tv History Bookshelf Pete Hegseth In the Arena CSPAN September 22, 2019 8:00am-9:01am EDT
we welcome those who join us on heritage.org. for all the guests in-house, we that yourtesy check cell phones and other noisemaking devices have been muted as a courtesy to our speaker. is a graduate of west point and serves as an adjunct or foster -- an adjunct professor at georgetown university. he serves on the board of trustees at the marine corps university foundation and the advisory board for the west point center of oil history, the -- of oral history. help me in welcoming jim c arafano.
james: thank you. pete is not only a great friend, but the definition of a great american. he graduated from princeton and harvard. stars.nze having put his life on the line, i'm not sure what possessed him to write this, but i think in dangerous and politically incorrect in the world in which we live, he deemed to write a book about who are we in who we should be, that seems quite old-fashioned and distasteful to address anymore, but those of us who have walked around the island of the potomac and walked by the roosevelt statue and seen some of the quotes, and remember not just
his legacy, but the legacy of people who thought deciding who we are this can to central -- is quintessential to being a republican democracy -- a republic and a democracy. talk, and theno we will take you a day -- take q&a. woulde get to q&a, if you raise your hand and wait for pete to recognize you, and then wait for the microphone so folks listening online can hear the question as well. just state your name and affiliation. we will do that. sometimes we start late here at heritage, but we always end on time. help me in welcoming the author of "in the arena." [applause] pete: jim, thank you very much. the heritage foundation, i'm grateful for this opportunity. you got the book early.
you read it, you engaged with it. this feels like a family reunion, and i thank all of you for being here. so many wonderful places, people i've known and worked with, and folks online, thanks for sticking with us. i want to thank -- a bunch of people i want to thank, but my ,colleagues and vets i'm grateful you are here. i wrote this book from 4:00 to 8:00 a.m. in many mornings while running cba. thats what we did at cba was an inspiration to me. it is a call to action that is the organization, so it was always a pleasure to work with you. i appreciate the work you continue to do, from jay and bill and caroline and sarah and will and shawn, amber and emily, kevin and fred, and even my brother phil, who is in the front row here.
i want to thank all of you. and of course, kate pomeroy. kate was also an inspiration for me to write this book. she told me, you need to write it, and i took her advice, and i'm glad i did. i also want to thank my very good college buddy nat, who is here, and is it knowledged as well in the book. this book would not have happened without nat. without him teaching me how to think and write and argue in college, and pulling me back from the brink of some absurd things i put in publications. he was the editor of the princeton tory. thank you for your help on this project. some of the others that are not here. my wife come our boys -- my wife, our boys, who i dedicate the book to. yes, they are good southern names up in the north. i brother nate, who is a man in the arena himself.
i also want to recognize a very good friend of mine who is a fellow traveler and author himself, and also encouraged to this project from the beginning. to the book itself, when i was in iraq and afghanistan and guantanamo bay, a carried around a quote in a black frame. it was teddy roosevelt's man in the arena quote. if you open up the first page of , you will see it. "it is not the critic who counts , not the man who points out how strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives s, who comesho err short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming, but who does actually strive to do those deeds, who knows read enthusiasm ,- who knows great enthusiasm the great devotions, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who knows the end of the triumph of high achievement, and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be those cold
and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." this is not a book about teddy roosevelt. you don't have to carry a rifle to be in the arena. it is our job to instill in every generation the principal to perpetuate what is, as you all know, an experiment in human freedom. the 21st century isn't an american century, than the 21st century will not be a free century. it's just a fact. you look around in the world today. there are threats and ideologies around the world that are quite different than ours. something i put in the book throughout is the phrase "history is not over." history is never over. all we have to do is look to western europe today to realize that when you decide to got your military -- two gut your military to pay for your welfare state, you tend to wind up riding the wave of history instead of shaping it.
