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Good evening and welcome to today's meeting of the Commonwealth Club of California. My name is Tad Taube President of the Koret Foundation, a member of the Commonwealth Club Board of Directors and your chair for today. Today's program is part of the Taube Family Foundations American value series. We also welcome our listeners on the radio and invite everyone to visit us on the Internet at www.commonwealthclub.org. And now it is my pleasure to introduce our distinguished speaker Dinesh D'Souza. In connection with that introduction I would like tell you a little bit about Mr. D'Souza. He is the Robert and Karen Rishwain Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where I am also personally privileged to have an affiliation. Mr. D'Souza has been called one of the top public policy makers in the country by Investor's Business Daily. The New York Times Magazine named him one of America's most influential conservative thinkers. The World Affairs Council lists Mr. D'Souza as one of nations 500 leading authorities on international issues. Newsweek cited him as one of the countries most prominent Asian Americans. Before joining the Hoover Institution Mr. D'Souza was the John M. Olin Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. In 1988 to 19; I am sorry beg your pardon - in 1987 to 1988 he served as Senior Policy Analyst at the Regan Whitehouse. From 1985 to 1987 he was Managing Editor of Policy Review which is currently a publication which is distributed by the Hoover Institution. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 1983. Mr. D'Souza's books have had a major influence on public opinion and public policy and public dialogue. His two most recent books are the New York Times Bestseller, "What's So Great about America", published by Penguin Books and "Letters to a Young Conservative". In 1991 he published Illiberal Education the first book to publicize the phenomena of political correctness. The book was widely acclaimed and became a New York Times bestseller. For 15 weeks it has been listed as one of the most influential books of the 1990s. In 1995 D'Souza published The End of Racism which became one of the most controversial books of the time and a national bestseller. D'Souza's 1997 book "Ronald Reagan: How An Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader" was the first book to make a case for Regan's intellectual and political importance. In the year 2000 Mr. D'Souza published "The Virtue of Prosperity: Finding Values In An Age of Techno Affluence" which explores the social and moral implications of wealth. D'Souza's articles have appeared in virtually every major magazine and newspaper including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, Vanity Fair, New Republic and National Review. He has appeared on numerous television programs including the Today Show, Nightline, The News Hour, O'Reilly Factor and The Dennis Miller Show. He speaks at top universities and business groups across the country. Tonight Mr. D'Souza will present his views in his speech which he has titled America Through Muslim Eyes. His lecture will contrast the American debate about Islamic Radicalism and the "War on Terror" with the way that Muslim's see the world. He will argue that the main objection of the radical Muslims is not to American foreign policy but to what they perceive to be the imposition of western atheism and immorality on their societies. I hope they don't come to San Francisco. He will offer a new strategy for fighting the "war on terror" that is based on driving a wedge between traditional Muslims and radical Muslims. Please give - please join me in giving Dinesh D'Souza a warm Commonwealth Club welcome. Thank you all very much. I am delighted and honored to be back at the Commonwealth Club. I was here about 10 years ago to speak about my book, "The End of Racism" and it seems I am visiting you again at a time of some political controversy. Controversy is not entirely new to me. I was many, many years ago an editor of the politically incorrect Dartmouth Review which was a kind of thorn in the side of the Dartmouth administration. We used to tell the Deans that taking on our paper was a bit like wrestling with a pig. Not only did it get everyone dirty, but the pig liked it. Now, I want to make sure we have time for questions. I am going to be talking about some timely, perhaps, controversial subjects. My own, if you will, State of the Union. And so in my opening remarks I will try to adopt the motto that King Henry the VIIIth used with one of his wives. He said I won't keep you too long. Now, we are living at a quite, we are living at a quiet extraordinary time. The country is divided, there is a war going on that doesn't seem to be going well at all and there is a real reconsideration going on about Iraq. I think that this is extremely good but not good enough. We actually need a little bit more of a fundamental reconsideration, not merely of Iraq but also of 9/11 and the fundamental premises that have been guiding both from the left and the right, the so called "War on Terror". The reason we need to go back to drawing board on this, I think, is because even the very vocabulary that has been used to define this debate for now, five years is upon the slightest scrutiny inadequate. For