Retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army Allen West joined Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire and host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” Ben Shapiro for the show’s “Sunday Special” yesterday to discuss military policy, LTC West saying, “We don’t need to be in the business of nation building.”
“Now, the problem with our military, and the problem with the civilian leaders that we have over the military – political leaders – they don’t understand nation building,” stated LTC Allen West. “We don’t need to be in the business of nation building.”
LTC Allen West’s comments came in response to Ben Shapiro asking about LTC West’s thoughts on military policy during “The Ben Shapiro Show’s” “Sunday Special” episode number 34, specifically the war in Iraq given the former Lieutenant Colonel’s experience on the ground in the Middle East.
Below is a transcript of LTC Allen West and Ben Shapiro’s remarks from the show on Sunday:
Ben Shapiro: “Okay, so I want to ask you a little bit about military policy. So, one of the things that’s happened inside the Republican Party, even since you left the military, is a movement away from a more hawkish, interventionist Republican Party and toward a sort of isolationist perspective. Now, you served in Iraq. The prevailing opinion seems to be, not only in the mainstream media but now inside the Republican Party, that the war in Iraq was a horrible mistake. What’s your perspective on the war, having served there and having made policy about it in Congress?
LTC Allen West: “Well, I would tell you that, having been there on the ground, I mean, there were things that you gave opportunities for for the people in Iraq that they never would have ever had.
“You know, folks ask me, ‘What was the greatest achievement that you had in your 22 years or so in the military?’ and I would tell you, when I was in Afghanistan, is seeing little girls go to school. That was the most special thing that I could ever think of.
“Now, the problem with our military, and the problem with the civilian leaders that we have over the military – political leaders – they don’t understand nation building. We don’t need to be in the business of nation building.
“There are enemies out there, and when you’re dealing with Islamic terrorism, we need to be denying that enemy sanctuaries. We need to be focused more soon strike operations. When you look at what is going on in Syria right now, you work with, you know, a local ally force, like the Kurds, and you provide them that support and the resources to be able to go down there and do what is necessary, instead of being bogged down and worrying about, you know, the Syrian civil war or building roads or what have you there.
“And I think that that’s what, you know, we have lost our sight in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, if you’re not going to do something about the terror sanctuaries in Pakistan, then you might as well leave because, you know, the two and a half years that I spent in Afghanistan, we knew exactly what was happening. When the snows melted and the passes opened up, they came right out of Pakistan, back over into Afghanistan. They stayed there. They fought us ’til, you know, the snows set back in; they went back over, rearmed and refitted. [It’s] the exact same lesson we learned in Vietnam, Ben. Laos and Cambodia, we were allowing the enemy to stage there and come in and attack us. So, as George Santayana, attributed to him, said, ‘Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’
“We need to understand and figure out, what are we going to use our military for. The military is not there for nation building. The military is there as a credible deterrent force. And I think that too often people just believe, ‘Let’s put the military out there, and let’s figure out as we go along.’ We want defined and set goals and objectives or strategies that enable us to achieve victory.
“But I tell you, when I see what’s happening with Iran out there in the Persian Gulf and the harassment they’re doing of our warships – that’s got to end.”