if getting off to a good start is important, no one is more response of over the 20th century being an american century than teddy roosevelt, the guy who charged up san juan hill in 1898, who sent the great white fleet around the world in 1907, and who was the chief agitator for american involvement in world war i. if you are number, woodrow wilson declared he wanted peace without victory, which i think would be quite difficult, and would be a very different looking peace than what we have today. in many ways, the 20th century was an american century on the back of teddy roosevelt. as i think about it, when i read the entire roosevelt speech, that is when i woke up to the power of the quote. the quote itself is powerful. the quote is motivating. ways -- theresome is no value assertion in the quote. it is being in the arena, but what is the arena? what does it mean? as i write in the book, it is
not your arena or my arena. there is the arena for this exceptional american experiment that was gifted to us 240 years ago and has to be per roy jointed -- and has to be perpetuated in every single generation. we all know the reagan quote, we are never more than one generation away from extinction. of a moreminder difficult reality on a daily basis. the quote is just one quote of the larger speech called citizenship in a republic. insevelt gave it in 1910 front of the thousand french elites at the university of paris, this are bone -- the sorbonne. speech, iked at the was blown away. u -- in many, if yo ways, it was un-pc before there
was pc. why should i stand up and declare what i think the direction of america should be when instead i could channel a fantastic speech, a historic speech that has timeless residence today? it reminds us of the very ingredients of republics required in every generation, no matter what. no matter whether we have twitter or facebook or any number of modern develop its, the ingredients, the basic seeds of a republic, are the same. he posits a very simple thesis. he says, "the average citizen must be a good citizen if great republics are to succeed." think about that. not great rulers or even great citizens. on a dailyns, that basis, in a personal way, understand what it takes to keep and make america the greatest
country in the world. good citizens are the only antidote to big government. the smaller and more selfish the citizens, the larger and more unchecked government becomes. as history shows us, good citizens who understand why america is exceptional and special already thin line between tyranny and freedom. they understand our american experiment is exceptional, not because we are proud or boastful, but because we understand this american experiment, when it was first started, was just that. an experiment. europe laughed at us and said, ip's of paper is -- a piece of paper is what is going to stand between you and a tyrant? you are going to hand over power peacefully? there was a sense that it wasn't possible. our founders reminded us that our rights come from a creator and not from government. they understood a balance of shower which checked the nature of humans. they understood freedom of religion as opposed to freedom from religion.
the understood amendments like the first and the second are indispensable to free peoples. the validity to articulate speech and ideas across the spectrum, which roosevelt talks about powerfully in the speech. true tolerance is tolerating very different and dissenting opinions. in the second amendment, the right to bear arms and protect yourself. they also understand we are a country of laws, not men. if men were angels, we wouldn't need these types of arrangements. he talks about good citizens and good patriots in the speech. good citizens at home and good patriots in the world. that is really the breakdown of the book. it is intentionally in that order. talk a lot about what i talk about on fox and elsewhere, foreign policy. you look at the world today, and there's a lot to talk about, but you can't talk about american leadership until you talk about restoring and maintaining citizenship. if you don't understand who you are and what you believe, you can forget about attempting to
be the leader in the world or attempting to project power and controversial and difficult places. you need to shore up the home front first. what is a good citizen? it is not just voting or jury duty. it is not protesting. those are all ingredients of what we do in republics. of course, voting and all of those things are good, but roosevelt points out that it is the civic virtues -- he uses the word deficient, which is usually what we think of when we think of light bulbs and starting pitchers. you don't think of it when we think of citizens. who are you as an individual, and what do you do before deciding how others ought live? he uses difference -- he uses the first principle of work. the second is fight. a strong and vero people. a masculine spirit for men and women. strength, vigor, and power.
we are a bike helmet culture when we should be thinking about the barbarism of female subjugation in the middle east. we teach our kids to be wimps. we turn our men into women and our women into men, and we need to be willing to stand up and fight for the things we believe in, whether it is on a battlefield were here at home. he talks about large, patriotic families. demographics. he talked a lot about them a in this speech. the anecdote i use often is of an afghan interpreter i spent time with in afghanistan. a young kid. he's in the united states today. he would risk his life for me, and i would for him. we were talking about faith, religion, christianity, islam. he said is it heat -- he said it is inevitable that islam will rule the world. the prophet foretold it. we are having 10 kids, and you are having one. there was powerful poignancy and that phrase. i mentioned they are gutting
their militaries to pay for their welfare states. when you forget who you are and you don't demand, at some level, allegiance and assimilation from populations that separate themselves, and then have 10 kids while you are having one, that is how london becomes the most popular name mohammed for newborn boys. for us to think that things like that just go away is willful blindness. so western europe, whether it is 25, 50, 75 years from now, is going to looked very different. that is not an anti-muslim phrase or statement. it is a reality that because they haven't done that well in western europe, they are not the melting pot that america has been, they are going to have massive cultural clashes, as we have already seen in things like the migrant crisis that only accelerates problems we see. as many of you know, europe is a preview, or could be a preview, of america. the second chapter of the book is about france and what we can
learn from france that was a, frankly, formerly great republic that decided to give away its status by making very intentional decisions at home, and america can learn from that. we have messaging -- we have massive advantages in that our revolution was very different from theirs, but we still have a lot to learn. the fourth aspect you could put forward his character. whether it is faith or believing in some greater than yourself. george washington said religion and morality are indispensable supports of a republic. you rip out face, and you wonder -- you are about faith, and you wonder why we are getting what we get in our altar. i am not talking -- in our culture. i am not talking about social conservative. you go to war, you learn some things, you see some things, and you realize there's other things in my mind that are a more important priority. i am not talking about pro-life issues. i think that is a fight that
