On radio this morning, Glenn looked at the troubling news of the day in a slightly different light. Glenn remains steadfast in his belief that the United States government must bring our servicemen and women home and not put troops on the ground in Iraq. This morning, he went so far as to “lead with his mistakes” and admit that liberals had the right idea back in the early 2000s when they opposed intervention in the Middle East. And yet despite all the forces at play that are trying to tear us apart, Glenn remained surprisingly optimistic about America’s future.
Below is an edited transcript of the monologue:
I want to the start in a different place. The media keeps saying we are a nation that is being torn apart at the seams. In some ways, I agree with them, only because we are not looking for the things that bring us together. The left and right, we can’t agree on anything, right? The only place we can find common ground is in the hatred of one another. That’s the narrative that everybody is giving you. Unfortunately, there is some truth to that, unless we decide to look for more.
We have been greatly divided. When the President burst out on the scene, he talked about how George Bush tore us apart with two wars and we had an economic disaster. A lot of people said, ‘He’s right. We were a mess.’ We really, truly were a mess in 2008.
I don’t think it’s gotten any better for the last five years. We have done nothing but watch our country and our families, our friends be ripped apart. We are deeper in debt. We are immersed in foreign wars. Our economy is much more fragile than it was in 2008. Racial tensions are higher than I have ever seen them. I’m 50 years old. I don’t remember an America that felt like this race-wise. We are far from reaching across the aisle. I shouldn’t say that. The Republicans and Democrats are perfectly fine reaching across the aisle. They are not only reaching across the aisle, they are reaching across the aisle and fondling each other. It’s just they are on the same exact page, and they will demonize. The Republicans are doing it, and the Democrats will do it. They will demonize anyone that steps out of line with the parties.
As bad as it has been, amazingly enough, lately, we seem to be finding areas where we all agree. There are things that are happening in America. For instance, the VA scandal. The VA scandal, Americans agree, is horrific. We need to plant our flag in some places where we know we are on the right side. Let’s start planting our flags where we can have some victory. That’s one of them: The VA scandal. Let’s start reaching across to people in our neighborhood, our friends who vote differently than us, on things like the VA scandal. There’s tons of blame. The President campaigned in 2008 on the VA saying that it was completely out of control. Now it’s much worse now, but that’s the place we could start. George Bush screwed it up. I know. It was horrible. Good. Your guy didn’t do anything, so let’s fix it now.
We will be coming together to stop Common Core. I can’t tell you how remarkable this Common Core thing is. When Bill Gates comes up and gives a speech: ‘How about we call it a two-year hiatus? Just give it two years, see if it works. If it doesn’t, we’ll just give up. Let’s do that.’ Really? They’re letting Justina [Pelletier] go probably in the next couple of weeks too. We’re on to you, Bill.
Here’s the great thing: No matter how much money you are spending to sell us this load of bull crap, Americans aren’t buying it. It is not just the right. It’s the left too. It’s the teachers. It’s the Chicago teachers union. Could we get any more left than that? The Tea Party standing side-by-side with the Chicago teachers unions? That’s fantastic.
America is healing herself. I really want to talk to you about this compass I have been working on. I have said for a while that there’s going to come a time when everything you know is upside down, when what you thought was solid would be liquid and liquid will be solid. Up is down, down is up. What was right will be wrong. Good will become evil. And there will be nothing that you recognize or can count on. I have said that for probably eight years. The time is here.
We are headed in exactly the wrong direction. We are at the polar opposite now of where we should be going. That’s not a conservative saying that. I believe that’s anyone with any common sense. ‘We should be doing more testing on our kids?’ Come on. You know that’s not right. ‘We should have more Islamic oversight in our Department of Homeland Security.’ You know that’s not right. ‘We should spend more money to get out of debt.’ You know that’s not right. ‘We should rush doctors and nurses and build emergency centers for the people who are coming across our borders, and they are coming here illegally and we are putting them on military bases.’ Meanwhile, we can’t get the military to be able to get in to see a doctor for things like cancer. You know that’s not right.
Maybe we could come together now on this nightmare in Iraq. From the beginning, most people on the left were against going into Iraq. I wasn’t. At the time I believed that the United States was under threat from Saddam Hussein. I really truly believed that Saddam Hussein was funding terrorists. We knew that. He was funding the terrorists in Hamas. We knew that he was giving money. We could track that. We knew he hated us. We knew that without a shadow of a doubt. It wasn’t much or a stretch to believe that he would fund a terror strike against us, especially since he would say that. So I took him at his word.
