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The Gathering Storm


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Editor’s note: This is the text of a speech Republican senator Rick Santorum is delivering around his state today and tomorrow.

This summer I gave two speeches that defined the unique challenges that confront the United States as we conduct a new world war.  I gave those speeches-one in Washington at the National Press Club, and one here in Pennsylvania at the Pennsylvania Press Club-because I believe that now more than ever we need to study the past, learn from events, and take proactive measures to protect our freedoms at home and provide a safer world in which to exercise those freedoms.

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I am here again today talking about this issue because Islamic Fascism continues to rear its ugly head.  And because it is being joined by others, becoming a hydra.

The war is at our doorsteps, and it is fueled, figuratively and literally, by Islamic fascism, nurtured and bred in Iran.

Islamic terrorists planned a mass kidnapping at the Central Synagogue in Prague just a few weeks ago. They intended to carry it out on Rosh Hashanah, when large numbers of Jews would be celebrating the New Year. Once the world’s attention was focused on Prague, they intended to make impossible demands, and then blow up the synagogue and all within.

Those people were not marked for death because they supported the war in Iraq, or supported George W. Bush, or sent troops to Afghanistan. They were targeted because they were guilty of being Jews. This is evil.

Islamic terrorists organized an assault on civilian aircraft leaving London, planning to blow up many planes over the North Atlantic. Two of the participants, a husband and wife, intended to take their six-month old baby on a plane with them, and blow him up along with everyone else on board. This is evil.

Islamic terrorists slaughter innocent Iraqi citizens every day. A man in Baghdad recently called his daughter in America to say that “once upon a time, garbage trucks went through the streets to collect refuse. Now they collect beheaded bodies.” Our enemies celebrate these massacres. They use videos of beheadings to recruit new members to their ranks. In recent days, they beheaded an Orthodox priest and crucified a teen-age boy, both guilty of Christianity. This is evil.

Somalia’s interim president has appealed for international help in dealing with a powerful Islamist movement that now controls all of southern and central Somalia, a country of enormous strategic importance in guaranteeing oil shipping in the Gulf. The State Department concurs that the risk is very real, especially because Osama bin Laden listed Somalia as a target in al Qaeda’s war against the West. Our Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs says that “Somalia is a safe haven for terrorists….”

Kuwait has just uncovered an Iranian-created network of sleeper cells trained in espionage and sabotage. Many of them were trained in Iran itself and then infiltrated into the Shi’ite community of Kuwait, which is about half the population;

How many Americans realize that Iran declared war on us 27 years ago – in 1979 – and has been killing Americans ever since?  

Most everybody has heard by now that Iranian President Ahmadinejad has denied the Holocaust and called for Israel to be wiped off the face of the earth. But that’s only the beginning of his mission. He continued with a rhetorical question: “Is it possible for us to witness a world without America and Zionism?” He answered himself: “But you had best know that this slogan and this goal are attainable, and surely can be achieved.”

He is only the latest in a series of Iranian leaders who have vowed death to us and visited death upon us. Our troops in Iraq are killed by Iranian weapons paid for with Iranian money, smuggled into Iraq by Iranian logistics, and utilized by Iranian-trained terrorists. A couple of years ago you needed a security clearance to know this. Today it is common knowledge. Iran is the centerpiece of the assault against us and the other countries in the civilized world, which is why I fought so hard for passage of the Iran Freedom and Support Act.

I fought for it, and, after years of opposition from the Democrats, some of my own colleagues, the State Department and even the White House, it is now law.

I fought for it because I do not want my children to suffer through devastating attacks on American soil, and to risk their own lives in the battle against those who brazenly tell us they are planning to destroy what they call Anglo-Saxon civilization – and we call freedom.

This is an unpopular war.  I have been ridiculed by the media and my opponents for defining the enemy Islamic fascism – they say words don’t matter. But words do matter because words are what define the enemy we confront.  Words are needed for Americans to comprehend what motivates the deeds that the enemy is planning, so we can effectively defeat them. And defeat them we must.

Ahmadinejad has recruited and is training 52000 suicide terrorists called the Commando of Voluntary Martyrs. An Iranian Revolutionary Guard intelligence officer bragged that “We have a strategy drawn up for the destruction of Anglo-Saxon civilization and for the uprooting of the Americans and English … There are 29 sensitive sites in the U.S. and the West.  We have already spied on these sites and we know how we are going to attack them.” 

Our growing challenge, however, is that Iran is not alone in its rhetoric, intent or capacity to threaten the security of the U.S.

It is important for Americans to know that the threat is more complex, and has grown more complex.  The enemy that has to be named is greater than Islamic Fascism. 