example, we are supposedly fighting a war on terror. It seems to me we are no more fighting a war on terror or terrorism than during World War II America was fighting a war against kamikazism. No, in World War II America was fighting the armies of Imperial Japan. Kamikazism was merely a tactic, one tactic employed by the enemy. Similarly it's not a war against terrorism. It would seem to be a war against a certain species of Islamic radicalism or Islamic fundamentalism. But even here I catch myself short because even those terms fundamentalism are excavated from Protestant Christianity from the west. I turn on my television and I hear people say, you know, "The Muslim world is divided between the liberals and the fundamentalist." Well I don't know if you have noticed, but there are no liberals in the Muslim world. I don't doubt that you can find a Salman Rushdie here and an Irshad Manji there but liberalism, as in the modern sense, as a political phenomenon is simply not a viable force in the 22 countries of the Islamic world. People say to me - but isn't it true that you have Iranians who are secular and feminist and believe in gay marriage and I say yeah, but they live in LA. In the Muslim world forget about it. Now fundamentalism. In Christianity, who is a fundamentalist? Well a fundamentalist is a guy who besides having snakes and so on, a fundamentalist is someone who believes the Bible is the literal unadulterated word of God. Well, by that definition every living Muslim is a fundamentalist, why? Because every Muslim believes the Quran is the literal unadulterated word of God given not by inspiration but dictation in the Arabic language to the prophet Muhammad, if you don't believe that you are not a Muslim. My point is not that all Muslims are are extreme or my point is that fundamentalism is not a very useful term of distinction in the Islamic world. Now since 9/11 both on the left and on the right we have had extremely confident theories that have been advanced to explain the roots of Muslim rage. Why have we had this apparent volcano of anger from the Islamic world directed at America? On the left you have a theory. On the right you have a theory. I want to spend a moment disputing both the prevailing theories. Let's start with the left for a moment. The radical Muslims are upset because of the long history of US colonialism and imperialism and conquest going all the way back to the crusades. Bill Clinton gave a speech, I believe at Georgetown a few years ago, he says it all goes back to the first crusade. The first crusade was incidentally in 1096 AD. Clinton says they are they are still talking about that one on the Arab street. Now interestingly if you take a glance at history and look at the crusades you see first of all that before Islam the entire Middle East, with the exception of Persia, which we now call Iran, used to be Christian. Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Palestine that whole regions was all Christian. So the Muslims conquered it all, then Muslim armies plunged south into Africa, east into Asia, north into Europe conquering Sicily, almost all of Spain which they ruled for 700 years. The crusades were a belated clumsy and unsuccessful effort on the part of western civilization then called Christendom to block Islamic imperialism. The most important thing about the crusades was that they failed. They could not stem the Islamic tide and that's why if you read Muslim histories, what do they say about the crusades? Answer: They do not mention it. When Bin Laden uses the term crusader he is talking about something totally different from the knights who rode a 1000 years ago with Richard, the Lionheart. And then you hear it said on the left the radical Muslims are upset because the United States has had a pernicious role in overthrowing democratically elected leaders in the Middle East. Mossadegh in Iran and installing the hated Shah of Iran. Well first of all Mossadegh was not democratically elected by anybody; he was installed by the parliament. As soon as he got in he got into a fight with the Shah who was already there, the Shah actually ratified his appointment. Mossadegh then got into a power struggle with the Shah, he dissolved the parliament, suspended civil liberties and the CIA basically overthrew him and restored the Shah. I read a speech sermon by the Ayatollah Khomeini in a very interesting collection of Khomeini's sermons in which he says, "Thanks be to Allah that Mossadegh is gone". Why? Because Mossadegh was a secular socialist. So from Khomeini's point of view the CIA's ouster of this man was a good thing. Also from the left the radical Muslims are upset because the United States is allied even today with despotic tyrannical regimes in the Middle East. I submit that this cannot be a source of radical discontent because there are no other kinds of regimes in the Middle East. Tyrannical despotic regimes are all you got over there. Bin Laden's point is not that we are allied with tyranny but that we are allied with the wrong kind of Tyranny. In his view we support the tyranny of the infidel, secular tyranny, we should be supporting, he says, Islamic tyranny, the tyranny of the believer. Now I want to turn very briefly to the conservative side where we have had with equal confidence the assertion that the Muslims