At the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, I recently had the honor and privilege of meeting Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters.
The event was put together by the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
I recently interviewed Colonel Peters, but had never met him before. He is a hero of mine. While others talked, he was giving his blood, sweat, and tears so I may type opinions on a keyboard.
On military matters, he is one of the top analysts in the country in terms of access, intelligence, and piercing logical reasoning.
Politicians tell us what we want to hear. Ralph Peters tells us what we need to hear.
His recent book, “The War After Armageddon” starts out after the destruction of Israel and terrorist attacks on Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The book starts dark, gets darker, and concludes black.
Colonel Peters felt that having Jack Bauer come in and save the day would not be realistic. Colonel Peters is deliberately trying to scare the daylights out of us. This is good. We should be scared. His speech came only days after al-Qaeda in Yemen became a hot news topic and global concern.
I spoke with Colonel Peters before and after the event. A conversation with him is a crash course in military education. If there are people who know more about how to solve global conflicts than he does, I have not met these people. One thing that people may not pick up on based on his television appearances is that he is actually a very warm, friendly, and engaging person. For a man of his accomplishments, he is exceedingly humble.
My respect and praise for Colonel Peters knows no bounds. Therefore, I will say no more and let one of the best and brightest military analysts the world has ever known offer his insights on various global threats.
With that, I present the wisdom of Colonel Ralph Peters.
“It’s great to be with you. The median IQ in this room is greater than that of the intelligence community.”
“The media is fascinated with Yemen. It’s been there a long time. The media treats it like it is something new, like another planet past Pluto.”
“This is indicative of the tunnel vision displayed by the media and the intelligentsia.”
“We pay so little attention to Mexico. Most people can’t even name three past presidents of Mexico.”
“Everything that is said about Afghanistan can be said about Mexico. Mexico is a threat to our security.”
“Conservatives need to stop being like the hard left. Stop engaging in groupthink. Liberals think all war is wrong. Conservatives think every war is a good war.”
“The strategy in war should be about a positive return on investment. That is cold-blooded, but we have to ask the right questions. Will there be a positive return on our investment?”
“There are three basic questions we need to ask when deciding on war.
1) What are we trying to do?
2) Can it be done?
3) Is it worth doing?
Determining whether it is worth doing means we ask, will there be a positive return on investment? Are the risks reasonable?”
“President Obama said the right thing. He said we have to go after al-Qaeda. Yet his actions are about dealing with the Taliban.”
“The Taliban are hillbillies. I know about hillbillies. My family are hillbillies.”
“Afghanistan is so corrupt that it makes the South Vietnam governments look like models of democracy.”
“Our military is incapable of cutting losses. It’s like dumping a bad stock. They can’t do it.”
“Our military’s can-do attitude is usually a good thing. We just have trouble cutting losses.”
“The Taliban is gaining strength. Aghanis see us as occupiers.”
“We see that they are voting, but how are they really voting in their hearts after eight years?”
“We can’t get Afghans to fight for Hamid Karzai.”
“In Afghanistan, the central government was always the enemy. They take the people’s taxes, crops, sons, and even daughters.”
“Afghanistan is not a state as we know it. Then again, California is quite askance.”
“Afghanistan is an accident created where other wars ended.”
“The Taliban want the Pashtuns to have their own country.”
“I am not advocating that we help them. I am explaining their thinking. In their mind, why shouldn’t 30-35 million Pashtuns have their own country?”
“For 200 years, Afghanistan has been a losing investment. It was this way for the Russians and for everybody else.”
“I am not advocating withdrawal from Afghanistan. We need a smaller number of troops, a lighter, sleeker force that is prepared to kill al-Qaeda.”
“Teaching dental hygiene is not helpful in stopping Arab terrorists.”
“We have a Vietnam-like obsession with worthless real estate. We obsess over dirt.”
“Political correctness has seeped into our general ranks.”
“Some people say that killing terrorists just breeds more terrorists. I’ve never been threatened by dead terrorists. You want to be a martyr? Ok. After we killed Zarquai, was there a post-Zarquai rush? No.”
“There have been four great military innovations. One of them is the use of UAVs, the use of Drones.”
“Sometimes American wealth stifles innovation. Look at our enemies. Look at Vietnam. Sometimes poverty forces creativity.”
“Our military is obese. We’ve increased troop levels. We’ve become less lean, less mean, and less agile.”
“One suicide bomber is annoying. Hundreds of them are effective.”
“For those who refer to suicide bombers as homicide bombers, knock it off. They are not homicide bombers. Timothy McVeigh was a homicide bomber.”
“We still can’t defeat the roadside bombs.”
“Our enemies are willing to think in longer terms than our congressional elections.”
“The Talbian is thinking objectively. We are not.”
“The Taliban are psychotic, but they are able to analyze situations. Their techniques are brilliant and dirt cheap.”
“The U.S. military has not had one world class strategist in the last half a century.”
