I think there’s incredible damage that we are doing. We are a powerful nation, the most powerful nation in history, I think, and with that power goes tremendous responsibility. In some respects, we’re fulfilling it, in some respects, we’re not fulfilling it.

HH: And would you expand a little bit on the ways that we’re not?

TC: I think first of all, I feel that in the Middle East, our policy is uneven. I am totally committed to secure borders for the State of Israel, I am absolutely committed to the Israeli state, and justice for the Israeli people. Parents shouldn’t worry that their children are going to be blown up by terrorists on the way to school. I am also concerned about the Palestinian people I feel that houses are being leveled by bulldozers unjustly, I believe that there’s a land steal in many instances. I feel that there is a…everybody’s tearing at Jimmy Carter these days. I think he’s raised the right question. Are we moving towards an apartheid situation in Palestine? And so that’s a place where I think we need to do some reflecting as to what our policy should be. I think that the United States right now, going in debt in ways that stagger the imagination. Here’s where I sound conservative. Borrowing billions of dollars from the People’s Republic of China scares the daylights out of me. I think it’s an irresponsible thing. We don’t have to worry about being conquered by the communists. I think they’re going to own us. I feel that that’s another place where we’re failing. I think that we are not doing what should be done in terms of the environment. I think that there needs to be not a lessening of regulations on carbon emissions, but there ought to be a sustaining of the rules that already existed. I could go on, but that’s the gist of this question.

HH: Let me ask you about one quote, and then we’ll go to Frank.

TC: Good.

HH: In your new book, Letters To A Young Evangelical, and it’s a wonderful book, I really would hope that people would read it and reflect on it. There’s lots to disagree with in it, lots to agree with in it. You write, “We can see that very little good has come of this war, and much evil has been perpetrated,” referring to the Iraq invasion.

TC: Yup.

HH: Can you explain that to us?

TC: Yes, I think that when we begin to ask how many civilian casualties there’s been, there have been over there, number one…number two is in the name of democracy, there was a free election. Now I think the present administration has the sense that democracy is when the majority rules. A democracy is not where the majority rules. A democracy is where it’s safe to be in the minority. And the Christian community, for instance, in Iran, is under pressure like they have never been before.

HH: You mean Iraq?

TC: Excuse me. Did I say Iran?

HH: Yeah.

TC: Iraq. Yeah, that in reality, we have at least 100,000 Christians having fled the country because they suddenly find that they’re in a regime that’s going to oppress them. Shiite law has become incorporated into the constitution that we helped get in place, a law that in fact will, eventually, take incredible rights away from women, women are now more oppressed than they were under Saddam Hussein. I’m beginning to look at that, I’m beginning to look at the civilian casualties, I’m beginning to look at a war that is costing us at least $2 billion dollars every four or five days, and I’m saying to myself the loss of life is the most important thing to consider. In terms of what we have accomplished, and what we have paid in the loss of life and in the dollars spent, I think this has been the greatest tragedy I’ve ever seen.

HH: All right. Now Frank, sorry, we’ve got to go to break. No, just a joke. Frank Gaffney, the table is set.

FG: I was kind of hoping you would go to a break, as a matter of fact. I actually find a lot of things that I agree with in what Tony said. I suppose that that will shock some of you here, and some of you listening in, because what I think he said is just basically common sense in a number of respects. There are points of which we diverge, and I’m sure we’ll have a chance to discuss those as greater length. But let me just pick up on the last point. He’s concerned about the loss of life in Iraq, and certainly, all of us are concerned about the loss of life, and the costs that have been associated with trying to both deal with a real and I think growing danger in the regime of Saddam Hussein, and help the people of Iraq who had suffered so grievously, for so long under that regime, have something better, a prospect that is now very close to being denied them, thanks to some relatively small numbers of bloodthirsty but very determined people. And those bloodthirsty and very determined people are killing Americans, fortunately not very many of them, but enough, they’re killing large numbers of Iraqis, but make so mistake about it, ladies and gentlemen, they are part of the community of people that wish to kill a great many of us here, as well as around the world. And the loss of life, and the costs, the investment we’re making in trying to help the people of Iraq have that better future, I think is one of the better things that America has done, and is trying to do. Are we doing it perfectly? No. Is it going really well? Absolutely not. Are the costs of our failure there real and potentially disastrous? I think they are. So just to pick up on one point of perhaps disagreement, I would say that the thing that we need to be focused on, and I hope we will spend some serious time talking about it tonight is, what are the dynamics at work in this world? It may be that we’re the most powerful country in a lot of ways. Tony’s just mentioned one way that we’re not so powerful, and that is we’re a debtor nation. Another way is that we are not a profoundly ideological nation at a time when ideologies are rising not only in the Muslim world, but in others as well, that are quite hostile. Indeed, I call this, as Hugh knows, the war for the free world that we’re involved in, of which Iraq is one theater, and I hope very much, Hugh, that we will be able to explore, perhaps, areas of agreement and disagreement about not only the characterization of that problem, but also what we do about it.

HH: Tony, you get the last minute before our first break.

TC: Well, I think we’re going to have a good discussion here, I really do, because I think this is the way I want it to go. I think you’re saying some important things. Let me just say that as a Christian, I’m very upset, because the invasion of Iraq, has been interpreted on Al Jazeera television, and by the Muslim people around the world, as the invasion of a Muslim country by a “Christian” country, which of course, that’s a misnomer. But be this as it may, it’s interpreted that way. It’s interpreted as an invasion of the Muslim world by the Christian world, and I don’t think we can afford that growing hostility, or else Huntington’s prediction about the clash of civilizations will come true, and we will have a massive struggle between the Muslim world and the Christian world in the years to come.