and particularly the radical Muslims are against modernity. They oppose science, they oppose capitalism, they oppose democracy. As president Bush has said they hate us for our freedom. Now I think that this view is also dubious, first of all the radical Muslims are not against science. If you think of all the suicide bombers, not just the 9/11 guys but the Madrid bombers, the Bali bombers, the London bombers, I ask you how many of these guys are by your count, mullahs. By my count, none, not one. By contrast how many of them are scientifically trained in one way or other. Not just the guys on the ground, but the planners, I am not a math major but by my count about 90 percentage. Bin Laden, a civil engineer, his deputy Al-Zawahiri, a medical doctor, Ramzi Yusuf who tried to blow up the World Trade Centre in '93, an electrical engineer, Mohammad Atta, an urban planner, the fellow who chopped off Daniel Pearl's head attended the London School of Economics and I could go on. These guys are not against science, they are not the product of Madrassa schools, they are the products of western educations, many of them and western exposure. The radical Muslims are not against capitalism either, how could they be? The Prophet Muhammad was by profession a trader. Islam historically has been friendlier to capitalism than Christianity and Judaism and some of the other major religions. You will not find denunciations of capitalism in the literature of radical Islam. What about democracy? Here the situation is slightly more complex. Many of the radical Muslim organizations used to oppose democracy until they had a very interesting epiphany. To understand what this epiphany is all about we can consult the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's remark in Iraq, it is a religious duty to go out and vote. Why is it a religious duty to go out and vote has the Grand Ayatollah have been secretly reading the works of John Stuart Mill or The Federalist papers? No. But when Bush says majority rule, Sistani says I am a leader of the Shia. The Shia in Iraq are 60 percent of the population. That happens to be a majority. If we have free elections that means my group is going to win. What I am suggesting is that the radical Muslims are learning that democracy can work for them. We have seen it with the success of the Islamic Salvation Front in Algeria in the 90s. We saw it more recently with the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian territories. We have seen it with the success of Muslim brotherhood in Egypt and this is a big dilemma for Bush. Bush goes around saying I want to have democracy around the world, the simple answer to him is well Mr. Bush, okay let's have a free election in Saudi Arabia in six months. Let's run the royal family, the gang of the 6000 thieves against the Bin Laden guys. Will the United States for five minutes consider truing over the two holy sites, 1/4th of the world's exportable oil to Al-Qaeda, this would be insane. So this is my brief case for saying that we should push back a little bit and go to the root of it all. Try to look at a couple of our assumptions afresh. That's what I try to do with this book, The Enemy at Home. Now, right after 9/11 there was a gorgeous moment of national unity in which the whole American tribe came together. Everyone sort of said we are all in this, it's us against them. Samuel Huntington's Clash of Civilizations was very much in vogue, but now we are five years removed, in a very different country and in a sense, I think, what I would like to do is take advantage of that by saying its, I think, time to look a little more critically at 9/11, at the roots of 9/11 because the roots of 9/11 go further back. The radical Islam was founded in the 1920s, really with Muslim Brotherhood, the largest organizations of radical Islam. But for a long time these guys were in the minority, on the outskirts of society then in the late 1970s for the first time in 1979 they captured a major state. The theoreticians of radical Islam like Syed Qutb had always said, we can have all the seminars we want but we will never get any where until we have a beachhead, until we have a state from which we can launch the Islamic revolution. Now the United States as you recall was in the 1970s allied with the Shah. When Jimmy Carter came to power his associates and allies most of them on the left said to him, Mr. Carter you profess to be a noble guy. You say that your top priority is human rights. Well we wish to inform you that the United States is allied with this man, the Shah. He is a dictator. He has a secret police. You cannot in good conscience be allied with him. You should pull the Persian rug out from under him and the United States began to withdraw, tactically its support, from the Shah even encouraging him to abdicate, the Shah leaves and who do we get, Khamenei. In trying to get rid of the bad guy we get the worst guy. In my opinion this was one of the greatest blunders of American foreign policy in the second half of the 20th century. Why, because Khamenei invented modern Islamic radicalism. Khamenei was the first Muslim leader in the world to call America the great Satan. There were previous Muslim leaders who may not like America, Nasser and so on. But no one said America is the center piece of evil in the world. That