There were also atrocities that were happening in Iraq torture chambers, mass graves. At the time, the unanimous belief – even with Hillary Clinton and everybody else – was that he had weapon of mass destruction. There was also the element – and this is really what spoke to me – of bringing freedom to the people of Iraq for the first time in their long history. I don’t want to control Iraq, but I have a soft spot for people who are being tortured and just want freedom because I really, truly believe Democrats and Republicans are the same. Israelis and Palestinians are the same. Once you get the politicians to leave the room, once you can deprogram people from what the politicians and leaders have said, everyone is pretty much the same. It’s like, ‘I just want to be left alone.’ ‘I just want to raise my family, have fun.’ ‘I want a decent life.’ Then politicians get involved and program us to hate each other. You have to be carefully taught who to hate.
Now, in spite of the things I felt at the time when we went into war, liberals said: We shouldn’t get involved. We shouldn’t nation-build. And there was no indication the people of Iraq had the will to be free. I thought that was insulting at the time. Everybody wants to be free. They said we couldn’t force freedom on people. Let me lead with my mistakes. You are right. Liberals, you were right. We shouldn’t have.
Now, if you believed those things, let me say: You were right. If you were just using it for political purposes, well, we don’t have anything in common, But if you really believe those things, I would like to have a conversation with you now to find out exactly how you came to terms with that – especially being a progressive. If you know the history of the progressive movement, it was Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson that started imposing democracy in South America. The reason why South America is just loaded with communists is because we put a lot of them in. That’s the progressive ideal.
But I agree with you: You cannot force democracy on the Iraqis or anybody else. It doesn’t work. They don’t understand it or even really want it. They may be too immersed in their own belief of Sharia Law to embrace liberty or at least at this time. If people vote for Sharia Law, they vote for Sharia Law. We tried. What can we do? We have lost thousands of American lives. We have lost thousands of lives on the Iraqi side and tens of thousands have been wounded. We have spent $2 trillion – say that again – $2 trillion, and upwards of 200,000 Iraqi citizens, aid workers, insurgents have been killed. That’s the conservative number. Liberals will tell you it’s almost 1 million people. I don’t know what the number is, but after all of that, hundreds of thousands of lives, $2 trillion, the best minds in the world trying to do it, it’s about to fall apart.
Terrorists of the most radical kind – maybe the most radical we have witnessed since Nazis – are now poised to overrun the capitol city. All of our effort, all our sacrifices, all of it is gone. $1 billion embassy, which I contend, I have nothing to back it up except my gut, that’s not an embassy. It is a listening station. There’s something wrong with that embassy. You don’t build something that big in Baghdad. How many of us are going, ‘I’m going to vacation in Baghdad. Hope they have a nice embassy’? What do we have it there for? Why is it that big? Something is wrong with that.
But, anyway, all of that is gone. And yet, this is something I think that we can come together with, on the right and the left. And it’s this – I have more of a chance of hacking off my loyal listeners and audience by saying this, but so be it: Not one more life. Not one more life. Not one more dollar, not one more airplane, not one more bullet, not one more Marine, not one more arm or leg or eye. Not one more.
The people of Iraq have got to work this out themselves. Our days of being the world’s policemen, our days of interventionists is over. If we are directly attacked, so be it. But this must end now.
Can’t we come together on that? Are we not all a people that can come together on that? Wedon’t want our sacrifice to be a waste. Let me ask you this question: What good will one more life do? To waste one more life, what good will it do, to waste another dollar, let alone another trillion? And conservatives, is there one that believes this President will prosecute a new war in Iraq properly? When the biggest hawk of them all, the Darth Vader of the entire galactic empire, Dick Cheney and George Bush didn’t prosecute it right? No. In the end, the result will be the same. Another group of radicals will pop up again. It is like a never-ending game of whack amole over there. The only way to prevent Baghdad from being overrun eventually is stay there and continue to fight this militarily in perpetuity. Are you willing to do that?
Don’t even start with me on your oil an gas. Guess we should have thought about that earlier. Maybe if we use our own oil and gas, we wouldn’t have to worry about this. Liberals, you were against it in the first place. How could you be in favor of more intervention now? How could you possibly be for that after everything you have said about how it’s going to fall apart in the end was right? Everything I said that we could hold it together was wrong.
We need to pull out and end the long nightmarish involvement in this mess. We need to do the same in Afghanistan, once and for all. I remember back in the 1970s, we were going to the moon and liberals at that time would say, ‘We have bigger problems here on earth that need to be taken care of.’ How much more is that argument correctly applied to today’s situation?
Finally, there are some things we can agree on. Finally, there are some things we can come together on and clean up our own house. But if we do to the liberals what they did to us and George W. Bush and make it just about politics, we will be divided more. This cannot become about the President. It cannot become act the Democrats. This has to become about the principles because in the principles we all agree. Enough is enough. Bring them home, period.