conservatives should continue every day of the week, but we obsess over things like same-sex marriage, and it inhibits our ability to talk about the real challenges facing families. the real challenges facing parents and kids in. our culture -- in our culture. about equalhe talks opportunity, which should be the lodestar of conservatives and republicans. if we don't strive to be the party of equal opportunity, we will miss the mark. i think it is fair to say republicans and conservatives have missed the mark on that for a long time, talking about things like marginal tax rates when people's mindsets are very different, and we see massive shifts in our economy and the way their lives are lived. we have to have clear eyes about attacking that and approaching that. that means not just unburdening regulations and problems, and pushing back against the
dependency for those at the bottom, but also making sure those at the top play by the same rules. the taxe regulations, code, the lobbyists that rigged the system so that those at the top are able to game it to their advantage, and in many ways block out those who would otherwise have social mobility. the left talks about income inequality all the time. what we should talk about his social mobility, the validity to rise. the ability in this country to have every opportunity that your parents or others had in previous generations. you have to start with citizenship. he also talked about what undercuts good citizens. it is a citizenry focused on rights instead of duties, that believes man is perfected or perfectible, and therefore you lunge for utopia and utopian ideas. citizenship that is invested in moral relativism, that there is no right and wrong. we see that on the battlefield today. take something like the apple grabe prisons gamble -- the abu
ghraib prison scandal, which was terrible, but there was no reason "the new york times" had to put it on the front page 32 days in a row. there is no home team in the american press today because it is passe to say america is good or to say that i'm an american, and therefore i support the causes we undertake, even if they are difficult ones. in many ways, often controversial and open to dissent. the fourth is class warfare. roosevelt says "the end of the republic is at hand when class warfare commences." it is what we have seen in many ways, left, right, black, white, male, female, young, old. we have been pitted against each other, which is toxic to the body politic and to citizenship. so you start with citizenship because without citizenship, you cannot create or be th good
patriots on the world stage that you need to be. you have all seen the -- i don't know if you have seen the bumper sticker, think globally, act locally. it is a popular environmental bumper sticker. i think roosevelt would rip that often say think locally, act globally. meaning, remember who you are and be willing to act globally in defense of those principles, which are indispensable. that america is good. america is worth fighting for. america is truly exceptional, and america has been a forces good in the world. and by the way, winning the wars we fight is a good thing. roosevelt talks about that in the speech. "are we a people willing and able to prevail?" it sounds like a simple question, but there are critical moments. i write in the book about iraq in 2005 and 2006, and in 2007 and 2008. i see some people here who were part of that.
the line of freedom and tyranny is often decided in those really difficult moments, when half the country or a lot of people want to take a political expedient route and say let's set a timeline for the war. it has been difficult and controversial and costly. let's pop smoke and leave this difficult battlefield. is other half says no, this the exact moment when you need to be willing to double down. you need to be willing to take the fight to the enemy. i've never been more proud, as i write in the book, then on january 10, 2007, when george bush announced the surge in iraq, and did the right thing in the face of massive public pressure. doubled down to defeat a vicious enemy. ask yourself today if he was right. unfortunately, he was. the surge did work, and it was successful, and al qaeda in iraq was largely defeated. political progress was happening. bidenruary of 2010, joe
was declaring iraq a great achievement of the obama administration. such a great achievement that he just happened to visit again for five does ago with political chaos unfolding. they took for granted the gains that were made through decisions in a dark moment and assumed they would perpetuate themselves, without understanding how central defeating islamists in iraq was to their narrative and our narrative. are we the paper tiger that osama bin laden said we were? will we retreat from every difficult conflict if we are scuffed up, or are we able to show the resolve of our forefathers and win the wars that we fight? that is not a call for endless nationbuilding were fighting every bogeyman on the horizon. it is a recognition that the lesson we should learn from the last 15 years, from iraq, is that resolve works. not that all these middle eastern wars are terrible and we should not get messed up there. let's nationbuilding
home, and that's it. the narrative in the republican and democrat party in many ways is moving in the wrong direction , to unlearn everything we learned in those conflicts. what i do over a couple of chapters in the book is make the case that the iraq war is a war we should learn from about what to do in the right moments as opposed to run from. i think republicans and conservatives should stand confidently in every forum they can and point across the aisle to hillary clinton and barack obama and joe biden and say you are the reason that isis is proliferated in iraq and afghanistan. it was american retreat that created those seeds, and it was your policies that advanced chaos in the region. there's obviously, it is a more conflicts situation -- a more complex situation when you unfold that, but it was a lack of military will and political engagement. we some plea decided that we were over iraq. it's because today, we have come as roosevelt warns about in his
speech, the first president of the united states who considers himself first a citizen of the world. insevelt talked about that 1910, warning against those who see themselves first as citizens of the world, whose international feeling for humanity swamps national feeling. he said citizens of the world are usually the worst citizens of their own country because they point out a humanity in the amorphous things we can do for them instead of focusing on what makes their country great, and why it is worth fighting for. his foreign policy, barack obama's, a coexist foreign policy. you seen those bumper stickers. does that make you throw up in your mouth, too? [laughter] pete: coexisting is a means, not an end. just like engagement is a means, not an end.
