HH: I’m joined by Victor Davis Hanson, historian and classicist, to talk about what the implication of this attack in Canada is. Victor, welcome back, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you.
VDH: Thanks for having me, Hugh.
HH: How are you reacting to this story? And what do you think two attacks in three days by radicalized Canadian Muslims mean?
VDH: I think we’re back to 2002, a year or two right after 9/11 when we were a little bit more sober that there were lone wolf Islamists that would pop up throughout the West, sometimes in coordination, sometimes acting spontaneous like the Tsarnaev brothers or the Oklahoma beheader, and that it was time to really monitor mosques, pull passports, deny visas and talk candidly. I think even minor things, trivial things such as using these euphemisms of workplace violence, overseas contingency operations, man-caused disasters, Muslim Brotherhood largely secular, they give a picture to the would-be jihadist or the lone wolf Islamist that the West has no confidence in its values, or it’s ashamed of its values, or it wants to bend over backwards. And it has the opposite effect of encouraging people to take risk and to attack us. So I think we need to go back and reboot all the way back to 2002.
HH: Victor, let me play for you the President’s two statements from earlier today. Here’s number one?
BO: I had a chance to travel to the parliament in Ottawa. I’m very familiar with that area, and am reminded of how warmly I was received and how wonderful the people there were.
HH: Then he went on to say this.
BO: We don’t yet have all the information about what motivated the shooting. We don’t have all the information about whether this was part of a broader network or plan, or whether this was an individual or a series of individuals who decided to take these actions. But it emphasizes the degree to which we have to remain vigilant when it comes to dealing with these kinds of acts of senseless violence or terrorism.
HH: Acts of senseless violence or terrorism, Victor Davis Hanson. How do you respond to the President?
VDH: Well, before you played it, Hugh, I said to myself he’s going to use the first person. The first thing he’s going to say is I, I’ve been there, he’s going to personalize it, and then he’s going to warn us about jumping to conclusions, and then he’s going to talk about senseless violence or something like that. And he did. And maybe it’s sober and judicious not to jump to conclusions, but I think after nine hours, there’ a more than likely chance that it’s somebody who had converted to Islam and was angry. And it’s another pattern that we’ve seen both in Canada and the United States. And I think people, Hugh, to be frank and candid, I think people are getting tired of it. I think that it’s not just the jihadists. It’s the question of travel bans from Liberia. Nobody understands the logic of it. Nobody understands anything other than it’s a politically correct embedded decision. It’s the same thing with ISIS. They go from jayvees to an existential threat. The Syrian Free Army goes from a bunch of amateurs to the linchpin of our ground strategy in the Middle East. I can go on with the IRS. You even get to the point where the Patent And Trade Office is going after the Washington Redskins. So NASA’s primary aim, the director tells us, is Muslim outreach. So I think there’s a sense that government is both incompetent, and it’s not doing what it’s been tasked to do. The CDC, the IRS, the GSA, the VA, all of them are outsourcing or freelancing, and they’re politically minded. And so when our security organizations, our intelligence organizations, when they look at radical Islam, the first question is not how do we destroy these people before they kill us, but what can I say, under what conditions can I say it, and how do I get, ingratiate myself with my superiors by offering politically massaged advice.
HH: Now Victor, there’s a long list of Republican candidates for Senate. And just for the benefit of the audience, in Arkansas, it’s Tom Cotton. In Georgia, it’s David Perdue. In North Carolina, it’s Thom Tillis. In Virginia. It’s Ed Gillespie. In New Hampshire, it’s Scott Brown. In West Virginia, it’s Shelley Moore Capito. In Michigan, it’s Terri Lynn Land. In Minnesota, It’s Mike McFadden. In Iowa, it’s Joni Ernst. In South Dakota, It’s Mike Rounds. In Montana, it’s Steve Daines. In Colorado, it’s Cory Gardner. In New Mexico, it’s Alan Wey. In Alaska, it’s Dan Sullivan. And of course, there are a couple of incumbents – Pat Roberts in Kansas, and Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. These are the only races that really matter in the United States right now, and I cannot for the life of me think of a rational decision to vote for a Democrat given the national security threats that we face right now. And that’s a sweeping statement, but I believe it to be true that you’ve got to be suicidal to vote against any of those people because of the quality of non-leadership exercised by Harry Reid and this rudderless president.
