San Luis Coastal Unified School District
Filed August 28, 2004
EXCERPTS OF DIPLOMACY & COUNTERTERRORISM
Held 8/24/04 with the House International Relations Committee
with Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean from the 9/11 Commission
"Our enemies are unlikely to be vanquished in any traditional sense, in fact there may never be an end to this conflict, never an end to the need for vigilance, preemption and vigorous application of all measures within our capabilities...It’s important that we face this grim yet fundamental fact, for if we are indeed in a war, we must fight that war and we must fight to win because the consequences of losing have no limits. We must remember that our enemies seek neither our defeat nor a negotiated compromise but our annihilation and they will exploit any opportunity, target any innocent, to achieve their aims." — Rep. Henry Hyde, "Diplomacy and Counterterrorism", International Relations Committee Chairman
"The use of the word sanctuary I think is apt but I would have liked also to have seen an emphasis on states that actively participate in the sponsorship of terrorist organizations. I think sanctuary has a passive connotation to it and I think there are states that actively are involved in perpetuating terror. Also "failed state" has a connotation of exoneration. I don’t think anyone would say Nazi Germany was a failed state, I think they’d say it was an evil state. I think that failed state means there’s a good honest effort to tend to the needs to ones people and it just didn’t work out. I don’t think that’s the case of much of the states that we’re dealing with.
"One of the things that we have to look at and has been touched on is that we’ve been approaching this as if it’s solely a political matter, and Mr. Hamilton has touched on the fact that in many ways its a theological matter. That one of the reasons that we are hated in the Middle East is our very culture itself. We are infidels, we are not simply non-Muslim. We are people who lead good Muslims away from the truth faith in the minds of Bin Laden. We are the greater danger, that’s why we are the great satan. It is not about what we did in Iran, it is not about what we’ve done in Iraq or elsewhere, it’s the very fact that our existence, that our pluralism, is a direct threat to their version of Islam. That’s why there is no emphasis on the nation’s state that would be built if Bin Laden were to be successful or if the Islamic extremists were to be successful, they’re not concerned with the nation’s state. The first grave threat to them is the threat to their version of their theology, and that includes our Arab-Allies in the Middle East. In terms of the jurisdiction of this committee, I would just caution diplomacy is not a magic word. That nation states have interests and even among allies those interest tend to collide sometimes as much as they coincide...We can talk ’til we’re blue in the face but given our experience of the cold war is that sometimes you can’t do anything to get someone to go along, especially if in the past they believe this problem is the number one problem of the United States...It strikes me that we have to look at radical Islam as having arisen to fill the vacuum of the secular theology of communism. It has a great appeal to the dispossessed." – Rep Thaddeus McCotter
"When we talk about the Muslims having their future and the future of their destiny in their own hands, I agree with you, but I’m not certain how we break through...the American taxpayers are spending millions of millions of dollars to provide education for these Palestinian children to no avail, making it worse and perhaps the worst offenders of all, the Saudis—we had representatives of the State Department sitting right where you are, talking about this wonderful friendship and these great partners with us against the war on terrorism, I thought I was living in a parallel universe when I heard that nonsense. The madrassas—we do need to reform them but knowing that the Saudis are getting millions and millions and millions of dollars to fund these madrassas which are all anti-American, anti – Western, so having said that very long introduction, how do we break through it? We support nations that support individuals that do not have our best interests at heart, quite the contrary, they’re our biggest enemies in the world and we dress them up and we take them out on a date and pretend that they’re our lovers and they are NOT." –Rep. Shelley Berkley
All of these anti-Western moves that you speak about are true. The question is what do you do about it? The broad choices are either you decide to engage or you decide to isolate, and I don’t think isolation is the way to go.
We may be in this for 50 years maybe more, but I’m persuaded that the way to get at it is engagement and I know there are a lot of frustrations there and complications and difficulty but its the way to go. I think isolation would turn the world away from any opportunity for progress. –Rep. Lee Hamilton, 9/11 Commission Chairman
From the 9/11 Commission Report:
But the enemy is not just "terrorism," some generic evil. This vagueness blurs the strategy. The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism—especially the al Qaeda network, its affiliates, and its ideology.
As we mentioned in chapter 2, Usama Bin Ladin and other Islamist terrorist leaders draw on a long tradition of extreme intolerance within one stream of Islam (a minority tradition), from at least Ibn Taimiyyah, through the founders of Wahhabism, through the Muslim Brotherhood, to Sayyid Qutb. That stream is motivated by religion and does not distinguish politics from religion, thus distorting both. It is further fed by grievances stressed by Bin Laden and widely felt throughout the Muslim world—against the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, policies perceived as anti-Arab and anti-Muslim, and support of Israel. Bin Ladin and Islamist terrorist mean exactly what they say: to them America is the font of all evil, the "head of the snake," and it must be converted or destroyed.
It is not a position with which Americans can bargain or negotiate. With it there is no common ground—not even respect for life—on which to begin a dialogue. It can only be destroyed or utterly isolated. (pg 362, 363)
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