The coming war: Bill Gertz warns that perceived U.S. weakness is dangerous
Following is a transcript of an interview of National Security Correspondent Bill Gertz by Rush Limbaugh on Nov. 12, 2008.
RUSH: We're joined now by Bill Gertz, another book, a prolific writer. Bill, it's a long title. I'm going to mention the title in full once, and I'm just going to call it The Failure Factory after that. Is that all right?
GERTZ: That's great.
RUSH: The Failure Factory: How Unelected Bureaucrats, Liberal Democrats, and Big Government Republicans are Undermining America's Security and Leading Us to War. Now, your focus is the Pentagon, that's your beat for the Washington Times, but you cover in this book the financial sector in a way. I mean, you write about Henry Paulson, you refer to them as "the Goldman Sachs gang." Tell people what's in your book about the current circumstance.
GERTZ: Yeah, this is a different look for me in terms of in the past I've focused on national security issues, mostly threats from abroad, North Korea and China. This is really a look at a broken, bloated, highly politicized in the leftward direction, government bureaucracy. And I argue that it's not simply a nuisance or a fetter to effective government, that it's actually dangerous in that it's creating policies that are projecting weakness and weakness is provocative, and I think we're in real trouble. It's gotta be one of the highest priorities to try and fix this bureaucracy.
RUSH: Well, the problem, the bureaucracy gets bloated with career appointees. Bill, tell people — I tell 'em, they'll hear it from you, you're an expert — all during the run-up to the Iraq war and after it started, we would see battle plans leaked, front page New York Times, front page Washington Post. Some of them were factual, some of them were incorrect. But the point was to undermine the effort. Now, those leaks had to come from the Pentagon, they had to come from State or CIA. These are people undermining the Bush policy here, and people think that the president populates these places with his people and his team and they don't understand how this operates.
GERTZ: Exactly. It's kind of like the inmates running the asylum in this case. You have these bureaucrats that are out of control, they're predominantly left liberal in political outlook, and, most importantly, they're conservative haters. They hate conservatives, they hate conservative policies, and that's really their focus in trying to change things in a liberal direction, whether it's on the Iraq war, whether it's on the war of ideas against Islamist extremism, or, as we've seen in the policy that Paulson did towards China, a completely appeasement-oriented policy towards China.
| Chinese President Hu Jintao with U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in Beijing on Dec. 13, 2007. (Xinhua)
RUSH: The bureaucracy that you write about is now clearly ecstatic, I would think, with the incoming Obama administration. What does that portend? I mean, how is this going to lead to us war? That's in your title.
GERTZ: Yes. Basically my argument in The Failure Factory is that the bureaucrats do not want the United States to be a strong power, and they want to project weakness, conciliation. We're going to see arms control policies that have failed 100 percent of the time in the past, because as is always the case, the U.S. abides by these agreements, and the people that we do these agreements with violate them, whether it's North Korea or Russia in the past. So we've got to make sure and, you know, this is the role of the press and talk radio is to expose these policies.
RUSH: (laughing) The press? Bill, have you seen the latest AP poll?
GERTZ: I'm telling you.
RUSH: People don't want their tax cuts now. They're willing to delay the tax cuts because Obama has such a hard job ahead. In fact, they're not even that concerned about getting out of Iraq now. AP poll today, the press is gonna hold the bureaucracy accountable? They're going to build 'em up. They're going to help hide what goes on in there. I mean the press and the bureaucrats are practically joined at the hip.
GERTZ: Exactly. Hopefully the Washington Times, my paper, won't be in that position.
RUSH: Well, no, but as such you'll be like the rest in talk radio and you'll be attacked. What's the most devastating thing in this book? People read this, I don't want you to give it all away, but —
GERTZ: Sure. The most important thing is the broken intelligence community. Basically, I report on this recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, but this was really a power play by liberal intelligence analysts to undermine international pressure on Iran to halt its illegal nuclear program. That's the most significant case. And this had far-reaching consequences. We now are facing an Iran with missiles of increasing range and very soon down the road in a matter of months or years, a nuclear weapon for those missiles.