HH: And you’re referring to Samuel Huntington’s clash of civilization.

TC: That’s right.

HH: And can you explain what his thesis is in 45 seconds for less?

TC: His thesis has been simple, that from the end of World War II up until about 1995, every war was over political ideology, Communism versus capitalistic democracy. From 1995 on, almost every war has been over religion, and nothing is more dangerous than that, because people never do evil more enthusiastically than when they do it in the name of God, and that’s where we’re heading, and he sees a great struggle in the future over religious groups killing each other. And we see part of this in the Shiites and the Sunnis over there.

– – – –

HH: Okay, Frank Gaffney, when we went to break, Tony had just said a couple of things. Take it away.

FG: I want to pick up on this point about the nature of the problem, because I think it’s certainly historically indisputable that where religion mixes with politics, you can find a virulence and a lethality unprecedented in the history of the world. What I think we’re up against at the moment, though, is less a religion, or a religious-driven phenomenon, than it is a political ideology masquerading as a religion, or that has adopted the patina of a religion as a justification for a lot of what it’s doing, but that fundamentally is very similar to, if not in most respects identical to the totalitarian political ideologies of the past, some of which Tony has alluded to. And why that’s important is that if we don’t understand that’s what we’re up against, we’re likely to make two very fundamental and potentially fatal mistakes. One is that we will misperceive the problem, and therefore fail to use techniques that we know work in countering ideologies…a man I had the privilege of working for a long time ago, Ronald Reagan, put together a program for taking down the last terrible totalitarian ideology, a very purposeful, deliberate, thoughtful and carefully executed plan for destroying the Soviet Union. He did that cognizant of the fact that what was at its core was this totalitarian political ideology, and he figured out the kinds of tools that were relevant to it. I believe most of those tools are relevant to dealing with today’s totalitarian ideology, which for one of a better term, I think is described as Islamo-fascism. The second thing, if we’re not careful, is we will mistake the enormous contribution to this not becoming a clash of civilizations, and us not losing, is recognizing that there are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world who are not Islamo-fascists, who do not wish to live any more than we do under Sharia, the political use of religion as a law through which to exercise political power. And by making common cause with those moderate Muslims, and there are lots of opportunities, and I commend, particularly, Jack Templeton for his understanding these, and helping to advance them. We have a chance of both countering our common foe, the non-Islamist Muslims and ourselves, and I think ensuring that this is thought properly as it should at the ideological level, rather than becoming this Huntingtonesque clash of civilizations.

HH: Your response, Tony Campolo?

TC: Well, your comment about bringing down the USSR were well stated, and that we are all indebted to Ronald Reagan for pursuing a policy that brought an end to the major communist threat. There’s a big difference between the USSR and the terrorists that are presently threatening the situation. As strange as this may sound, the USSR seemed to be a rational state. I mean, they were somewhat predictable, and we were dealing with a government that could be located, in a place that we could identify. We’re dealing with a very different kind of an enemy now. We’re dealing with terrorists, and I’m not sure that the same tactics that worked against the USSR can be applied to these terrorists, as you so properly stated, who represent a small minority, and infinitesimal minority of Islam. So that’s the first point I wanted to make. The second point I wanted to make was this, that what you said was right on target, that in reality, you have a bunch of terrorists using religion to legitimate their evil. I want to point out, however, that there are many people who would say there are those on this side of the equation who will do the same thing with what we’re doing, you know, we go to war, and we act as though God is on our side. We act as though God is somehow legitimating what we’re doing, and that we often see ourselves as agents of God as we pursue the policies that we are presently pursuing. George Bernard Shaw once said this, and it was an eloquent statement. He said God created us in His image, and we decided to return the image. And you know exactly what he meant, that what we end up doing is taking Jesus as he comes out of Scripture, and making him into a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant conservative. And he is neither a conservative nor a liberal, he’s neither a Republican nor a Democrat. He transcends political ideologies, and he comes with judgment. But I find, you know, when you talk about this animosity growing up between religions, I find that the ideologues on the other side are doing a brilliant job of raising consciousness against Americans. But I also find that there are leading Evangelical spokesmen in this country who are saying terrible things about Islam, who are saying that Mohammed was a pedophile, that this is an evil religion, that this is a religion that has to be destroyed, and I find that the rhetoric of Evangelical leaders, not minor voices, but leaders in our community, are heightening this conflict between the Muslim world and the Christian world, and I think we have to set our own house in order before we begin to call upon the Muslim community to do the same for theirs.

HH: Frank Gaffney, a minute to the break.

FG: I’m not sure that it is an infinitesimally small percentage of the Muslim world that has been seduced or coerced, or in other ways brought into this Islamo-fascist ideology. What worries me more is whatever the number is, let’s say it’s 10%, that’s 120 million people, theoretically. The trend is in the wrong direction.

TC: That’s right.

FG: I don’t believe that to be the cause of our Evangelical Christians and their vision. I think it is because of the ideologues on the other side. But there’s no question about it. If we don’t understand how to differentiate within the Muslim world, we’re going to lose a lot more of them to this darkness.

– – – – –

HH: During the break, I learned that Tony Campolo actually played basketball against Wilt Chamberlain when he was a guard for West Philadelphia. I have to assume his job was to bite his knees. (laughter)

TC: Actually, the coach asked me do only one thing, not to try to stop Wilt, which is impossible, but just to talk to him the whole game (laughing) about…

FG: And you were good at that.

TC: Eight or nine years ago, no kidding, I ran into him at the L.A. airport, and I said Mr. Chamberlain, you probably would never remember me. My name is Tony Campolo, I played…he said you’re the guy with the mouth (laughter).