VDH: I agree. I think they believe that there’s a certain number of Americans that have to be harvested for the price of being politically correct, whether that’s letting people in from Liberia, or whether that’s letting ISIS take over all those hard-fought battles that we won in Fallujah and Ramadi and Baqubah, or whether it’s not rushing to judgment or not saying things that are politically incorrect about radical Islamicists or jihadists, or even lying. I mean, when you have the director of national intelligence telling us that the Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular, or the head of the CIA, John Brennan, saying that jihad is not a radical act but a personal journey, it’s so deeply embedded after six years that you really get the impression that they’re willing to take risk with American lives and American security to make a larger point. And I guess that larger point is they look at America abroad as they do at 1% at home, it exercises an inordinate influence it has not earned by its morality or its competence, and they want to readjust it somehow as they do at home with the 1%. I think that’s all I can come up with, because otherwise, it’s lunatic.
HH: It is lunatic. I think we’re going to get an almost acid reflex here, though, in this election. I do think it has built up to the point where people are going to vomit out Democrats, because they are, they’re scared, and it’s not rational. Not having visa restrictions from the hot zone of Ebola is not rational. And not talking seriously about what ISIS is, from the jayvees, as you said, to an existential threat in nine months, and then pretending you didn’t say it, and editing your remarks, and having Joe Biden running around, it’s…
VDH: And then look at the government, Hugh. I mean, what does the Trade and Patent Office have to do with going after the Washington Redskins? Or what does the IRS have to do going after the Tea Party? Or what does NASA have to do with dealing with Islam? So all of these, or what is any of these agencies, what does the Secret Service have to do with a lobbyist, having a lobbyist and a prostitute down in South America? Or what does Joe Biden’s son have to do with the Naval Reserve? And what I’m getting at is you get the impression that government’s been perverted from its logical mission and course into an agency of a political movement, whether that’s getting as many people government jobs, or getting government unions, or turning them into political operatives, but the American people get the idea that all of these iconic bureaucracies, the VA, my God, the IRS, the Secret Service, they no longer have got the respect of the American people.
HH: The CDC, the CDC, yeah. So in respect, looking back at this, I don’t know how this could, I don’t know how the threat of jihadists in Canada attacking parliament can be ended until ISIS is ended. In other words, I view them as the mother lode of propaganda and mind bending, mind altering, viral evil.
VDH: Well, in the Desert Storm, and in the Balkans, which wasn’t like Desert Storm, we had over 100 sorties a day. Until recently, we were averaging five to seven sorties a day against ISIS. So it really wasn’t a serious reaction. The only way that we’re going to defeat ISIS is defeat it, obliterate it and humiliate it, so then people all around the world don’t want to be associated with it, because it’s a bunch of incompetent losers. And that’s what we did in Anbar Province. That’s what we did in Afghanistan in the beginning. But if you’re not willing to do that, it empowers people, and the opposite chain of events start to occur where people will say my God, I’m going to go over there and fight with ISIS, or I’m going to go kill somebody here at home, because they’re on the ascendency. They have a message. They resonate with me. And I don’t think the President understands the basic human nature in war, that evil people try to take advantage of the situation, a Vladimir Putin or the Chinese or the Iranians, and people will join them, because they want to attach themselves to a perceived victor.
HH: The strong horse, right? It’s a strong horse.
VDH: Yeah. And at some point, you have to say that’s enough. We’re back to the last 1930s, and we’ve got to stop this right now. And once we stop it and we go on the offensive, and we’re successful, we’ll have all kinds of allies, Hugh. Nobody wants to join somebody that’s half-hearted and will probably lose and leave them in a hang out in the Middle East. But if we were to really go in there and obliterate ISIS, then you would have more allies than you knew what to do with.
HH: I only hope you’re right, but I cannot imagine this president doing that. But I can imagine the Senate obliging him to do more. Victor Davis Hanson, thank you. Read all of Victor’s work at www.victorhanson.com. Follow him on Twitter @VDHanson.
End of interview.