was Khamenei. No one before Khamenei counseled the whole Muslim world to rise up and kill themselves in jihad and martyrdom against us. That was new. So that was, looking back on it, a very significant moment. Here is the second significant moment. In the 1990s at the end of the cold war the leading, the leaders of radical Islam Bin Laden, AlZawahiri went back to their own countries. Bin Laden went back to Saudi Arabia. Al-Zawahiri went back to Egypt. They were fighting to overthrow, what they called, the "near enemy". Their own governments an established Shariat, then in the 90s they made a very interesting tactical shift. They said no, we are going to change strategy and go from attacking the near enemy to now attacking the far enemy, the United States. I ask, why do they change their mind? Because on the surface it makes no sense. Bin Laden says and Al-Zawahiri says in his book Knights Under the Prophet's Banner, I realized the far enemy was propping up the near enemy, holding up the secular regimes of the Muslim world, yes. But on the other hand the United States as the world's superpower if you can't beat Mubarak in Egypt, or Musharraf in Pakistan, what makes you think you can take on the United States? Bin Laden had a theory. His theory was that the United States is outwardly tough, but inwardly weak. He said, we pushed out the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. The United States is even weaker than the Soviets. The United States, ultimately, if its kicked repeatedly in the shins will turn around like a bunch of cowards and run and in the 1990s the radical Muslims launched the whole series of test strikes aimed at gauging American resolve. The first World Trade Center bombing, the Khobar Towers attacked in Saudi Arabia, the bombing of our Embassies in East Africa, the attack on the USS Cole. In every case the United States Government, which is to say, the Clinton administration for whatever reason did little or nothing. And Bin Laden says by his own account when I saw this it confirmed me in my suspicion that this America is all talk and he says I felt emboldened to strike as he did on 09/11. So these are some of the hidden roots of 09/11. And now I want to talk a little bit, if I may, about the Iraq debate. Because for better or worse it's become the center piece of the war on terror and then I want to say a concluding word about the Enemy at Home. Now somebody said to me while I was talking on the campus sometime ago, Mr. D'Souza in retrospect would you admit that the Iraq invasion was a mistake? And I said, you know, in retrospect I would admit it. In retrospect I would have liked to see the United States focus on Iran. Iran has not only been in the clutches of radical Islam for a quarter century, but Iran is apparently been pursuing the weapons of mass destruction with the same zeal and apparently more success than Saddam Hussein. But I said, don't be too arrogant about this for the simple reason that no President ever gets to make a decision in retrospect. Statesmen are in the moving current of events and have to make decisions based on information available at the time. They don't have the benefit of hindsight. So it is a little silly to say, knowing what we know now Mr. Bush, why did you do what you do then? The answer is, well, I didn't know what we know now. But the reasonable question to ask is, what is the United States trying to do in Iraq? Now one of the problems with this is that in American politics we tend to sort of speak in poetry and govern in prose. And what I mean by this is that Presidents tend to state grandiose ideals, although the application of the ideals is intended to be much more limited. You say, what I mean, by all this. If you are an ordinary Muslim right now in the Middle East and you look around your neighborhood you see two types of regimes. You see Islamic tyranny and you see secular tyranny. Islamic Tyranny would be Iran, the rule of the Mullahs. Secular Tyranny, everybody else, Asad in Syria, Abdullah in Jordan, Mubarrak in Egypt, the whole neighborhood. So what I am saying is that the Muslim today, the ordinary guy has a pretty depressing choice. Islamic Tyranny or Secular Tyranny. Its not that surprising that in that bleak set of options a good many Muslims go about, you know, I think I will go for Islamic Tyranny. If I am a Muslim and I am going to have Tyranny maybe it should be of the Islamic variety. The United States and Iraq is trying to put a new card on the table. A third option, call it Muslim Democracy. Now again we shouldn't be fooled. The idea here is not the United States is on a global crusade to impose democracy. Nonsense, we are not the worlds policeman. Foreign policy is not philanthropy. Iraq is not an effort to impose democracy everywhere. It is an effort to impose democracy somewhere. And if the Muslims like it, it gives them a third choice that they have not had in that region in their history. Now it's true. It's not easy. History says no, it can't be done. I see all kinds of reports on the news that tell me its not working out. It's not going well. We are losing the war in Iraq. Now when I hear these reports I have to confess I am a little distrustful because the reports are often stated by people who clearly don't have any idea what they are talking about. So, for example, I will