HH: Well, let’s get back to using that as opposed to hoops skill. Frank, I don’t know, but you weren’t a basketball player, were you?

FG: No.

HH: No, okay. (laughing) Today, gentlemen, I began the morning as did most others reading about an attack in India. Two bombs went off on a commuter train between India and Pakistan in the low class segment of the cars. 75 people were killed and burned to death. It is the continuation of a war which is global, and I don’t think, Frank Gaffney, it has anything to do with us. That’s what I hear you guys talking about how small the problem is, and how we might be exacerbating it. I don’t think the train in India got blown up because the United States is in Iraq.

FG: No, and not any more than it was because there’s apartheid taking place in Israel or Palestine. You know, what’s happening is in Pakistan, as in, you know, the Tamil Tigers, as in Central Asia, as in the Far East, as in Latin America, increasingly, Africa…

HH: Northern Nigeria.

FG: Northern Nigeria, of course, in Africa, Europe, and in our own country, to some extent, you’re seeing this radicalization moving forward, and people buying into the idea that they will in fact, you know, get the virgins, or get a better deal in Heaven, or get some money for their families, or in some other way benefit from killing themselves in the process of killing infidels, apostates, Suffis, Shia, Sunnis, what have you, and that the trouble is that it’s why I say I think you’ve got to understand the dynamic that’s at work here, a fundamental character of this sort of totalitarianism, in all of its manifestations, and work at counteracting it, first and foremost, by discrediting it. This is really what Reagan did, was fundamentally, we waged political warfare against the Soviet Union. He did a lot of other things, too, and they were synergistic, they reinforced the principal thrust of his philosophy, which is that the Soviet ideology was despotic, tyrannical, and did not need to persist, in fact, needed to be destroyed. And I just…last point on this, because Tony has suggested that there’s a difference between this ideology and the other. It is true that the Soviet Union had a state. It is true that because it was basically an atheistic operation, they figured that since there was no place to go to, they shouldn’t truncate this life any faster than they had to, and you could work on that from a deterrence point of view. On the other hand, and this is really important, there would be far less problem with the Islamo-fascists today if they did not have state sponsors, some of them who are themselves Islamo-fascists, like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

HH: A minute and a half to the break.

FG: But some of whom are not.

HH: A minute and a half to the break.

TC: Well, just that it’s…if you’re right about Saudi Arabia, and I think you’re right, and I wonder why we call Saudi Arabia one of our great friends in the Middle East if they’re what you say they are, and I think you’re right on that one, let me just say that we really look at America as the great champion of democracy, and we’re going to sponsor freedom all over the world, and I’m looking not only at Iraq and what happened there in an election, but I’m looking at the Palestinians, where they elect Hamas, and I’m looking at Lebanon, where Hezbollah is gaining more and more political power, and I’m just saying where is all this going? Where is American policy taking us? Is it taking us towards freedom, towards democracy? Or is it, in the name of free elections, creating totalitarian states? You know, the fact that people have the right to vote doesn’t mean that you have democracy. And a matter of fact, de Tocqueville pointed out that it’s easy for a group of people to elect a tyrant. And I’m worried about free elections when tyrants are being brought to power, and I’m frightened because I think that this is what our present policy is leading to.

– – – –

HH: Back to you, Frank Gaffney, you were going to respond to something Tony said when we went to the break. And can you reset for the radio audience just tuning in what it is you’re responding to?

FG: Sure, we were talking before the break about a couple of things, of course one that I wanted to come back to was this business of enabling our enemies to be more powerful. And I complete agree with Tony that it is not only anomalous, it is absurd to be describing Saudi Arabia as our friends when while they certainly sell us a lot of oil, they channel an enormous amount of the proceeds of those sales into supporting Islamo-fascist terrorism, and the infrastructure that expands its reach in all of those places that I mentioned before the break, literally around the world. We’ve got ourselves to blame, in part, for this, I have to tell you, and this is one of the things that I hope we might talk about. It’s prominently featured in War Footing, if I may put a commercial plug in, and that is we’ve got to kick the habit of buying oil from people who are trying to kill us. It is a reckless and certainly unsustainable policy. But just to come back to this question of elections, because Tony’s addressing a very, very important point. I think, if I hear you correctly, we don’t disagree on the importance of trying as a country, as a people, to help others find freedom to experience it themselves, and to share it with others. The world will be a better place, and we will certainly be a more secure place if, as in places with well-established democracies, as he said earlier, minorities’ rights are respected, majority rule prevails, but with that respect as a constraint, governments have guaranteed the fundamental freedoms that we tend to take for granted here. The truth of the matter is very little of that has much to do with elections. And I, like I think Tony, am very concerned that the Bush administration has fixated on the thing that can be done quickly, with very little regard, certainly in a number of places no regard, for the fact that the institutions that make elections amount to something more than one man, one vote, one time are not being put into place as well. Now to some extent, in fairness to them, they’ve sought and encouraged in places like Iraq the institution of a constitution, adopted through a formal mechanism, and some of the checks and balances are in there, but it is also, in this particular instance, true that it does codify the idea of it being an Islamic state, something that we could not preclude it from being if the people of Iraq want it to be. But the point here really is that in a lot of other places, notably the Palestinian Authority, there was no concern about these institutions being put into place. And what we’ve got now, particularly with this power sharing arrangement, but as a result of the last elections that brought Hamas to power, is an Islamo-fascist government that is promoting terror, that is building the infrastructure for it in its areas, and that is going to become a problem not just for Israel, but for all of us. Reasons why it is important to get this right, point one, and why it is foolish, even reckless, to be thinking that if only we squeeze the Israelis more to make concessions, that this kind of group will make peace with Israel

HH: Tony, I have questions, but I want to give you a chance to respond.

