A Teleconference With Joe Wilson
I was a touch late and missed the beginning of Joe Wilson’s opening statement and unfortunately, coming in during the middle of it, I had a bit of trouble following it. Usually in that sort of situation, I don’t write up the teleconference. However, the Q&A session was so good, I thought it merited a post. What follows are my notes, not quotes, the questions posed to Joe Wilson and his answers:
There is a high level of unemployment and homelessness with our troops returning from overseas. What do we do about it?
I have two sons who’ve fought in Iraq, so this is an important issue to me. We do have screening for post-traumatic stress disorder and soldiers can get help that way. There are also organizations that work on it.
How long have you known about the new nuclear site in Iran?
It was top secret, so we couldn’t say, but yes, we’ve known about it for a while. We saw them clear the land, build it, and then try to disguise it as a parking lot.
There are extremists in Iran and they believe that if there is a nuclear exchange, that’s good because it would guarantee the return of the 12th Imam. That’s who runs Iran.
The good news is that Iran is theocratic and authoritarian, but it’s not a closed state. The young people can get information from outside. I’ve been to North Korea. They don’t have any cell phones or computers. The favorite country on earth of young people in Iran is the United States. So, we can make a difference.
Where is our foreign policy in Iran going?
Barack Obama knows Iran is developing on full pace to develop nuclear weapons. They have missiles that can reach Greece and India. They can vaporize Tel Aviv. They can hit American bases throughout the region. This is a terrorist supporting country that has provided weapons to kill Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Iran has done all they can to destabilize Iraq. They have tried to destabilize Lebanon. They’ve aided Hamas in their terrorism. Barack Obama has been very naive in dealing with them.
Like a zillion follow-up questions from the same person which went on until I noted that I’d like to ask a question as well: What’s going on in Russia? Why did we ditch the eastern democracies to cooperate with Russia on missile defense? What is going on with our foreign policy?
Obama has betrayed Poland & the Czech Republic. He’s put our allies at risk all over the world with his short sighted policies. The disconnect is: why are our enemies rejoicing? Why are our allies and the American people concerned? That suggests there is something very wrong with how Obama is conducting his foreign policy. Hugo Chavez is praising our President. Gaddafi is praising our President at the UN. Mark Levin said it looked like a Conga line of nutjobs was appearing before the United Nations.
The signs are very clear from Iran. When they say death to America or death to Israel, that’s exactly what they mean. We have had meetings with Iran and we’ve gotten nowhere. When we have talked 1-on-1 with North Korea, the meetings all concern how much money, food, and things we are going to give Kim Jong-Il. That’s why Bush wanted six party talks.
I’ve been to Russia a number of times and have even lectured on democracy there. I think there is a bright future for the people in Russia, but not the government in Russia. If they come to understand the rule of law by meeting people around the world, it will help them. Russia is at risk here, too. Russia should know that Iran can be dangerous to them, too. The Iranians have connections to Chechnya.
(Question from me) The situation in Afghanistan seems dire. McChrystal is saying we need more troops to win. Michael Yon, who’s an outstanding battlefield reporter, is saying we are in danger of losing and that it will be extremely difficult to win. The President seems to be refusing to make a decision. Thoughts on that?
I am going to be consistent. In Iraq, I said we should listen to military advisors. I think we need to do the same in Afghanistan. Obama was saying that it was important to win there just last August. I don’t understand Obama’s equivocation since this was his policy.
I do understand it takes time. The people in Afghanistan have an average income of $350. There was one paved road in the country when we got there. I have confidence in Hamid Karzai. These people really do want to develop a civil society and a good relationship with the United States. Moreover, stability in Afghanistan is vitally important to the stability of Pakistan.
Summary: Joe Wilson is not a charismatic speaker per se and he occasionally has a roundabout way of saying things, but you get the feeling he knows EXACTLY what he’s talking about on foreign policy. He’s a vet who has sons who serve. He has made a lot of overseas trips. He has a tremendous command of facts and details about these nations — there is just a lot of gravitas there — and he says Obama’s making terrible mistakes in his foreign policy decisions. I think he’s right.
Newt Gingrich, who’s still getting pancaked by conservatives for his harsh comments about the Ryan plan on Meet the Press,
Here are my notes, not quotes, from a teleconference I just got off of with Senator Tom Coburn. Opening remarks: