"Renaissance Thinking About the Issues of Our Day"
Tom interviewed Ralph Reed, GOP consultant (7 presidential, 88 Congressional and Gubernatorial races) about his new political thriller "Dark Horse", the need to repent for invading Iraq, Iran, and poverty.
I have summarized the introductory part of the interview, and started transcribing when they turned to Iraq and Iran.
Guest: Ralph Reed, GOP consultant (7 presidential, 88 Congressional and Gubernatorial races). His new political thriller "Dark Horse" - Christian conservatives revolt against the Republican presidential nominee - Is this a novel about McCain? At what time does life resemble art? He started the book in the fall of 2006 when Obama was little known, not a candidate. He thought Hillary would win, so he got lucky with the book. Everything in the book is real, and happened to him or somebody else. He's too young to write his memoirs.
[Thom]: I'm curious then, how, either in your book or frankly in your life as a political consultant, as a Christian, as a person who I assume believes in repentance, your character or yourself have thought about or counseled colleagues in the Republican Party to repentance and ask for forgiveness for helping organize the mass murder that we call war, apparently purely for political reasons in the case of George W. Bush?
[Reed]: You mean with respect to Iraq?
[Reed]: Well, I think that with regard to Iraq I think we've had this studied by about four separate commissions, including by one in Britain, including a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee and what all of them found was that the intelligence upon which not only our government but other governments around the world relied, which indicated that Saddam Hussein had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and was seeking...
[Thom]: I'm not buying that, Ralph. I'm sorry, maybe you could sell that on Fox News, but there were a lot of us who were looking at this, and the majority, by the way, of Democrats in the House of Representatives voted against authorization for this thing. There were a lot of us who were looking at the intelligence out there and listening to Hans Blix who was there in Iraq saying 'there's nothing here'.
[Reed]: Thom, that's fine, and there were plenty of people opposed to war like Jon Corzine, the US senator from New Jersey who I had the opportunity to talk to about it.
[Thom]: Sure. Sure. So the bottom line is you don't feel that there is a level of guilt among Republicans.
[Reed]: Thom, Thom, Dick Gephardt, the Democratic leader in the House, cosponsored the resolution.
[Thom]: Oh I know, and Hillary Clinton voted for it. I think all of them should be asking for forgiveness.
[Reed]: ... George W. Bush's doorstep. I mean, Edwards voted for it, Kerry voted for it, Hillary voted for it.
[Thom]: Right, and I would counsel all of them to ask for forgiveness and repent and I'm just wondering if you think that that's something that the Republican Party and you and your colleagues should do.
[Reed]: No, and I'll tell you why, because that was not the only basis of the military action. The other basis of the military action was the fact that he was one of the leading state sponsors of terrorism in the world and we now know from both the United...
[Thom]: I'm not buying that either, Ralph.
[Reed]: No? Well, let me just give you the facts, OK? If you're not buying it, let me just tell you what the facts are. It is a documented fact that he paid the North Korean government ten million dollars for long range missile technology.
[Thom]: That he was buying from them. He bought the missiles and then we went in and destroyed them. I mean, you know, that's...
[Reed]: It is a documented fact.
[Thom]: Yes, he was paying the families of suicide bombers; it was a terrible thing.
[Reed]: Thom, can I finish my point?
[Thom]: Sure, Ralph.
[Reed]: You'll at least let me finish?
[Thom]: Yeah, go for it.
[Reed]: OK. He had a clandestine biological network of chemical and biological laboratories that were working on WMD programs. And he was developing missile technology that would have allowed him to fire a missile into any capital in Europe. He was paying 25,000 dollars cash down aid to the family of any terrorist who exploded themselves in Israel. And, you know, he started the bloodiest war in the modern history of the Middle East; the Iran - Iraq War which caused over a million casualties.
[Thom]: Which he lost.
[Reed]: And I think the world is better without Saddam Hussein running Iraq. I supported the war then, I support it now. I agree with John McCain that I think the way we handled the aftermath of removing him from power was a failure.
[Thom]: Yeah, I, you know, I'm so sad hear that, Ralph. I'm curious, do the characters in your book deal with this moral dilemma?
[Reed]: Well, the dilemma that they're dealing with is not unlike the dilemma that our government is dealing with now, which is, you have the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world, namely Iran, which is on the verge of weaponizing a nuclear device. And Israel, I may have this wrong, it may have been ? , I know it wasn't Tzipi Livni, the Foreign Minister, but I believe either the defense minister or a member of the cabinet had said that if the United States does not act, that Israel will act.
[Thom]: Yeah, I've seen the news reports. So you're not concerned about, you know, Saudi Arabia, for example, running fundraisers for Al Qaeda and things like that? The enormous amounts of money that have gone to support Qud terrorists, and particularly Al Qaeda, out of our ally countries.
[Reed]: Oh, sure.
[Thom]: You know, about Osama bin Laden hanging out in Pakistan and ? supporting Pakistan. I think that this assertion that Iran is...
[Reed]: I'm very concerned about that, Thom, but what I talk about in "Dark Horse" is something that I think is a much likely crisis that is going to land on the desk of whoever is elected president in November.
[Reed]: Whoever walks into that Oval Office on January 20 2009, regardless of their politics or what party they're a member of is going to have to deal with whether or not we are prepared to abide the leading state sponsor of terrorism having, being a nuclear power in the Middle East.
[Thom]: Assuming that they actually are the leading state sponsor of terrorism and assuming that that's actually a major problem. I mean, there's certainly more people every day in the world who die of famine than have ever died from terrorism. I mean, every day they die.
[Reed]: Well, we know that they're the leading funder of Hezbollah. We know they're the leading funder of Hamas.
[Thom]: Don't you think as Christians we should be most concerned with the fact that there are people, that there are far more people than have died in all the terrorists attacks in your lifetime and mine, Ralph, more people die from hunger and preventable disease every day. Isn't, shouldn't that, I mean, isn't that the Matthew 25 question?
[Reed]: Sure, absolutely, but I don't see it as an either/or.
[Thom]: Why not? I mean,...
[Reed]: Of course we should be concerned about ameliorating poverty and AIDS and malnourishment on the sub Saharan continent. We should do things about the genocide in Sudan, in the Darfur region. I applaud what the president has done through his aides in...
[Thom]: What George Bush is doing is he is supporting Bashir in the north. We're supporting, I was just there last month, two months ago.
[Reed]: Listen, George W. Bush has led the way on a fifteen billion dollar investment on eradicating AIDS from the African continent.
[Thom]: Yeah, and on that I salute him. I just, you know, hope that the money actually gets spent. Ralph Reed. Ralph, we're out of time, but fascinating concept for your book. I'm sure many people are looking forward it, ralphreed.com and the book is "Dark Horse". Ralph thanks for dropping by today.
[Reed]: You bet, Thom. Good to be with you.
[Thom]: Good talking with you.
Transcribed by Sue Nethercott.