RUSH: Moscow announced yesterday, Bill, that Raul Castro will visit Moscow in January or February, early next year. There's no word on whether Raul will stop in Washington and pick up Barack Obama for the trip. But it's deja vu here. We've got the KGB back running Russia; we got 'em making deals now trying to form a new alliance with Cuba. We got the Drive-By Media salivating over the fact that Camelot is back, which means that civil rights leaders, black civil rights leaders will be wiretapped, we just don't know who. What are we to make, seriously, of the effort by Russia and China to form another alliance?
GERTZ: Oh, this is part of an anti-U.S. alliance that's emerging. China is basically the leader of it.
RUSH: But wait a minute. If we're going to be so nice, if we're going to disarm, if we're going to make all these deals, if we're going to appease, if we're going to cut our own selves down to size, could you explain if there is an answer to this, the motivation of the left? Why do they think that this country needs to be torn down? What benefit to the country and to the world is there for this to happen, and then, when they do all these things and it still doesn't result in us being loved, we have these deals like the Russians and the Cubans trying to put together an alliance and so forth, what is there to gain by doing this? What is their motivation?
GERTZ: It's clear to me that it's become an ideology of the liberal left that the United States is the cause of the world's problems. These are the blame-America-first liberals. They are now in power, and we're going to see an aggressive campaign to basically denigrate the United States. Now, they will couch their things by saying, "Oh, yes, we love America, we want America to be great," but we are going to see anti-Americanism fostered around world by this lack of soft power. We often hear about the liberals talk about soft power. Soft power is great, but we don't have any capability for that right now. The State Department is basically a diplomatic post. They don't understand the threats facing the world, the enemies that are out there that want to destroy this country.
RUSH: Are you concerned about this Russia/China thing?
GERTZ: Yes. It's part of this emerging anti-US axis that we're seeing. The Chinese are tacitly behind it, but they don't want to disrupt trade to make money from us, but really I think when historians look back they're going to talk about who lost Russia in much the way they talked about who lost China. We had a great opportunity to coax China in a Democratic direction, and just through neglect of the past ten years or so we've seen Russia slide back into anti-democratic, anti-US policies.
RUSH: Well, nobody seems to be doing anything about it. Hugo Chavez ditto. We watch these circumstances percolate all around the world, terrorism is still rife and so forth, and the enemies of this country are making it very clear who they are and what their intentions are. And yet we get stories in the paper: "The world is waiting for Barack Obama. The world now loves the United States of America." We're being prepped here with an image, demagoguery, charismatic demagoguery. We don't even know who this guy is. Well, some of us know who he is, but it's a frightening international situation. Are you at all confident, do you have any thoughts on whether the Obama people, and whoever you think he's going to name at State and in the Pentagon, do you think that they have what it takes to understand reality when it hits them in the face?
GERTZ: Absolutely not. That's the biggest problem. We're going to see what his policies will be by the people he chooses. I point out in the book that one of his key advisors was a guy named John Hollum, who was one of the most appeasement oriented arms controllers during the Clinton administration who basically tried to extend the anti-ballistic missile treaty to cover short-range missile defenses, which horrified most of the people in the Pentagon, who said, "Look, we need defenses against short-range missiles." So that's the kind of thing we're going to see. We're already seeing differences emerge with the Obama transition people and the Polish leader on needed missile defenses in Europe.
RUSH: Bill Gertz, I appreciate your time. It's always nice to talk to you. The name of the book is The Failure Factory: How Unelected Bureaucrats, Liberal Democrats, and Big Government Republicans are Undermining America's Security and Leading Us to War. By the way, two more questions before I have to go to the break. What war, where's the war going to be, and is there any way that this can be stopped, is there any way we can deal with this?
GERTZ: Yeah. I think the biggest threat facing the country is a future war with China. The Chinese are building up their military forces on a war footing, they're cranking out new submarines like sausages, and our leadership is basically in a delusionary mode by claiming over and over again that there's no threat from China, and that is projecting weakness, which is going to lead to some miscalculation down the road, I predict, in the not-too-distant future. The solution is we need tough policies. We need to project peace through strength. We need to get back to the Reagan principles of conservative national security policy.
RUSH: Well, we're going to have to wait on that for a while because Obama clearly does not hold those views to be compatible with his own. Bill, thanks very much. I appreciate it.
GERTZ: Thank you very much.
RUSH: Bill Gertz. The Failure Factory.