TC: Okay, first of all, that everything you said was right on target with me. The one thing I do want to point out is that the United States has done exactly the same thing. We have funded insurgencies. There’s no question about that. Around the world we have funded insurgencies. As a matter of fact, the most notorious one that I have to deal with right now is that there’s a question as to whether or not al Qaeda would exist had not the United States funded Mr. bin Laden back there when they were killing Russians. As a matter of fact, I have a great quote. I can give it to you, because you need to sometimes, where Ronald Reagan speaks of Mr. bin Laden, and says he is a freedom fighter that can only be equated with the great men who founded our country. And I thought oh, my goodness. But I’ll give you that quote on where he said that. I mean, when they were killing Russians, we called them freedom fighters. When they started killing Americans, we called them terrorists. But the truth is that we funded, we funded insurgencies that did terrible things, and we have continued to do that not just through Republican administrations, but Democratic administrations as well. This is a bipartisan error.

HH: I can assure you that that was Frank, actually, when he was at the Department of Defense…

TC: Oh, okay. All right (laughing)

HH: I would like to know…

TC: I was wondering who it was.

HH: It’s a moral dilemma, but it’s not, I think. I wanted you to respond to that. There’s a difference.

FG: As the author of the piece??? For the record, I had nothing to do with (laughter) kicking the Soviets out of Afghanistan, but I did think it was a good idea. And you know, the truth of the matter is we can argue about whether helping the Afghan people get rid of that enemy, common enemy, was an important part of that larger strategy that I was talking about, that did have a material effect on the ability of the regime in Moscow to hold onto power. Did we do it perfectly? No. Did we walk away from Afghanistan, as we hear endlessly? Yes. Did we ignore the fact that our Pakistani allies, another of these proto, if not actual Islamo-fascist regimes, was putting the Taliban in power in Afghanistan, and giving it a safe haven, giving thereby a safe haven to terrorist organizations like al Qaeda. But the point is that I think that one instrument that is part of the tool kit that has to be brought to bear against these kinds of ideologies are freedom fighters.

– – – –

HH: Tony, I said I wanted to ask you the toughest question of all. I was walking in the hallway here at Eastern, and I saw a standout for Darfur. And I thought that’s wonderful. And I know that you believe that, too. Well, how’s a Christian do that if they have force…if they have the ability to wield force, ought they not to be urging the United States to do that to save those people?

TC: You really put me on the spot, didn’t you? Because the reality is you know I have pacifist tendencies, and do not…

HH: I read the book.

TC: Yeah, I wish you hadn’t. Most people who criticize my book have not read it. So thank you for doing that, I guess. You bought it, too, didn’t you?

HH: No, no. It was sent to my by your publisher.

TC: Oh, geez. I didn’t even make a buck on you.

HH: I won’t resell it, though. Go on.

TC: Holy mackerel. In any event, I do think that there are other ways of handling Darfur. I don’t think that we have gotten the African League sufficiently involved in putting pressure on this situation. I think that the African League could do incredibly more, and I think we have the leverage to get them to do more, and I would like to see if we could do that before we did anything militaristically.

HH: And how many people would have to die, and how long would you have to wait to say that?

TC: Oh, I said you’ve got me in a very difficult place. I’m what we call a troubled pacifist for many reasons. Most of all is I live in a country where I wouldn’t have the right to say the stuff that I say save that brave people laid down their lives on the battlefield to make that possible. So here I am as somebody who’s a pacifist who is dependent upon militarists to maintain my freedom to be a pacifist. And that’s a paradoxical situation for any Christian.

HH: And Frank, the reality is Darfur will continue to bleed unless and until the West decides to stop it.

FG: I think that there may be some good news for Tony. I think there may be options to do something about the government in Khartoum, which is actually the problem, of course, without using military force. And just very briefly, we have been championing for about two and a half years now a project which we called Divest Sudan, as part of a larger project of divesting the stocks of publicly traded companies that do business with terrorist-sponsoring regimes, and which of course, Sudan is one. It’s not only engaged in genocide, it’s not only engaged in slave trading, it’s also engaged in terrorism and the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. Taking the money away from these guys was again, one of the tools that was in Ronald Reagan’s playbook against the Soviet Union, cutting off their cash flow. And there’s billions of dollars being put into Sudan now by people buying their oil, and helping them build their infrastructure. We ought to cut it off.

TC: I concur.

– – – –

HH: Right back to the thick of it, gentlemen. To what extent, Tony Campolo, does American culture, its permissiveness, its lack of humility, its abrasiveness and its almost imperial march feed into the problem in the world today? It’s an argument associated with Dinesh D’Souza, rejected by many. I’m curious as to what someone from your perspective thinks about that.

TC: Well, I think that if you’re in an Arab nation, and you watch American television, or see American films, you might find a basis for believing that degradation has become a hallmark of our culture. I think that we have lost any sense of modesty in our society. I’m not sure how this drives political ideologies, but I do know it gives a lot of fodder to the cannons of those who want to attack America, and say it’s a degenerate society. I think that we must, on the other hand, recognize that what we see in the media is not who the American people are. I really believe that we are basically a very good people. I believe that we are somewhat…I think we’re moral. I really don’t have this negative view of the American people that I think comes across in the media. So that’s my reaction to your statement.

HH: And Frank Gaffney, the question to open up this segment, and then we’re going to let you ask each other questions, is have you noticed that in the left, especially in the academic left, support for Israel has cratered in the last fifteen years, to the point now it’s almost impossible to be actively and vocally pro-Israel on America’s secular campuses? And if so, why?

