Freedom Folks

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Everybody's Doing It!

Source: radar online

We don't normally make any effort to follow the blog stampede much these days, but this is so shocking as to stampede worthy...
Radar caught up with him (Jon Voight) on his return from a visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center with a group of New York City firemen, where he met with soldiers freshly wounded in Iraq. The experience was a powerful one for the 68-year-old, who was eager to discuss the threat of Islamic fundamentalism, critics of the war on terror, and Dick Cheney's bad rap.

You recently visited with wounded troops at Walter Reed. What were your impressions?

I was deeply impressed by them. Most I spoke to were young people, around 20 years old. And they were really very eloquent, very positive, very respectful. You have to be proud of the children we're turning out from looking at this group of people. For me, I would much rather hear from these guys than the people who are presenting the news on television on a daily basis.

Were you able to gauge the mood among the troops--have they lost a sense of mission?

These guys say, well, it's possible to win it. And I'll tell you one thing they said that was very remarkable: the increase in troops that has been recommended by the president, they say anybody who's over there knows the value of backup and we should be behind this. When you're out in that situation in danger, you want to know you've got backup. Only one guy said he wasn't going back to Iraq, and he had been wounded a couple times. But all the other guys wanted to go back. One young woman, a very attractive young woman, had her leg amputated. But she says she's going to find a way to get back into it. She just reupped and she said they would find something for her to do.

Do you think it's possible to win the Iraq War?

Here's what I think: this is a real war, extended beyond the borders of Iraq.

As in the more general war on terror?

The war on terror is real. People would have you believe it's not real. This is not Vietnam. This particular situation is not the same wherein we can walk away and just leave destruction behind us. No, we can't. Anyone who has paid attention to what [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad is saying, what all the mullahs are saying in this country and in England, and in all of the Arab world, this is serious--they're calling for the destruction of America and all democracy and that's what's going on. We could lose this war.

Was the Iraq war part of the war on terror before we got there?

I'm interested in talking about this, but it's been so politicized, it's very disturbing, very dangerous. My view of it is this: they say our president lied to us. Well, he didn't lie to us, everybody else had the information he had, and they voted for that tactic. And the idea of weapons of mass destruction, whether they were in fact removed to other places, to Lebanon, to Syria, that's still in play, we don't know the full answer of where all that stuff went, because they had it, they have the pieces. Now, whether someone else has them or whether we're playing a careful game not to reveal that we know where things are, that's another big aspect of it. The Administration's in a tough spot, because if they say they know where these pieces are, and they can't get at them, they're alerting other energies to know where they are. . . .

We really just want a fair interview, nothing more. We try to talk to people in the public eye who are interesting and ask them about topics our readers care about. I think most people have strong opinions on this subject, and they might want to hear yours, considering who you are.

The question for me is: who are you and where are your sensibilities? If you're part of a left-wing bias and want to turn what I say in favor of someone on your agenda, I would say I don't want to talk about it with you. It's difficult for me ... because I see so many people go in the wrong direction. I see it all the time and it's very, very disturbing. What's being said in so many places in the country is just dangerous.

While you might not hear people say, "I don't support the troops", the country and the media on the whole are increasingly caustic and critical of the president and Iraq. Does that bother you?

It's a tidal wave going in this direction. It's sad for me. The attack on George Bush I find to be reprehensible. From the beginning it was politically motivated, and it's been very successful, the disrespect for our president and for our country and for our government. I have a great regard for our government. We have all sorts of checks and balances that are afforded to us by our constitution. We have a lot of wonderful hardworking people in the government. Once it gets to be partisan, it takes the energy in another direction. There was a big movement to impeach Lincoln during the Civil War, but it is not healthy at this time when we are fighting a very vicious enemy that has made it very clear in their attacks on American embassies and the Twin Towers, and on our forces what they intend.

So I imagine you're a supporter of the Patriot Act?

Yes, I'm a supporter of the Patriot Act. I support protecting us and investigating anyone who indicates they're going to be dangerous to our country. It's one of those things; it depends on which side you're on politically. If we had these things in place we could have anticipated 9/11. We're not interested in investigating someone who's doing something appropriate. We don't have time for that. That's nonsense. I certainly hope we're paying close attention to all those people crossing our borders who might be dangerous to us. We know for sure there are cells in the United States that are ready to erupt. We know that Hezbollah is here; we know there are cells from different terrorist organizations that are here and operational and that there are others waiting too. So listen, it's a serious business. It's wartime, guys. Because we don't have a continuous attack on our shores, we can get complacent. We've got to all be alert now, we've got to be a part of it and be supportive of our troops for sure. . . .

I imagine [VP Dick Cheney's] less gruff with wounded troops than reporters.

It all gets distorted. Rumsfeld was maligned and villainized; he's a hardworking guy, doing the best he can. He's got such a huge responsibility, and if he makes the slightest error, people's lives are at stake. So, you don't think he carries a big weight? He does. Now they've gotten rid of Rumsfeld. Well okay, maybe he didn't have the answer, maybe there was a fresh answer required. But you've got to respect the guys who are out there, working hard as public servants. These guys are good guys. People don't like the war because we don't seem to be winning it. And these people think that if we just walk away everything will be fine, but that's not the case.

Even if you disapprove of the war, it seems pretty clear that simply pulling the troops out might not be the best option.

More than that, the war does not end. When we look around and see the evidence of what is being done and the preparations that are being made to disrupt our country and to destroy it. This growing cancer of fanaticism, it's like 1938—it's very, very similar.

To the Third Reich?


Islamic fundamentalism?

Whatever you call it, the things that are being said are very similar. It's a matter of whether we recognize that or go into a cocoon and make our own little drama. Do you know what I'm saying? We're debating things instead of recognizing that the real fundamental aspect is that we're at war with a very vicious, very clever enemy. . . .

I'm contractually obligated to ask those questions, my apologies. Thanks for taking the time to talk international relations with us.

I hope it comes out in a nice way so I can look at it and go, "That's pretty much what we said." It's very hard this stuff. For instance, the issues we talked about with George Bush, I was also against the attacks on Clinton. I thought they distracted from his focus on the presidency. Clinton was a very brilliant guy and can probably handle a lot of things, as George Bush seems to in the face of this attack. He seems to keep his center, as did Clinton, surprisingly. I'm not saying they don't make mistakes, these guys. They do. But to use it just in order to step into a place of power and take advantage, there's something distasteful to me about that. And it can get downright dangerous. We should be very high-minded. And if that doesn't sell magazines, I'm sorry about that. But the portrait of American leadership from the beginning has been people rising above the mud, being able to be strong enough hold themselves against the nonsense.

But there's still a role for journalism in democracy, right?

Of course. You bet. There's a place for good actors in movies too. But you can do damage to a decent movie by going off in the wrong direction too. . . . Journalism can be helpful too, but once it bends to sensationalism and commercialism and becomes agenda-driven, it's not so good.
It's not so much that I agree or disagree, its just, well, I'm speechless!

H/T Debbie Schussel

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