for this administration, when asked about his doctrine, he said it is to engage. engaging is not a doctrine. engaging doesn't mean you'd understand who you are or what you believe in. so what you have a series of progressive elites who went to school in places like princeton and harvard. a lot of us know obama's are big believers in the state and humidity and what we can accomplish if we just build another institute -- another -- another internationalist institutions. but then they are forced to go from there trigger warnings and their safe spaces, and what happens when the world doesn't want to coexist with a leader is progressive and culturally sensitive as obama? what if isis, instead of wanting to coexist, is chopping off the head of prisoners? for iran, instead of wanting to do this deal, is cheating on the
deal? or what about pushing gay men off of a five-story building in iraq the same day the white house is lighting up the white house in the use of the rainbow in solidarity? what if they don't want to exist? coexist? what if instead of hitting a reset button, the dictator in russia is redrawing the lines in eastern europe? at that point, their mind does not compute because they are not on campus anymore in the graduate student lounge. they are the commander-in-chief. the things they learned on campus that were supposed to lead to a perpetual peace, it turns out the bad guys in this world with very different ideologies aren't interested in co-assisting or engaging on those levels -- in coexisting or engaging on those levels. so rather than calling out real threats were abject people, or heaven. forbid confront them, they look around for the mediation groups or global
climate change solidarity marches they so eagerly and self righteously associated with as graduate students, except they don't work. they seek the a possible -- the impossible global consensus. they work for peace agreements that have no attachment to the ground. they have a need to negotiate without preconditions. they unilaterally withdraw from wars without caring what happens. asy dismiss growing threats the jv and unilaterally declare new boots on the ground. they apologize profusely for past sins. they send nonlethal aid when it is the legal stuff actually needed. they seek the moral high ground and clear the use of violence just so 19th century. they try to coexist with a dangerous, fallen, backward world, and surprise, it doesn't work. so over the last seven years, beget an incoherent maze of intervention, nonintervention, surge and withdrawal, high-stakes, and it is utterly
incoherent and unknowable because they don't understand. because america's leadership doesn't believe in america and the use of american power as a tool for freedom and security in the world. you get incoherence the bin laden raid in the bowe bergdahl swap. we get a white house that the world some plea doesn't recognize. as good patriots after seven years of obama, what do we need to do? we need to unapologetically lead. be willing to a knowledge that without america, there is no leader of the free world. it doesn't mean we have to be the policeman in every corner, but we better be the world's sheriff is a big, shiny badge, security andy our our interests are important to us. our word matters, we will backup our allies, and stand up to our enemies. we need to be willing to cross the islamic state and unleash hell on them by loosening rules of engagement and recognizing they are a vicious enemy. that the longer they exist, the longer that black flag flies, the more vulnerable we are on
every front. we need to stand by dissidents in the world who speak for freedom, who have utterly abandoned. we need to be willing to speak about things like the iraq war. the book talks about comparing iraq to afghanistan to libya. i did not serve in libya. believingafghanistan we should search their. what you can accomplish in afghanistan is very different from what you can accomplish in iraq. this administration told us it was a good war but were never invested there. send menoral sin to and women to a battlefield you were never invested in. when you gave the speech about the war, you told the enemy when you would leave the minute you did. it would be a joke but it is not funny.