FG: I confess I haven’t had a whole lot of first-hand opportunity to sample that on the secular campuses, but that’s certainly anecdotally what I’m hearing, as it is, I think, in other parts of the population. Why is it? You know, in a way, it would go back to something that Tony was just talking about. I think that we’ve all been subjected over long periods of time to certain notions, one is that what was true in 1967, in a very pronounced way, and to somewhat lesser degree in 1973, namely that Israel was the David to the Goliaths of its enemies trying to destroy it, was Jujitsued by clever Palestinian nationalists, and terrorists like Yasser Arafat into the Palestinians being the Davids in the intifada against the Goliath of Israel. And I think as that sort of message was not only produced in the Arab world, Tony was talking about Al Jazeera earlier, let’s be clear. Al Jazeera is an instrument of Islamo-fascist propaganda. It is much less a news medium than it is a means of indoctrination and rallying the audience to the cause. And I think what’s happening as a result through not just Al Jazeera, I don’t mean to pick exclusively on them, if you saw this terrific film Obsession, which I would commend to all of you, which talks about radical Islam’s war against the West, the most powerful stuff in it is taken right off of the live feeds from Saudi television, we talked about Saudi Arabia, Iranian television, Al-Manar, the Hezbollah station, the Qatari stations and so on, Al Arabiya, you basically get a sense of what that population is being exposed to all the time. But to some extent, so is ours, and the treatment of Israel, whether it’s through the prism of the United Nations, whether it’s through academia, or other vehicles, is almost always, I think, a nation that has ceased to have the kind of moral legitimacy that in the past caused most of us, if not virtually all of us, to feel as though its place was important, and our support for its place was a national priority.

HH: Tony Campolo, a question…

TC: Look, I need to respond to that. You know, you mentioned that we have this anti-Israel ideology. I find it just the opposite. I find that to raise any questions about Israel’s political policies is to be called anti-Semitic, and I give no better example than the reaction to Carter’s book. I mean, instead of dealing with the issue, they’ve been name calling this man. I think that we really have to raise questions not about the right of Israel to exist, but whether or not the policies that are being pursued by the State of Israel are legitimate policies, whether they’re going to make for world peace, whether they’re going to help democracy around the world. The minute he raised it, man, the whole world in America descended on him, and he’s really raising the question is it possible to carry on any kind of critique of Israeli policy in today’s society without being called anti-Semitic? And I think that’s a good question to be raised. What do you say to that, Larry?

FG: Well, Frank. Call me Frank.

TC: Right. Did I say Larry?

FG: Yes, you did.

TC: Oh…

FG: It’s all right. I’ll be Frank.

TC: Yeah, but I like Larry so much better.

FG: Some of my best friends are Larry. Look, Jimmy Carter gave people who believed that for years he’s been an anti-Semite grounds for seeing him as an anti-Semite in his book. You may believe that the broad thrust of the book or the basic question he was asking was not, but much of the content of it was. And you know, it goes back to something again that I want to just talk about here briefly, because a lot of us are really confused about this Saudi thing. Jimmy Carter is one of the people, along with virtually every ambassador who has served in Saudi Arabia, with few exceptions, Cabinet officers who have had responsibilities for foreign policy in this country, former presidents whose libraries have been bankrolled by either the Saudi government or various princes or businesses there, you’ve seen a corruption of our political elite that I think genuinely does not reflect the kind of bias that Tony was talking about. Is there a sensitivity about anti-Semitism? No doubt about it. And will people who exhibit it, or who seem to exhibit it get called on it? Yes, they will. But unfortunately, what I was trying to say in response to Hugh’s question is I think it’s a lot more acceptable to say, and even be anti-Semitic, or certainly anti-Israel today than it used to be, and I think that’s very troubling, because again, I just want to come back to a point that Tony made at the break, I think, that you know, the facts here are pretty compelling, and the facts are that Israel has been trying for some time now to give away territory in the hope that if it does, people will stop trying to destroy it. And alas, what happens each time it does it is that territory becomes a new base from which the effort to destroy Israel is conducted.

HH: Tony, we have two minutes to the break, and then we’re going to take questions, so I want to make sure you get an opportunity to respond to that.

TC: Well, I think what you said is somewhat correct, but I also would say that anybody that deals with the Palestinian side of the issue is in for all kinds of incredible criticism, in saying do these brothers and sisters, in spite of the terrorists, do they have some legitimate claims that need to be taken seriously? And are their rights being violated? That question has to be dealt with. And I think we can deal with it, and we should deal with it.

FG: Tony, Tony, if I may, just very quickly, the people who have done most to compel the Palestinians to live in absolute abject misery for decades, are their Arab brothers, much more so than the Israelis.

TC: Well, I think I would put the blame on both sides, and I think you’re absolutely right that the Arab peoples could have done more, and should be doing more, and have the resources to do incredibly much more than they have for their Palestinian brothers and sisters. In short, if they had as much love and concern as they say they have, there would be all kinds of decent foreign aid in terms of food, and all kinds of economic assistance, which you know is available, given their oil riches. So we’re absolutely right on that. What I am saying is that Israel, however, has pursued its side in the equation, and has created incredible suffering for the Palestinian people. To say that one side is right and one side is wrong is exactly what I am against. I am saying there is tremendous evil on both sides of this equation, and we need to deal with both sides.

HH: Tony, a quick question. It’s unfair, because it’s quick. But shouldn’t that all be premised, that conversation, on the recognition of Israel’s right to exist by Hamas?

TC: Definitely.

HH: And Hamas has not done so.

TC: And Hamas is an evil group right now. I don’t know whether they can change. I never thought that the PLO would ever change its position on the right of Israel to exist…

FG: And they didn’t.

