Lt. Col. Allen West speaks on campus


by Josh Paladino

Source: Hillsdale Collegian

Lt. Col. Allen West is the president and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis. He served in the U.S. Army for 22 years, serving in Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Afghanistan. Florida’s 22nd District elected him to the House of Rep­re­sen­tatives in 2010. West spoke at Hillsdale College Saturday by invi­tation of the Hillsdale Young Americans for Freedom.


Does the U.S. have a moral obligation to intervene in foreign countries to spread democracy?
Having been a person who spent 22 years in the United States military, I don’t think we have a moral obligation to spread democracy. I think we have a moral obligation to make sure that people are not oppressed, that they do not live under tyranny, and that we ensure liberty and freedom is available to others. You cannot make people demo­cratic because it is a political system that may not agree with people’s civ­i­liza­tional back­ground or their nature. Having spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are very tribal in nature. But, I think that every soul yearns to be free. The motto of the United States Army Special Forces is “De Oppresso Liber,” which translates to “liberate the oppressed.”

 

What should the role of the U.S. be in the fight against the Islamic State and the Assad regime?
I am not a big person on regime change, but I am a big person on making sure that the most savage and barbaric entity we have seen since Nazi Germany has to be erad­icated. It’s not just ISIS; there is a global movement that stands against liberty and freedom. I think we do have a role and respon­si­bility to make sure that groups and orga­ni­zations like this do not exist, and we should be able to build coalitions to fight against them.


What should be the U.S.’s response to Syrian refugees?
I am not someone who supports military-aged Muslim males being brought to the United States. I am a very com­pas­sionate person, when it comes to the elderly or small children. I think after what we saw with Tashfeen Malik in San Bernadino, we have to be careful with military-aged Muslim females, as well. We have to protect our society; we have to protect our civ­i­lization. You look at what is hap­pening in Europe with the mass infil­tration of Syrian refugees. There have been mass rapes in Germany, Norway, and Sweden. We have to protect our people first and foremost. Most impor­tantly, they should be staying there to fight to for their own countries.


How does your faith influence your view of foreign policy?
My favorite verse out of the Bible is Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens me.” So, I don’t think there is any challenge we face that is insur­mountable, but I also know that in and of myself, I have limits. I have to ask for wisdom and dis­cernment. That is what it takes to be able to lead people.


What did your service in Iraq and Afghanistan teach you about the mindset of the people that live there and about the ideology of Islam?
Iraq and Afghanistan are two very dif­ferent places. Iraq has incredibly highly educated indi­viduals that yearn to be free. In Afghanistan, you are dealing with a very basic, tribal men­tality. I think when you start to study and understand the nature of Islam, you see Islam moving away from being a religion to more of a theo­cratic, political, total­i­tarian ideology. You see the global conquest that they have been after for quite some time. We have to remember that in 1790, when Jef­ferson and Adams sat down with the Dey of Algiers, they asked him, “Why are you attacking our merchant ships?” And he said simply, “We are com­manded to do so by our prophet and by our book.” This doesn’t mean that we dislike Muslims, but we have to understand what the ideology is.


What are your thoughts on the 2016 Republican Pres­i­dential Primary?
First of all, let me tell you, I don’t even pay attention to the Demo­cratic side. On the Democrat’s side, you have a socialist and a liar. Neither one of them are qualified to be president of the United States of America and def­i­nitely not our com­mander in chief. There is an incredible angst out there. There is a yearning for lead­ership. There is a yearning for strength in our country once again. I believe that the voice of the grassroots — everyday, common Americans — is seeking to be heard. I want to make sure that in the Republican Party, there are not can­didates who will protect their own special interests that go against the will of the people.

 

What are your thoughts on the Trump campaign?
This is all about the American people looking for someone who they believe will fight back. Joe and Jay Six-Pack — the everyday, average American isn’t worried about quan­ti­tative easing or the phi­losophy of gov­ernance, when you study Locke and Mon­tesquieu. They just want to feel that they are pro­tected. They just want to feel that someone is going to look out for them.

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