the problem is we also have an electric today seduced by the disengagement is necessary. opinione differences of across the spectrum. there's a reason to be proud of what was accomplished even if today the outcomes are worse than murky in many places. close by saying that i do not have kids to. that is just not true and i don't say it anymore. i served knowing my kids will have to as well. rifle ory will carry a whatever it is, but every single generation will have to contribute. ogs in ant c
american empire. we are citizens in a great experiment. we stand at the doorstep of another woodrow wilson, who teddy roosevelt tangled with. a man who said and was derided for saying he was too proud to fight vicious enemies in the world. obama emanates the same sentiment today. teddy roosevelt, when he was agitating for american involvement in world war i, he a friend called him the bugle that woke america. he tried to lead the roosevelt division, which ultimately never happened. but he wanted to lead the front. we must be awoken again. our educational institutions, our families, how critical that incubating capacity is. as i said, i have a policy
chapter in the back of the book that talks about simple recommendations. it is not meant to be a conservative carte blanche. i did not write about every issue. citizenship and leadership and i wrote about five simple things in every category that i think would go a long way to restore leadership in our country. i want to thank you for being here, for being in the arena in different capacities. i see people engaged in this town fighting for the things america represents. it is a difficult fight. it can be a demoralizing fight, and a lot of uncertainty ahead, but i would encourage you to go back to founding documents, historical speeches like this to be reminded of what our country represents, of the types of men and women who have perpetuated it and had courage to do difficult things in difficult times. you can reread the speech reprinted in the book, so you can make your own judgments about the speech. a trigger warning, it might.
urge you to enter the arena, if you are not already. [applause] any questions, friendly or otherwise? yes, ma'am. >> if you are permitted -- thank you very much. if you're permitted to answer a question like this, i was wondering if you could give us some ideas of your thoughts about donald trump's insistence that the war in iraq was a mistake. are you able to comment on that? >> sure, uh-huh. i had commented about it on national television many times, so i'll repeat what i said there. no, i take, i take issue with his characterization of the iraq war. i think that, this book, in fact, in many ways is a pushback against that narrative. i don't think we should be following in with the code pink, moveon.org narrative of the war, which is what it is. it may feel politically expedient to answer that way to
begin with, but i think it's much more politically powerful and principled to argue that, hey, even if you didn't like how we got into the war, ultimately, finishing it properly is really important and has massive implications. and that george w. bush surged and had a successful strategy, and this president gave it away. so if you want to look at the carnage of isis in iraq and syria, point to the abandonment of iraq and the abandonment of a red line in syria, and that hangs on the neck of barack obama and hillary clinton. so i, it was, you know, interesting this campaign, iraq, has been difficult to litigate for a lot of people. jeb bush, it took him a week to figure out where he wanted to be on that issue. there have been very few moments where with i've been proud of republicans on their articulation of iraq. i really can only think of one. marco rubio was asked about it, and he said it was not a mistake. iraq was not a mistake. and i remember just sitting there saying, finally, at least somebody won't cave in to, i think, that narrative. hopefully, the reality is that whoever the next commander in
chief is, whether it's trump or cruz, is willing to truly unleash total war on the islamic state. and so what i do take issue with is the way people characterize ted cruz and donald trump's whether it's carpet bombing or the willingness to unhandcuff the enemy, is their focus is on doing whatever it takes to focus -- destroy the islamic state, not we want to find a way to kill civilians. carpet bombing is not targeting civilians. carpet bombing is, if we know where the headquarters of isis is in raqqa, we're going to bomb it even if there happen to be some homes nearby. or when we're looking at the fuel trucks leaving to turkey to sell on the black market, we're not going to drop leaflets. because we think the drivers are civilian casualties. we're going to bomb the oil trucks. i think it's a difference of disposition, for sure. mr. sean reilly.
right there in the back. sorry. >> how you doing? >> doing all right. >> good. [laughter] >> a question about, you talked about the social issues, and you said that, you know, on some of them maybe there are, there's some kind of obsession. and i don't completely disagree with that. i think in a lot of ways, same -sex marriage has been fought and it is water under the bridge in a certain sense, but then you mentioned the illumination of the white house, right, with the colors. and i think that there's a certain sense in which a lot of -- the rest of the world does not agree -- there's a lot of the world that does not agree with the united states on that issue. when they look at the way that that is being litigated in the courts and lack of magnanimity of the victors in those struggles, they're motivated to push back against us. and when our foreign policy looks like we're going to be
promoting those sorts of things against their will, it seems like we can't ignore the social issues here at home especially when, in the light of that kind of foreign policy. >> that's a really good point. well, i also, you know, would note the hypocrisy of divesting from north carolina but headquartering anywhere else in the world where being a homosexual is illegal, right? hypocrisy is rampant on issues like this. my argument is more about the amount of focus and energy that should go to it here at home. and i think to your opening statement, in many ways that issue was whether you think it was lost or won, it was lost in the culture long before it was anywhere else. and so it almost feels like and is a dead horse that conservatives could be tempted to continue to beat which prevents us from making far more -- not far, but very legitimate arguments about, say, marital divorce rates with kids or out of wedlock births, things like
that that really should be a focus of tight-knit families and keeping them together. instead, we're dismissed by, you know, the media, the left, the everything as bigots and unable to make a lot of those core arguments that need to be made. but, yeah, does that mean that's the way whole world looks at that issue? absolutely not. there are plenty of conservative quarters in this world who look at us sideways and say -- and it just affirms for them, right, the absolute immorality of america that is totally decadent. and so that's a balance that has -- i just don't think it's a point of emphasis at any level. i don't think we should be trying to make a big issue of it here, and i don't think we should be attempting to impose it on anywhere abroad as well. mr. nathaniel hoops, who also was my bunk mate for four years
at princeton. we did sleep in bunk beds. [laughter] >> you like that intro? >> i do like it. i thank you for the book. it's fantastic. just talking about the citizenship, i think one of the things that a lot of us outside of the whole political fights that we continue to have on the role of government and the iraq war and social issues and so forth, i think one of the things that probably a lot of us feel as troubled by the sense of breakdown of just overall social cohesion in the country whether it's, you know, too much time staring at the phones rather than talking to your neighbors or whether it's just, like, the sense in the schools that there isn't the kind of -- citizenship isn't being taught. >> uh-huh. >> citizenship, you know, sometimes like you say it's more than just voting or basics. it's also about just engaging with the broader community in a way that says, you know, i care about my community. like, i care enough to want to know my neighbors. and i guess one of the powerful
things that i'd love to hear , what got you inspired to talk to, about citizenship with where you grew up in minnesota? >> yeah. no, it -- as i was writing and researching and thinking about this, i ended up -- i've never thought of my parents as inherently political or politically involved. in fact, you know, they weren't partisan. we didn't talk about the republican party or democrats in high school. frankly, in college was really the first time i was introduced to ideologies and perspectives in a meaningful way. but when i started looking into the speech, i started to realize what good citizens my parents really were. they always worked hard, never asked for handouts, never made excuses. my mom watchdogged the pta and watchdogged the local curriculum which really embarrassed me as a kid because i couldn't go to certain things at certain times because she was paying attention to what was being taught in the classrooms.
in the book, i don't impugn small families, i just make the case for large, patriotic families because i think that is a good thing. and they raised a family full of boys that they told to be competitive and go out there and dust it off and love your cup. -- love your country. i was not from a military family. i absorbed a lot of that from basic rituals going to the memorial day parade in minnesota and watching the vets walk down main street. watch the world war ii guys whose uniforms don't fit anymore. i get the chills just thinking about it. the korean war vets and the vietnam vets and gulf war vets. because it is a town of in 500 southern minnesota, the parade is like this long - [snaps] the whole city stands, the whole city is there. everyone is saluting, clapping, and then, of course, it ends at memorial park because this isn't veterans day, it's memorial day, and we're memorializing those who gave their lives from this
tiny little town in southern minnesota which could be replicated anywhere across all 50 states. so they didn't sit there and preach or beat into me read the constitution. which is part of learning citizenship, by the way. it was just sort of an infused sense of what it means to be a productive contributor to this country. and, of course, the fourth ingredient that roosevelt talks about is faith and character. and as much as i may have wanted to rebel against it at many points in my life which i write about, the reminder that there are things greater than you that someone, in my case, you know, died on the cross to redeem you for the sins that you will have in this world, was something that i carried with me and kept me humble and reminded me of who i was in this fallen world. those are the way more important ingredients than sending our kids, making sure my kids get to go to princeton or harvard. which, of course, is wonderful and great opportunities and open tons of doors. but the more important piece is whether or not they come out of childhood and school and everywhere else as good
citizens. so we actually, i'm from a public school, i went to public school all my life. i'm a big believer in public schools, but i worry i'm going to have to deconstruct eight hours of every day they learn in school something very different. so we find a way to pay a modest tuition to send them to liberty classical academy which is a little christian academy up the road from us, and we drive them every day, where they learn about patriotism, faith, civics, and classics. and they may not have a great basketball team which i'm a little worried about and football team. [laughter] liberty's not known for its gridiron skills. but i feel like they'll be infused -- the world today is much different than the assumption that in small town forest lake, minnesota, you're going to get infused with those community values the way that i was. and i think our educational systems and our culture and our media have been captured in so many places by moral relativism, by whether it's progressive elites with a very different view of what we should be emphasizing with our kids.
i was even tempted not to include a whole lot about how do you infuse citizenship in a public school level, because it becomes so political about how you teach founding documents, how you teach the founders. and in the world today where different people with different ideologies control that curriculum, you could see it descending quite quickly into a different narrative of citizenship and the constitution. so my recommendation is founding documents, original documents, talk about original documents, talk about, you know, reading the constitution, the declaration, the federalist papers, things like that and discussing those is a great place to start. i also talk about home schooling. in fact, one of recommendations here is making home schooling more robust and possible. i mean, when i grew up, you met home school kids, you thought they were kind of weird, right? oh, man, they're not socialized. that's not the case. i know so many wonderful home schooled kids who have a great -- are wonderfully grounded, wonderfully educated and are amazing citizens in this country. and if the public schools are
not an alternative because you feel like your kids aren't being educated or you can't afford a private school, then we should make things like home schooling more possible, easier, more streamlined as an option. and i think -- so it's, to me, it's, there's a lot that goes into the education of the formal nature of citizenship. but it's more about trying to remind -- and what roosevelt wrote about was gritty, homely virtues of everyday life which are not sexy and, you know, may not be cool on facebook, but they're really important. >> thank you. hey, pete, i'm peter sommerville, i work for a tech startup. we're crowd funding business loans for the next generation of awesome veteran owned small businesses. tailing off the last question about just how we influence culture, i remember when i was going through my marine corps
training down in quantico, i would come up to the mall on weekends during the height of the iraq war, and there was very little sense of public awareness of the veteran community. we're 40 years into an all-volunteer military which is great in many ways, but it seems like families i know either there is no one who has served in the military or there's 10. how do we influence that culture to keep that sort of red-blooded americanism alive? >> sure. i'm not a fan of something like universal service because i think it devolves into massive government growth, and eventually you're serving for things very disconnected from the original idea. but i do talk about a more robust sort of decision point through selective service, this idea that what if we made that little envelope you send back when you're 18 actually meaningful, so at that point , you're making a real decision about, hey, do i want to serve in the military? and here's the benefits that
would come from. bernie sanders is running around talking about free college. well, the military already gives away free college. there's plenty of ways you could incentivize whether it's through, hopefully, simply through the tax code or through educational benefits or others real service and investment so that kids are making decisions. and then it's honored that, hey, wow, you took that step to be a part of the minuteman corps or something where maybe you're not in the military. but how many of us know people who are wonderful patriots who, if they could, would add themselves to a list and make sure they stay physically fit every year, and they could say, hey, i'm prepared to go if my country needs me. sort of the next level -- the step before the draft, right? i think a lot of people would do that, because they would feel skin in the game to say, hey, if that big moment comes, i'm ready to carry a rifle for my nation. or i am ready to do this or that. i think there is an interim step there that would be a pretty interesting way to tie people a little bit more to service. but you talked about vets, which obviously is a passion of mine. a lot of people here from concerned vets.
a lot of what i talk about in the book too is the way that entrenched interests in washington and entitled crony classes protect the way, protect what they have. and prevent any real, meaningful change from happening. and, of course, a lot of the work i've done and a lot of people here have done is at the department of veterans affairs. there's no better example of that crony status quo than the v.a. and the ongoing efforts of concerned vets for america, efforts i was involved in, are met by, met by a brick wall for those who were supposed to be for things that reform systems that are broken. and here we are two years after the scandal, and things are no better. in fact, many places they've gotten worse. vets have a choice card, but they don't have any choice. no one's being held accountable at the v.a. who's stopping it? the white house has no interest in this. it is a political issue they had tried to prevent from the beginning. the v.a. is of course going to stifle reforms and bob mcdonald,
while a nice guy, has been an utter failure as the v.a. secretary. captured by the bureaucracy the minute he came in. you've got government unions, someone tweeted at me last night that in here i talk about civil service reform. well, you're damn right. in fact, it should be across government, but let's start at the v.a. and make sure that those who work in our government are held accountable. that if they're not doing a good job, they can be fired. that's a pretty basic principle. accountability's how you change cultures, but government unions have a grip on that. and then it's special interests. and you want to talk about establishment this or establishment that, we hear that word a lot on the political spectrum. special interests exist everywhere, including in the vet space. and it's traditional veteran service organizations here in unwilling too are change, who want to get invited to the white house cocktail parties and play nice with everybody at all times that stifle things like basic choice, things like accountability. and then they impugn and attack their opponents at every turn because that's what the left