Just last month, in advance of the meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, Iran, Syria, North Korea and more than 100 other nations met in Cuba to discuss a push to broaden the world’s definition of terrorism to include the “U.S. occupation” of Iraq and the “Israeli invasion” of Lebanon.  Participating countries drafted a declaration condemning Israel but made no comments about Hezbollah’s missile attacks on Israel. 

Following this meeting of the non-aligned movement, I introduced a Senate resolution that expressed concern relating to the threatening behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the ideological alliance that exists between the countries of Cuba and Venezuela. We must support the people of Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela in the quest to achieve a truly democratic form of government.

North Korea’s nuclear test made it clear that it threat is not made of mere words.  They are now intensifying real military confrontation.  When the U.N. resolution condemned the nuclear test, North Korea called it “a declaration of a war” and threatened the United States: “we will deliver merciless blows without hesitation to whoever tries to breach our sovereignty and right to survive under the excuse of carrying out the U.N. Security Council resolution.”

North Korea, the world’s leading missile proliferator, and Iran are on the verge of starting nuclear arms races in both Asia and the Middle East – both hubs of terrorist networks that reach around the world – which could easily result in nuclear material, perhaps even a weapon, ending up in the hands of a terrorist organization.

But it’s not just terrorist organizations we should fear. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies the holocaust and called Israel just last week “illegitimate” and “could not survive,” said he plans on using “the technical factor” to augment “national security.”

Ahmadinejad , like Hitler and Mussolini, intends to conquer the world.  This is not a hidden agenda. His goal is to establish a Caliphate.  Like Khrushchev, he wants a nuclear arsenal, and he is building the same sort of frightening global alliances that enabled the Soviet Union to put missiles near us.

Look again at the Iranians’ strategy. A couple of months ago Ahmadinejad signed a mutual defense pact with his pal, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Two dictators, awash in petrodollars, and besotted with hatred for the United States.

President Chavez, who called President Bush “a devil” at the podium of the U.N., spoke to the applause of those in attendance as he decried America.  Calling America an “imperialist power,” he says his ambition is to become leader of global alliance of nations to “radically oppose the violent pressure that the (American) empire exercises.”  This summer Chavez honored Ahmadinejad at a gala and plans to visit North Korea, at which an “oil-for-missiles deal” may be on the agenda.

The same North Korea that has been building nuclear weapons to put on missiles that can reach our soil. 

Did you know that Venezuela is the leading buyer of arms and military equipment in the world today? Did you know that Chavez is building an army of more than a million soldiers and the most potent air force in South America-the largest Spanish-speaking armed force in history?

Did you know that Venezuela will shortly spend thirty billion dollars to build twenty military bases in neighboring Bolivia, which will dominate the borders with Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil? The bases will be commanded by Venezuelan and Cuban officers. This is what the brilliant Carlos Alberto Montaner-a survivor of Castro’s bloody regime-calls “a delirious vision of history,” and it is driven by a new alliance of dictators from Iran, Cuba and Venezuela.

It is part of the grand design so proudly announced by Ahmadinejad: the destruction of our civilization.

And the sad irony is, we are dependent on the very people who hate us.  American imports 60% of the oil we need to fuel our economy.  We are underwriting their efforts to undermine us. 

Venezuela is our fourth largest supplier of oil.  President Chavez called oil “a geopolitical weapon” and said “I could easily order the closing of the refineries that we have in the United States.  I could easily sell the oil that we sell to the United States to other countries of the world … to real friends and allies like China.” 

A recent Congressional report found that Hezbollah may, right now, have established bases in Venezuela, a country which has issued thousands of visas to people from places like Cuba and the Middle East, possibly giving them passports to evade U.S. border security.

To make matters worse, Cuba and China, with help from Venezuela, are together exploring and drilling for oil only 50 miles off the US coast.  50 miles off our coast.  In an interview on Al-Jazeera, Chavez said working with Cuba is an example of how they will “use oil in our war against neoliberalism.”   

Radical environmentalists and my opponent won’t let us drill 100 miles off our coast, but dictators who hate us are drilling for American oil just 50 miles offshore.  Does this make any sense?

And my opponent is sleepwalking into the gathering storm, siding with the left to ban drilling off our coast and banning oil drilling in an area in Alaska no bigger than the Philadelphia airport. 

If we really understood the threat at hand, we would not be fighting with one hand tied behind our backs. 

We have forgotten our history.  We have been here before.

We only entered the First World War after German U-boats sank American civilian and commercial ships on the North Atlantic. World War I was “the war to end war,” and with the defeat of the German armies, it seemed that peace was destined to last a long time. But it did not last even one generation. It did not last because we failed to recognize the evil of fascism, and because we allowed the fascists to grow stronger and stronger, until they felt capable of defeating us.

We left Great Britain alone to face the Nazis for several years, and despite the Mussolini’s entrance, we only engaged in the Second World War after the devastating Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Germany, Italy and Japan.  They had nothing in common, so we weren’t willing to see the axis of evil gathering around us. 