TC: Well…

HH: They didn’t.

TC: Well, at least Arafat did.

FG: No, Arafat didn’t. I mean, this is one of the great scams…

– – – –

HH: We’re entering what the Brits would call question time. We begin with Dr. Jack Templeton.

JT: Thank you very much, Hugh. I’d like to start with an exclamation point, which is that I think that we can all see why the Hugh Hewitt Show is the nation’s number one program in law (applause), in politics…

HH: Thank you.

JT: and national security. My question is for Frank Gaffney. Frank, you spoke earlier about the growth of radical Islam, especially the jihadists. I would like to ask you therefore what can be done by anyone to give courage and voice to the moderate Muslims in two different areas. The first is in Palestine, where four and five year old children are now being taught, and embracing, that the greatest goal in life is to grow up to be big enough to become a suicide bomber. And the second is in the United Kingdom, where surveys now show that 50% of British Muslims have as their goal, number one goal, the institutionalization of Sharia law throughout Britain.

FG: That was actually a planted question, because…

HH: The easy ones…

FG: Jack has been doing with the Foundation’s tremendous…and his personal capacity, tremendous work in trying to help people like us do something about this. First of all, I think going back to what I said before, we have to understand that this is what’s afoot. These kids are not being indoctrinated in the Palestinian community by accident to believe that their life has to be about killing Jews and other infidels. They’re being inculcated with what friends of mine have called a culture of death, to the point where their parents believe that it’s a good thing for their kids to kill themselves. Now again, some of them expect to be rewarded, as Saddam used to do for having these shahids in the family. But others are simply doing it out of a sense that it’s going to be to the greater glory of Allah. The phenomenon is, as Jack says, metastasizing, especially in communities, Britain is one example. It’s even worse, to be honest with you, in places like Western Europe, the continent of Western Europe, where you have these largely ghettoized communities of mostly immigrants who have now brought one or two generations, in many cases, into their adopted countries, but who are living in these pockets of increasingly radicalized Islamo-fascists enclaves. And the worry I have is that again, if we’re not clear about those two things I talked about earlier, the ideological underpinnings and their enablers, and the fact that there are lots of Muslims who don’t want to be like that, with whom we can work, ultimately, that the trend becomes irreversible. But just very quickly, what you can do about it, I think, is to help identify, promote and empower Muslims who do not want to go there, to help them resist this culture of death, and to fight back. There are numerous examples, one of the ones that I’m most excited about is one that Jack, again, has been involved with as have we, called Live For All Foundation, out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, that is working particularly with some very courageous leaders of the Muslim world, both in the clerical sense and in the popular culture sense. Abdul Rahman Wahid, the former president of Indonesia, happens to be a descendant, lineal descendant from Mohammed, and is a leader, as well as a former president of the country, leader of the Muslim community there. He and a rock star by the name of Dhani, who’s gotten some nice notices in the Wall Street Journal, have been working together to try to create real counterpressures to the Islamo-fascists, and their efforts both in Indonesia, and more generally, making it clear that that’s not necessarily the true faith, and making it clear that people like them who wish to resist have support structures, and soul mates. We need to help those people spread the word, both through the popular culture as Dhani is trying to do, and through the Muslim world. It’s far better for them to do it, of course, than for us, but they say, and I believe it’s correct, they need our help.

HH: Live For All Foundation. Yes, sir, please give us your name and your affiliation.

VB: Vern Burling. I live in Devon, Pennsylvania, and the question is really for the panel, a follow up, actually. With the majority moderate Muslims that have been talked about, where are their leaders, and who are they, and why don’t they stand up and why don’t we hear from them? And without that, without those leaders standing up, is it reasonable to believe that this tide could be turned back?

TC: Let me respond by saying that it’s the media’s fault. The media creates leaders. Case and point…who made Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson the spokespersons for the black community? Nobody. The media did, that in reality, there are a whole majority of African-American people who say they don’t speak for us. Yet whenever the media wants to have a spokesperson for the black community, who do they go to? These same two people, instead of looking for others who are doing incredibly wonderful things, and have a right to speak, and are not being heard. I think the media has a responsibility to find out who the leaders are of the moderate community, and give them a voice. They’re not doing it, they’re not finding these people, they’re not putting them on the air, and I think that’s important. I just came back from New Zealand, and they have Al Jazeera in the news down there. I mean, that’s one of the channels. And you know what? Those voices were fairly moderate compared to what I had heard from other Muslim people. We need to give voice to people who are going to speak reasonably, and I think we can get Al Jazeera to move in an even more moderate direction than it is right now.

HH: Good.

FG: Can I just…this is important. Well, the Al Jazeera that you heard, unless your Arabic is better than I suspect it is, was the English version…

TC: That’s right.

FG: …which is dumbed down from what they’re doing with their own folks. But two, part of the problem in addition to the media is that use of oil money that I talked about earlier, by Saudi Arabia, has translated into basically the purchase of what passes for at least in this country, the Muslim-American establishment. It’s true in Britain, too, and I think in a number of other countries where they have been active. As a result, there are very few moderate Muslims who are prominent as community leaders, or associated with these organizations, like the Council on American-Islamic Relations, for example, or on college campuses, the Muslim Student Association, or the Islamic Society of North America, or the Muslim Public Affairs Council. These are all basically, I believe, Saudi front organizations which creates a real problem for the moderate Muslims who are not pro-Islamist, who don’t want to go there, but who have no natural outlet for their views. And we’ve done a film, as a matter of fact, as Hugh knows, about this very subject. And we’re having problems getting it on the air, though the Public Broadcasting System had indicated that we would. This is a very important story, we need to help identify those people, make it clear that they’re not alone, and tell the stories of the kind of repression that they’re being subjected to by these Islamists in our midst.