see people say, you know, the Iraqis are very upset, that we are over there. The Iraqis feel that we are in occupying power. The Iraqis are rising up and so I keep hearing the Iraqis this, Iraqis that and I am thinking Congressman Murtha, how do you know? The Iraqis feel this, the Iraqis want that name too. The point here is this, how does one gauge what people want in a country? Poll show. Polls! It's a war zone over there. I can see interns for George Gallup knocking on doors in Baghdad. Excuse me, I have a survey. In a democratic country if you want to know what the people think, you consult the elected government. That's how you find out what a people wants. If somebody wants to know, what's America's position on Iran having a nuclear weapon, how do you find out? You go with Jay leno on the boardwalk of Santa Monica? No, you talk to the Congress, you talk to the President. Elected representatives are there to speak for the people. Or I hear it all said on television. America is losing or if I can believe The New Republic has lost the war in Iraq. We have lost, its over. Think about this. Use an ounce of common sense here. Here is Iraq. This is not Vietnam by the way. In Vietnam there were a million men on the other side. In Vietnam you had American troops over there for god knows what, some domino theory. Iraq is a little different. In Iraq you have three groups. You have the Shia, 60%, you have the Sunni, 20%, and you have the Kurds, 20%. Now the insurgency is drawing exclusively from the third group. I am sorry, from the second group, the Sunni. The Kurds are almost embarrassingly Pro-American. They are on our side. The Shia are not, they are tactically pro-American. They are not on the side in the sense that they love America, they are on the side, in our side in the sense that we put them in power. It is in their interests to back American style democracy. So here we have Iraq an insurgency drawing from one camp 20% and the other 80% of the population de-facto allied with us, add to this American wealth, American technology, American training. Who is going to win the war in Iraq? I want to suggest that militarily there is no way. You don't have to be a West Point graduate to see that the United States cannot lose the war in Iraq on the ground. Now, having said that, I know retracted in one respect. In my opinion there is only one way for America to lose the war and that is to lose it in the American mind. Our strategists from Sun Tzu to Clausewitz have pointed out that in a war strength can be measured as resources, times will. All the strength in the world is useless if you don't have the will to continue and this is the secret weapon of the insurgents. They do not have to win. They don't they can't win. However they don't need to win. They only need to hang in there. Why? Because they know Americans are an inpatient people. They know there is a huge debate going on in this country, they know that there is one powerful and influential faction that now is whispering in corridors of power that is basically rooting for America to get out. So in the insurgence, in a sense, you might have seen Al-Zawahiri's arrogant proclamation in the last couple of days, Mr. Bush and the whole army the dogs of Iraq are waiting to bite their heads and son. They smell the taste of victory. Why because they know that to their unbelievable good fortune there is a whole bunch of Americans who don't like this fight to go on either, there is a whole bunch of Americans who are tired of it, don't believe its worth the life of one more Iraqi soldier and so on, in this sense, in this sense from the point of view of the Islamic radicals there is an American faction that is in a sense opposing Bush's war on terror politically with the same resolution that they are opposing it on the ground militarily. Now, I want to end with this thought, Iraq is not Vietnam. In Vietnam when the war ended it was very bad for the people over there. Million casualties in Indo-China and more but it didn't affect us a whole lot over here. It didn't really matter to think about it. Iraq is not that way. The radical Muslims have so far been able to keep their paws and clutches on only country, Iran. They had the Taliban for a while but we ousted that after 9/11. They are extremely eager now to get their hands on Iraq, for a very simple reason, the Iranian revolution for all of Khomeini's enthusiasm was unexportable. Two reasons, Iran is Shia and the vast majority of Muslims in the world are Sunni, the Persians are not Arabs and so they are ethnically different than most of the Muslims. So the Iranian revolution was always a special case. The Al-Qaeda guys who are Sunni have always wanted a major Sunni state to say this is our model for the entire Muslim world and they have said very clearly if we get Iraq and then we will target Egypt and then we will target Saudi Arabia. My point is this has huge implications for American welfare and American security. And so the goal of my book, controversial perhaps, is to show the hidden way in which the cultural war here in America is connected with the war on terror. In a strange way they are part of the same argument and I think by being aware of how these dynamics play we can find a better way to confront both the enemy abroad and also the enemy at home. Thank you very much.