We entered the Cold War only after Stalin’s aggression in the Middle East and Greece. In every case the evil was obvious, the threat indisputable, but the willingness to confront was in every case late and prohibitively costly. Are we willing to see the storm gathering around us and act before it is too late?  Was 9-11 not enough?  Have our memories faded? Or will it take something even more devastating?

When Winston Churchill wrote his great history of the Second World War, he began the first volume-”The Gathering Storm”– with a short description: “How the English-speaking peoples through their unwisdom, carelessness, and good nature allowed the wicked to rearm.”

We were part of that moment of folly, and we paid a terrible price for it on the battlefields of that war. We are running the same risk today, and we are again acting carelessly, unwisely and we are permitting the wicked to grow stronger and stronger.

Just as we refused to recognize we were at war with a great evil, the European fascists and Japanese imperialists in the late nineteen thirties, so today we shrink from the recognition that we are once again under attack from evil forces – Islamic fascists led by Iran, and the Socialist and Communist rulers of Venezuela and North Korea.

Ahmadinejad is often treated as if he were a stand-up comedian on a late night TV show, some wacko character from far away who really doesn’t affect us. This is a way of avoiding the life and death challenge of the war.

We have seen it before. Hitler and Mussolini were also ridiculed-the house painter with the funny moustache, and the bald guy with the fat neck-until the bombs fell in Hawaii and hundreds of thousands of Americans died in Nikita Khrushchev was ridiculed as a peasant who pounded his shoe on the table at the United Nations, until Soviet nuclear missiles showed up in Cuba, less than a hundred miles from our shores. Then we realized he wasn’t so funny.

This is not funny business.

Many Americans are sleepwalking, just as they did before the world wars of the last century.  They pretend it is not happening, that it all has to do with the errors of a single American administration, even of a single American president. Some even pretend that it will all go away if only the Democrat Party-including my opponent who did not even know the name of the former Iranian president whose presence kicked up a firestorm a few weeks ago by coming to America-is elected in November.

How do they propose to save us from these people? By negotiating at the United Nations? By removing U.N. Ambassador John Bolton office? By relocating American forces from Iraq to Okinawa? By abandoning the Iraqi people to Iranian and Syrian slaughter and domination?  By engaging in more direct talks with a nuclear North Korea?

No wonder Mr. Casey won’t say anything about the danger from North Korea’s nuclear bombs.  He can’t. He has virtually nothing to say. Except he does have something to say about preparing to defend ourselves against North Korea.  He told the Council for a Livable World he opposes building nuclear bunker buster weapons and would halt deployment of national missile defense until, quote, “further research proves the system will work.”

Time for research is past.  North Korea has been building nuclear weapons to put on missiles that can reach our soil. 

It’s time to wake up.

Mr. Casey said that “the U.S. should not escalate the drive to place weapons in space and should seek an international ban on such weaponry.”  I hate to break the news to you, but Iran and North Korea are already escalating things. 

My opponent and the anti-war left seems more worried about the tactics we use to catch the terrorists than about the terrorists themselves.  They want to “investigate” the NSA surveillance program that, thank God, has allowed us to listen in on calls coming from known terrorists abroad. 

I think people are indeed concerned, and they are right to be concerned.  About our enemies.  Americans are concerned when they learn that ten flights from Britain to America were targeted by Islamic fascists just last month, and, had it not been for the British surveillance, they might have succeeded.

Let me tell you, Mr. Casey, people are concerned when Venezuela is harboring terrorists, many of whom will penetrate our border because of the amnesty bill you support, that puts amnesty before security.

You said you would have voted for the war, but now you say you would vote against it.  You said we weren’t misled, but now you say that we were lied to.

You are sleepwalking into a nightmare.

It’s time to wake up.  

From everything I can see, Mr. Casey is unready, unqualified for the high office he seeks at a time when our survival as a free people is at stake.

He is one of many Americans sleepwalking in this nightmare. These horrors no longer shock us as they did on 9/11. They have become part of the background noise of our world. Some even blame our own leaders rather than the savages who do the killing. But I believe that Pennsylvanians are awakening to this threat, and can send a message to the nation and our enemies.

It’s time to stop dreaming and start acting.  We have to bring the fight to our enemies, and that means we have to do a lot more than respond to their attacks in Iraq. We must go after the regimes that recruit, pay, train and arm terrorists. I am not-NOT-talking about sending more American troops onto foreign battlefields, or even dropping precision bombs from safe altitudes. I am talking about political and economic warfare, to bring down the terror regimes in Tehran and Damascus. The best way to do that is to support their own people, most of whom are eager for freedom.