TC: I couldn’t agree with you more.

– – – –

HH: Now the future radio star from Eastern whose got the best voice…I was talking to the students today, and take it away.

JB: Hello, my name is Jerrod Bass…

HH: Isn’t that a great voice? Right now, Philadelphia, you’ve got yourself a new…

FG: You ought to be in radio.

HH: Yeah, he ought to be in radio. Go ahead.

JB: My name is Jerrod Bass, I’m a senior here at Eastern University. My question is for all members of the panel. What do you see as the principal roadblocks to peace in Iraq, and how do we eradicate them?

HH: Tony?

TC: I have a solution to the problems in Iraq (laughter). I’m dead serious. Three years ago, a suggestion was made by several members of the Arab League, that the Arab League should in fact send in an Arab army to replace the British and American soldiers. I know that’s fraught with all kinds of problems, but it seems to me that we’ve got young men and young women over there who don’t understand the culture, who don’t know the language, who don’t understand the religion, who walk the streets now knowing whether they’re going to get blown up at any moment. Let the Arab League take care of the Arab peoples, and bring back the American soldiers and the British soldiers. We’re in a place where I don’t think we belong. Let the Arab League provide the police force. I don’t want to create a vacuum just by withdrawing, but I do want to see the Arab army replace the American army and the British army over there. That’s the first thing. The second thing is I think that we need to make a strong commitment, after that’s done, to spend at least $50 billion dollars in rebuilding Iraq, because it’s been messed up and obliterated in many places like Fallujah. And the third thing is, this is the most outrageous thing I’m going to say, here comes the most outrageous, I think the President of the United States needs to go to the United Nations and say three and a half, four years ago, I came before you and pled for us to go into Iraq, because I believed that there were weapons of mass destruction there. I’m convinced that he’s a man who did believe that, and was convinced of that. And that became the premise for invading Iraq. I made a mistake, and I’m going to ask for forgiveness for that mistake, even as I commit myself to making these transitions that I just suggested. You say a great nation cannot show weakness like that. I’m a Christian. I don’t think it’s weakness when you confess a wrong, especially an unintended wrong. I think that confession is important. Here’s what the Bible says, a verse that be used in the Bicentennial. II Chronicles 7:14. If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and repent, I will restore their land. I think the time has come for America on this issue to repent and say we were wrong to go in, we thought we were going to do good, I think we’ve done evil. Now I know you don’t agree with that, but that’s the way I view it. I think repentance is important for a great nation, and I think we do not weaken our credibility, we enhance our credibility when we confess having made a mistake. And I think that the Arabs ought to take care of the Arabs, and I think we ought to put up money to rebuild the country, and that’s my solution to getting out of it.

HH: Frank Gaffney?

FG: Well, I guess we found something we do disagree on (laughter). Facts are stubborn things. One of the things that was determined by the Iraq Survey Group, not to be confused with the Iraq Study Group, Jim Baker fame, but the Iraq Survey Group, the team that was dispatched to go look at the weapons of mass destruction issue on the ground after the country was liberated, came back, you saw the banner headlines, No WMD. But what they also found was that Saddam Hussein did indeed have weapons of mass destruction production lines that were up and running at low levels for chemical and biological agents, and worse, he had plans to ramp them up when the sanctions were lifted, which was thought to be imminent, and worse still, he had plans to put the products of those chemical and biological weapons lines into aerosol cans and perfume sprayers, for shipment to the United States and Europe. Now I daresay probably nobody in this room knew that, but it is nonetheless a fact, and it is the kind of thing that I believe justified the liberation of Iraq, and was what I was worried about happening, what the President was clearly worried about happening in the aftermath of 9/11. Terror with weapons of mass destruction, made possible by an enemy that made abundantly clear his desire to wreak revenge against the United States. If we have time after the break, I’d like to tell you what I do about it, but the short form of it is I think you have to deal with the Iranian regime that is doing everything it can to destroy the future we’re trying to help the Iraqis obtain.

– – – –

HH: From Eastern University with the penultimate segment. For the benefit of the Pittsburgh Steelers fans, that means next to last (laughter). I am now back with Frank Gaffney and Tony Campolo. A question from the audience.

Justin: My name is Justin. I am from the wonderful business program here at Eastern University, which inspired me to create

HH: What’s the name of it?


HH: Well, you see, if you’re going to plug something, you should spell it out.

Justin: Half – College –

HH: H-A-L-F?

Justin: Yes, thank you. On to my question. This is for Mr. Gaffney or Dr. Campolo. Do you think the United States is headed toward a conflict with Iran, and do you think we can sustain a conflict with Iran, kind of like a third war that we’d engage ourselves with under this political climate?

HH: Both of you, 30 seconds or less. Frank?

FG: You’re yielding me the balance of your time? Thank you. We will have a conflict with Iran if we don’t take steps that will bring about the change of that regime, because I believe that the inevitable trajectory of that regime is to precipitate a conflict. One of the reasons I wanted to mention this idea of divesting terror, or terror-free investing, is I think it’s a way that you can get at that regime that may help, especially if we can bring our allies along, but that may well help cripple it, and make it possible to effect the change that will make it possible to avoid the conflict.

TC: I don’t know enough to answer the question.

HH: I think the website’s quite nice,, so…(laughter). Yes?

BO: Hi, my name is Brittany O’Neill, I’m from Massachusetts, and I’m here at Eastern. I guess I just wanted to pose this question to both of you. I’m disappointed that I feel that we as a nation failed to address these issues from a Christian perspective. If we forget about the democracy and the part about being part of the U.S. for a moment, and focused only on how we feel Jesus would respond, how would our views be different? And I don’t feel this has anything to do as much with democracy as it has everything to do with a lot of…and I guess my question is just how does Christ’s love fit into your view on this situation?

HH: Tony?

TC: Well, Jesus is interpreted in different ways by different people. That becomes the problem. But let me say this. I think that Jesus, let me just get real hot here, Jesus would not approve of utilizing torture in the interrogation of prisoners. I don’t think that’s Jesus’ way. I don’t believe in situational ethics. I mean, the same people that said you can’t have situational ethics often turn around and say but torturing people becomes legitimate if it achieves a greater good. So that would be one area where I think we have to raise the question as to whether or not we’re living out a Christian value system in today’s society. I think the other thing is that we need to negotiate more with other nations. I think we have to negotiate with our enemies, Iran. I don’t think you negotiate with your friends. I think you negotiate with your enemies when you’re in trouble. Jesus said if you’re about to go to war, the first thing you should do is go to those on the other side, the other power, and see whether there’s any way to avoid this. And Jesus says to negotiate before war. I don’t think that we’re negotiating with Iran, and that is contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

HH: Frank?

FG: Well, I’m going to defer to Tony on how much Jesus would say or do on any of these points. I simply think we have to be practical, and in this case, I think being practical means recognizing that when you’re dealing with a country, with a regime at least, as we are in Iran, that believes it’s going to bring back the messiah, and it’s not Jesus they’re talking about, the 12th Imam is going to be brought back when the Apocalypse triggers the outpouring of appeals around the world for his return. Those are not people you can safely, and I think constructively, negotiate with.

HH: To you, ma’am.

CK: Hello, my name is Carol Klein, I’m from Wallingford, Pennsylvania. I’m a concerned mom, as we all are concerned Americans. I would like Frank Gaffney to tell me what he foresees if there weren’t boots on the ground, if there weren’t forces on the ground, and we had deployment and strategic positions with CIA and Special Ops. I don’t believe in that. I think it would not work, but I want your opinion what you would foresee what would happen in Iraq if we did not have boots on the ground.

FG: Well, at the moment, what would happen, I’m pretty sure is that you would have a bloodletting of the people who would remain, namely those who have been acquiring guns, or will get them, wreaking havoc first and foremost on those who have actually put those purple fingers up in the air, and tried to have this better future for their country. From there, it will turn into, I believe, a terrorist haven, and almost certainly become caught up in a larger regional conflict that I’m afraid will not be good for out interests, or those of other freedom loving people.

HH: To this side.

That side: Okay, Dr. Campolo, you were speaking about atrocities committed by Israel, equally…

TC: Not equally. I’m sorry.

That side: I believe you did use that word.

TC: Okay, well if I did, it was a mistake.

That side: I believe you did.

TC: If I did, it was a mistake.

FG: He said great evil on both sides, and I’ve already taken him to task about it.

TC: Yeah.

That side: Okay, and I was wondering what exactly you were referring to.

TC: Well, I think that I can give you individual cases, and I don’t want to do it right now, but I could give you individual cases, if you’ll write to me, of the Israeli soldiers doing things that in fact humiliate, put down, and in some cases, have actually agitated boys and girls to throw rocks at them, and then in fact, fired in return. I can give you cases where that has happened. So they’re the kinds of atrocities I’m dealing with.

That side: But would you compare that to sending in suicide bombers?

TC: Certainly not.

That side: On the scale of…

TC: Certainly not.

That side: Well, it sounds like you were equating them.

TC: If that’s the way I came across, I’m sorry. I just said there’s evil on both sides.

HH: Quick question before we’re done. We’ve got 30 seconds.

CC: Hi, my name is CeCe, and I’m a junior in the Templeton Honors College. I had a question on the divest Sudan, whether it was going to take China, which is invested very heavily in Southern Sudanese oil, or Russia, which sells Sudan airplanes, whether it’s at all addressing those issues.

HH: We’ll have Frank cover that in his closing comment, and we’ll get Dr. Campolo’s closing comments when we return for the last segment of today’s special Hugh Hewitt Show.

– – – –

HH: Wrapping up comments, Tony Campolo?

TC: Jesus once said when you cast out a demon, make sure that you don’t create a vacuum so that worse demons come in to take its place. I’m afraid that what we have done in Iraq is gotten rid of a demon, and have made a situation available where worse demons have come in to take the place of the demon we removed. And Jesus’ words should have been taken more seriously. I think that we did not foresee, and I think we should have. Our intelligence should have foreseen the horrors that would take the place of Saddam Hussein, and that’s my deepest sorrow at this particular point.

HH: And Frank Gaffney?

FG: I think it doesn’t have to be this way, and I think there are things that we can do to help, still, even at this late date, make it better in Iraq. But I would like to just answer the question that was posed before the break. is a website that will give you a basic primer on the idea. Probably most of the people in this room are unwittingly investing, either through public pension funds, or mutual funds, or 401K plans, or life insurance portfolios, or your personal portfolio, in publicly traded companies that are almost all foreign owned and operated, some of them are Chinese, and some of them are Russian, but many of them are Western European, that are doing billions and billions and billions of dollars worth of business with the officially designated terrorist sponsoring regimes, notably Iran and Sudan. It doesn’t have to be that way. And as with South Africa, which twenty years ago became a vehicle for engaging university endowments and public pension funds and other investors in an effort to change the government of South Africa, first its policies and then its actual character, I believe the same thing can be done now with some of the enemies that unless they are stopped, will come and try to kill us.

HH: Tony and Frank, thank you. We look forward to a return engagement sometime in the future.

End of debate.


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