“The answer in war is to kill the enemy wherever you find them. The solution is not to be nice to the Germans when they are killing Jews. You kill the bad guys. You don’t take them to New York City for trial.”
In war you do three things. 1) Kill the bad guys. 2) Help the good guys. 3) Know the difference.
“The War on Terror is a zero sum game. I don’t know one al-Qaeda guy that has been converted. They are not going to become Southern Baptists.”
“In America we have a fear of lawyers. We can’t even shut down their internet sites.”
“Al-Qaeda are the enemies of law abiding Muslims. We don’t hear about them killing other Muslims.”
“Islam has always been brutal. It is spread by the sword. It is a religion of war.”
“We must find an accommodation for the peaceful Muslims, but accommodation does not mean become like Vichy France.”
“Blanket criticism of Islam is not helpful. We have to divide the extremists from the moderate Muslims.”
“There is a middle ground, which is why I get attacked on all sides. The left in America says that I want to kill everybody. The right says I am a closet Sufi. Al-Qaeda lives in an absolutist world. We shouldn’t.”
“In Afghanistan, army soldiers and marines are dying for bullsh*t. Show me the payoff.”
“The Taliban are not dying for a minimum wage. They are true believers.”
“It is a fanatical religion. Where are the Christian suicide bombers? Where are the Chasidic suicide bombers? They would dance around first and then pull the trigger.”
“Talking about religion makes DC nervous. If you subtract religion, there is no al-Qaeda.”
“The United States Army has great tacticians, but they are not paid to think. In the Army, thinking outside the box means finding a completely new way to tell the boss he was right all along.”
The extensive remarks about Afghanistan were followed by questions that led to remarks about other countries. On Pakistan, Colonel Peters offers a very bold solution that most politicians would not even consider. Again, it is easy to be brave when not spending every waking minute worried about being fired. Colonel Peters is retired. His speech is as free as it is candid and right.
“What if we abandon Pakistan? What if we just say that India can handle it?”
“My book does not have a happy ending. Having the Mossad and Jack Bauer show up would not be helpful.”
“We need to scare people. Ahmadinejad is not one of us. He’s not from the SKull and Bones Society.”
“The Christmas bomber spoke about Allah.The United States says that they don’t know what he was talking about. We have our fantasies too.”
“If we left Pakistan in terms of support, they would have to behave. India would devour them.”
“The only thing unifying Pakistan is Islam.”
“The idea that Pakistan will work with us is nonsense. Pakistan will never behave until there are penalties for misbehavior.”
“Karzai’s family is supported by heroin. The number one drug lord in Afghanistan is Karzai’s brother.”
“The Taliban are willing to fight. The people are not willing to fight for Karzai.”
“The people will fight for religion, their family, and for turf.”
“In the Arab world, the state is the enemy.”
“In 2006 Israeli war with Hezbollah, the Israeli Defense Forces were not willing to do what it took to win. Next time they will.”
“We can’t get the Islamists to want what we want.”
“In Judo, you figure out what your opponent wants, and you judo them. The goal is not to make them want to pay California taxes. You’re going to have to figure out your budget mess another way.”
“In Iraq, religious fanatics kill each other. This is akin to ancient Jewish infighting in Israel, allowing the Romans to invade.”
“Religious Revolts are never put down by compromises. You kill the bad guys.”
“The U.S. surge gave people the courage to flip on al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda was a foreign presence.”
“The Iraq approach won’t work in Afghanistan. The Taliban are the home team.”
“You have to look at what people are willing to die for.”
“You can’t nation build where there is no nation.”
“The British figured it out. You butcher and then bolt. It sounds cold, but that is what you do in war.”
“Iran is different. Arabs have no civilizations. Arabs have cultures. Persians have a civilization.”
“In warfare, you destroy the enemy and break their will.”
“We should have a force of 15,000 to 25,000 troops in Afghanistan.”
“Wherever you find al-Qaeda, you kill it, whether it be in Paris or in the California legislature.”
“Bob Gates is one of the best defense secretaries of all time.”
“If airports want to be do a full body scan on me, I am fine with it. My body is old but utilitarian. However, other people would not be fine with it. People are outraged. Their scan might end up in porno shops or on the internet.”
“We can’t fight terrorism by by punishing U.S. travelers.”
“Profiling is not perfect, but it works. If it stops nine people, and one gets through, it still works.”
“With regards to Mexicans, there are two extremes. We can’t just divide the camps into full citizenship or get out. There has to be a middle ground. Stanford graduates won’t pick lettuce or change the bedsheets.”
There is no way to do justice to the message that Colonel Peters is spreading.
We can buy his books, and listen to him speak, but the key thing we must do is “get it.”
Colonel Peters had a couple of message sin his speech that he reiterated several times. This is because some things must be said over and over until every American is with the program.
We are at war. The solution is to find the bad guys and kill them.
Anything less is counterproductive.
In a world where many things make no sense, it is refreshing to be reminded that many things and people make perfect sense.
It was an honor and a privilege, Colonel Peters.
Thank you and welcome home sir.