does. they don't have an argument, it's always another five billion for the v.a. what they do is they attack you personally. if you want some fun reading, read a 29-page document focused just on me by other organizations. basically, it's a hit list of everything i've done in my life because they don't want to argue the merits of the issue or issue a report like we did at concerned vets that lays out what real reform would look like. they just want to attack the opponents and say we just want to privatize it and shut it down. that's why things don't change, and it's hard to be a good citizen in that environment, because it's easy to get along. and you can take that example throughout every spectrum of government and every level of government, and every place you're going to meet resistance. every place there's going to be a critic. every place you're going to fail, and then you going to fail again and again. and all they want you to do is quit. all they want you to do is quit. at every level. the school board, the local government wants you to get, the v.a. wants us to quit because then we can all keep our jobs, and everybody can live fat and happy and nothing will have to change. that's why people are ticked off
in this country today. they are ticked off because nothing changes, and everyone overpromises and never delivers. and what this book, i hope, will help do is remind people that the fight is worth it, that you're never going to get it in the first try, you're never going to get it in the first month or the first year. it's never the first bill. it's going to have to be the sustained iteration of the truth of what works and then the advocacy behind it as individuals and organizations. and having the courage to believe in america. to believe in what it represents. not cower from those who have a new idea of what it means. and i think a document like roosevelt's speech is a great pathway to remind us of that kind of thing. >> all right. so let me just steal the last question. >> yeah. >> other than fixing the v.a., what is the thing that we as citizens could or should be doing for our veterans, particularly as it attaches to that issue of citizenship? >> i think the first thing is -- and we've talked about it, actually, here in this auditorium once before -- is recognizing and raising awareness about issues facing
the veterans' community without stigmatizing them. and making sure that we acknowledge challenges facing vets, but we don't create the caricature that they're ticking time bombs who are inevitably broken and damaged goods. it's empowering them through any number of vehicles, through education, through opportunities, through small business financing. it's recognizing that these guys are going to be -- guys and gals -- are going to be the future leaders. they're going to rebuild our country. they're going to rebuild our communities, our civic organizations, our schools. they're the core of people in america that understands what it means to serve something greater than themselves. they've been in an arena that's highly controversial with a public that didn't quite support them the whole time. and they found a way to get it done. and, frankly, get it done quite successfully. so i'm confident that them and their families and those who come around them are in some ways provide the nucleus of the types of folks that are going to
get out there and make sure that the 21st century is an american century as well. because it's not -- i used to say this on the defend freedom tour for concerned vets all the time, it's not going to be your neighbor who's, you know, down in the basement playing, you know, worlds of warcraft and watching tmz. they're not going to do it. they're literally not. they have no idea. they're sort of just existing in this country without a sense of where it comes from and why it matters. it's going to have to be those of us who do. and if we do so tepidly or we do so saying, yeah, america's kind of good but, you know, then we're going to get steamrolled. so if you don't educate them, remind yourself what makes this place special and that our founders truly did something exceptional, then you will get steamrolled. so education up front is the beginning, and then finding the courage -- and i think vets, obviously, have shown that courage in one capacity and will lead the charge again. >> before i ask you to join me
in thanking the author of "in the arena," there are books available outside, and pete will stick around a bit if you'd like your book signed. thank you again for coming and please join me in thank our author, pete hegseth. [applause] >> thank you. [applause] [indistinct conversation] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] >> this is american history tv
on c-span3, where each weekend, we feature 48 hours of programming on our nation's pas t. >> this weekend on "reel america," a 1919 u.s. army on thefilm transcontinental motor convoy. here is a preview. ago from a century early july to early september of 1919, that a u.s. army convoy of about 80 vehicles made its way from washington, d.c., to san francisco.
a transcontinental mission to inspect america's roads, and the map showcasing the journey, a journey documented in a 25-minute silent film which we will be showing in a moment. joining us is ambassador michael and author. your book, explain the genesis of your research. >> i was interested in this trip. i think it is an important trip in the history of the u.s. i was interested in the fact that eisenhower went along on this. he was only 28 years old at the time. i think partly because of his inspiration from this trip was the driving force behind the highway system. i wanted to see the actual route they followed. i was able to follow their exact route. this is west of lexington, nebraska. obviously, there had been rain
so they are muddy and difficult to make their way through. guest: yes, you can see trucks slipping and sliding. tractor one artillery able to pull them out in most places. sometimes, it was really slow going. on this particular day, according to the log, they traveled 34 miles in 10 hours. [video clip] reel rolling]
>> you can watch the entire film documenting the 1919 convoy p.m. at 4:00 communicators, craig moffett on the future of , media and video internet industries. live tv modele only survive for sports and news and almost everything else will move toward on-demand models and the purveyors of live entertainment content or streamed real-time entertainment is for young people and oxymoron. the idea that there is a time of day for any particular show is an odd concept for anything but a sporting event.