That is why I drafted legislation that commits America to support freedom in Iran. A free Iran will be our friend, not an implacable enemy. We know that is true, because public opinion polls taken by the regime itself show that more than seventy percent of Iranians want to choose their own system of government and elect their own leaders.

And we know it is true because the Iranian regime is frantically trying to isolate the Iranian people from contact with the free world. Satellite dishes are torn down, dissidents are arrested, tortured and executed. High speed internet is banned. Surviving vestiges of a free press are shut down. Those are the actions of a regime that fears its people, and knows that the desire for freedom can destroy the Islamic fascist tyranny.

A free Iran will change the world, because it will deprive the terrorists of their single greatest source of support, and isolate the likes of Hugo Chavez and Kim Jong ‘il. Why is a free Iran and Iraq so essential?  Because the United States nor any western country will be able on its own to defeat radical Islamic fascism.  We must create an environment where moderate Islam – whether Sunni or Shi’ia or any other strain – combats and suppresses its radical elements.  I believe the best way to accomplish this is through democratic self rule.

And although Iran is at the center of this Islamic fascist mosaic, our engagement must be focused closer to home as well.

Just as we have seen our neighbors’ economies grow as well as our own – we need to work diligently to forge free trade agreements with other countries, as we have seen impressive results with free trade agreements in Israel, Canada, Mexico, Jordan, Singapore, Chile, Australia, Bahrain, and Morocco. Our current partnerships with these countries account for more than $900 billion in two-way trade, which is about 36 percent of total U.S. trade with the world. U.S. exports with FTA partner countries are growing twice as fast as U.S. exports to countries that do not have agreements with the U.S.

As Chavez works to create an anti-American alliance, we have to be even more diligent in protecting our homeland. 

We should support immediate programmatic additions to U.S. missile defenses in order to carry out critical national security objectives.  I agree with Congressman Duncan Hunter, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, that we should be capable of addressing the “full range of North Korean missile-based threats to the United States, our deployed forces, and our allies.” 

We must also pursue energy security. Alongside the political pressure on the Iranians and their allies, we must also stop funding Iran and Venezuela, which is what happens whenever we buy a barrel of their oil. We need to use our own energy resources more effectively, and we must find other fuels. 

This is why I have fought, again, against the administration, for funding for a coal-to liquid-fuels plant here in Pennsylvania to both clean up the environment and make us more energy secure.  $100 million dollars, here in our own state, to pioneer our way to independence.

That is why I wrote the Empower America Act, which calls for investments of more than $20 billion for research and development, loan guarantees, and grants to create, produce and distribute renewable fuels, cleaner coal, and nuclear energy. It extends tax incentives for the production of renewable energy and alternative fuels, and also for hybrid vehicles.

One of my opponent’s favorite talking points is that “we can’t drill ourselves out of our energy dependence.”

Let me say to Mr. Casey, and his sound bite driven sleepwalking colleagues; the gathering storm demands it.  We have no choice.  Our men and women in uniform are laboring, sacrificing and dying to protect our homeland, we have no choice.  We have no choice but to explore every form of American energy that can make use independent and secure.  We are drilling 3700 wells in western Pennsylvania, including one of the sites of next year’s U.S. Open Golf Tournament, and you won’t allow less than 1000 wells over 25 years, in a place no one lives?

My bill permits environmentally sensitive production of our own energy resources on the outer continental shelf and on the coastal plain of ANWR. And it encourages the construction of new refineries and expands existing ones, along with biorefineries and additional coal-to-liquid facilities to meet our current needs for motor fuels and enables us to grow in the future.

There are many other things that need to be done in this war, but none of them will happen unless we come to grips with the terrible fact that we are at war, it came to us and it will be with us for some time. There is no way to escape it, no matter what our policies, and whoever our elected representatives are. There is no escape because our enemies are fully committed to our destruction, and they will not stop until they have either destroyed us, or have been destroyed.

That is our choice: we can win or lose, but we cannot opt out walk away from the greatest threat and most resistant threat this country has ever faced.

That is why I have spent so much time talking about the war during this campaign. It is why I have fought heart and soul to pass legislation that will hurt our enemies and strengthen our country. If you reelect me, I will press ahead with all my strength and passion, and you will know that you have a United States Senator who sees the world as it is and will fight for our security – rather than repeat slogans written for him by consultants.

This is not a time for politicians who think the world stops at the Delaware River.

Osama bin Laden said “In the final phase of the ongoing struggle, the world of the infidels was divided between two superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union.  Now we have defeated and destroyed the more difficult and the more dangerous of the two.  Dealing with the pampered and effeminate Americans will be easy.” 

Let me tell you.  With the right leadership, he’s got a surprise ahead.  It won’t be easy at all.  It is a time for leadership to confront the gathering storm, and to defend the people of this state and this nation against terrible enemies. The stakes are too high to sleepwalk.  I hope you will join me in this fight.  And God bless America



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