While reading former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan’s 2001 book, “When Character was King,” I came across a very interesting speech President Reagan made in March 1983 to the International Association of Evangelicals. Twenty-five years ago, Soviet communism was the scourge against civilization as the USSR, which Reagan called “the evil empire,” spread communism by force, destruction and death to dozens of Soviet satellite states across the world.
As a point of contrast with today’s post-9/11 political climate, in which communism has taken second chair to a revitalized and genocidal Muslim jihad against the West, I would like to present an excerpt of Reagan’s famous speech, replacing all references to the Soviets, communism and Marxism with references to Islamo-fascism, jihad and Muslim terrorism.
During my first press conference as president, in answer to a direct question, I pointed out that, as good Islamo-fascists, Muslim leaders have openly and publicly declared that the only morality they recognize is that which will further their cause, which is worldwide jihad revolution. I think I should point out I was only quoting the prophet Muhammad, their guiding spirit, who said in the holy Quran – Kill the infidels where you find them – that Muslims repudiate all morality that proceeds from other religious ideas … or ideas that are outside Islamic conceptions. Morality is entirely subordinate to the interests of absolute submission to Islam. And everything is moral that is necessary for the annihilation of the old Judeo-Christian traditions, exploiting social order and for uniting the Muslim faithful against America, Israel and Christianity. …
At the same time, however, they must be made to understand we will never compromise our principles and standards. We will never give away our freedom. We will never abandon our belief in God. And we will never stop searching for a genuine peace. But we can assure none of these things America stands for through the so-called anti-colonial solutions proposed by some regarding American occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The truth is that a unilateral withdrawal now would be a very dangerous fraud, for absent Taliban and al-Qaida surrender, that is merely the illusion of peace. The reality is that we must find peace through strength.
I would agree to a withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan if only we could freeze the Muslims’ global jihad desires. A freeze at current levels of Muslim aggression would remove any incentive for the Islamic nations to negotiate seriously at today’s Arab Summit in Libya regarding cessation of all Jewish settlements in Palestine and virtually end our chances to achieve reductions in Islam’s war against the West which we have proposed. Instead, Muslim nations would achieve their objectives through the abolition of Islamic terrorism and promoting freedom of religion.
American weakness and appeasement would reward the Muslim nations for their enormous and unparalleled terrorist’s acts. It would prevent the essential and long overdue modernization of United States and allied defenses and would leave our American forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan increasingly vulnerable. And an honest withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan would require extensive prior negotiations on the numbers of Muslim terrorist acts to be limited and on the measures to ensure effective verification and compliance. And the kind of a terrorism moratorium that has been suggested would be virtually impossible to verify in Taliban- and al-Qaida-controlled areas. Such a major effort would divert us completely from our current negotiations on achieving substantial reductions in worldwide jihad. …
It was C.S. Lewis who, in his unforgettable “Screwtape Letters,” wrote: “The greatest evil is not done now in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint. It is not even done in concentration camps and labor camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceived and ordered; moved, seconded, carried and minuted in clear, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.”
Well, because these quiet men do not raise their voices, because they sometimes speak in soothing tones of brotherhood and peace, because, like other dictators before them, they’re always making “their final territorial demand,” some would have us accept them at their word and accommodate ourselves to their aggressive impulses. But if history teaches anything, it teaches that simpleminded appeasement or wishful thinking about our adversaries is folly. It means the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.
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So, I urge you to speak out against those who would place the United States in a position of military and moral inferiority. You know, I’ve always believed that old Screwtape reserved his best efforts for those of you in the church. So, in your discussions of anti-American proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride – the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the war against Muslim terrorism a giant misunderstanding and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.
I ask you to resist the attempts of those who would have you withhold your support for our efforts, this administration’s efforts, to keep America strong and free, while we negotiate real and verifiable reductions in Muslim fanaticism and one day, with God’s help, terrorism’s total elimination.
While America’s military strength is important, let me add here that I’ve always maintained that the struggle now going on for the world between Islam and Christianity will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith. …
Would to God we had a man like a Reagan today to bring America off her knees, snatch her out of socialism, kill the liberal welfare state and its attendant legalized thievery, envy and poverty of spirit. Reagan said, “America will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free … to truly become that shining city upon a hill.”