Since he sent it to me, and I’m too busy this afternoon to digest it, I’ll just share the whole thing with y’all. Here’s the transcript:
Thank you, Senator Corker. Well, I just want to make sure people understand what we’re trying to do here at this point. Our Democratic colleagues are filibustering an attempt to have a debate, an up-or-down vote on the most consequential foreign policy decision in modern history. That’s what you’re doing. And Senator Corker in good faith got us here in a bipartisan manner and Senator Reid has come out of nowhere to change what was the common understanding of how we would proceed, get 60 votes, a simple majority, let the president act as he wishes. But no, we couldn’t do that. We’re more worried about protecting Barack Obama from having to veto this than you are about having a debate on the floor of the Senate.
Now, let me tell you a little bit about who you’re dealing with here, folks. And if I hear one more comment from my Democratic friends about how much they love Israel……with friends like this, you don’t need an enemy.
Here’s who you are dealing with. This was yesterday. The Iran Supreme Leader predicted Wednesday that Israel would not exist in 25 years and ruled out any new negotiations with a Satan, the United States, beyond the recently concluded nuclear accord. In remarks published Wednesday on his personal web site — at least the Ayatollah has gotten in modern times and post on Twitter — the Supreme Leader — do you know what they call him Supreme Leader? Because he is. Ayatollah Khamenei responding to what he said were claims that Israel would be safe for that period. Where do those claims come from?
It came from this Administration, my colleagues on the other side. You’re telling everybody in the world that this is the best deal for Israel. Guess what? Nobody in Israel agrees with you, who is in the current government. It’s just not Bibi [Netanyahu]. Everybody who is in the current coalition government understands this is not a good deal for Israel. Why don’t you listen to them? You want it to be a good deal for Israel. Well, it’s not. And you wanting it doesn’t change it.
So let’s finish to what he said. The Ayatollah responded to claims he would be safe for that period under the nuclear agreement reached in July. After nuclear negotiations, the Zionist regime said they will not be worried about Iran in the next 25 years. After nuclear negotiations, the Zionist regime said they will not be worried about Iran in the next 25 years. Israel didn’t say that. People over here said that. The Ayatollah wrote I am telling you first you will not be around in 25 years, and god willing, there will be no Zionist regime in 25 years.
Second, during this period, the spirit of fighting heroism and jihad will keep you worried at every moment. Clearly, somebody who is on the course of change, somebody we should give $100 billion to, create a pathway to a nuclear bomb in 15 years, let him buy more weapons in five years and build an intercontinental ballistic missile in eight years. Clearly, this is the man that has changed course and you have empowered.
At least, at least [Neville] Chamberlain can say Hitler lied. At least Chamberlain can say I negotiated with the Fuhrer, he told me to my face if you give me this I’m done. We all know that Chamberlain was a chump and Hitler actually meant what he said when he wrote a book. The question is does this man mean what he says when he tweets yesterday?
The ink is not dry on the deal. One thing you can say about the old Ayatollah, who is crazy, who is a religious Nazi, at least he’s honest. He doesn’t want you to be confused as you vote as to what he wants to do to your friend Israel.
See, he doesn’t want you to mistake what this deal means to him. You obviously are writing him off. You obviously believe he doesn’t mean it. I guess he has a polling problem in Iran. He’s got to get his numbers up. He needs to say these things because he doesn’t mean it but he has to keep his people happy because they like hearing this stuff. All I can tell you, his people tried to rise up against him in 2009 and our president sat on the sidelines and didn’t do a damn thing.
The biggest moment for change in Iran came in 2009 when young people and women took to the streets demanding a fair election that was stolen from them by the Ayatollah and his response was to beat them, shoot them, put them in jail and torture them. This is the guy that you’re going to give $100 billion to. A clear pathway to a bomb. He doesn’t even have to cheat to get there. And buy more weapons to attack us. At least Chamberlain lied. This man is telling you what he’s going to do as of yesterday.
And between the time the negotiations have started to now, has he given us — shown us a little leg about real change? During the negotiations he has toppled four Arab capitals. During the negotiations, he supported the Houthis in Yemen who destroyed a pro-American government, and we’ve lost eyes and ears on Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a Sunni-extremist group who attacked Paris and will attack us. During the negotiation they have done anything but be modest. I cannot believe that you don’t believe him. I cannot believe that you made the biggest miscalculation in modern history by empowering a religious fanatic with the ability to attack our nation, destroy our friends in Israel and keep the Mideast on fire for 15 years. What are y’all thinking over there?
All I can say is that the last 9/11, 3,000 of us died because they couldn’t get weapons to kill three million of us. If you let this deal go forward, before too long the most radical regime on the planet will have the most lethal weapons available to mankind. They will share that technology with terrorists and it will come here. And why do they need an ICBM folks? What are they going to do with it? They’re not going to send people to space. What are you thinking? What are y’all thinking over there? You’re taking the most radical regime on the planet, a theocracy. This is not a democracy. The moderates were shot down in the streets. They were begging ‘are you with us or with you with him, President Obama?’
President Obama is absolutely the most poor champion of freedom and the weakest opponent of evil in history. Evil is flourishing on his watch. President Obama said you’d have to be crazy not to support this deal. Let’s walk through whether or not we should follow his advice about radical Islam.
This is the president who was told to leave troops in Iraq to make sure our gains would be maintained, and he pulled everybody out because he wanted to get to zero. He turned down every commander’s advice to get to zero because he made a campaign promise. This is the president that was told by his entire national security team three years ago establish a no-fly zone and help the Free Syrian Army because Assad was on the rope. At the time when it would have mattered when there was a Free Syrian Army to help. Obama said no thanks.
This is the president who drew a red line against Assad after he backed off and said if you use chemical weapons and cross that red line, you’ll pay a price. Here’s the facts: Assad is going to be in power and Obama is going to be gone. The last guy standing is going to be Assad. This is the man who said don’t worry about ISIL. They are the J.V. Team. I killed Bin Laden. Al-Qaeda is decimated. At what point do you realize that President Obama has no idea what he’s talking about? At what point in time is it obvious to anybody in the world who’s paying attention when it comes to radical Islam, he has no clue? So this is the guy we’re going to send in to negotiate with a radical Ayatollah, a guy who in the eyes of the world is a complete weak defender of freedom and a very poor adversary of evil?
And if that’s not enough, the Iranians are rubbing this in John Kerry and Barack Obama’s face by tweeting this out hours before you vote on this deal, just to remind you that no matter what you say on this floor about Israel, nothing’s changed in his mind about Israel. And when you claim Israel’s safe, he’s telling you no, they’re not.
But you’re not listening because you — you’re not listening because you don’t think he really means it. I can tell you right now, you better be right. And how about this idea, when it comes to the Ayatollah, assume the worst, not the best. And to our friends in Russia, John Kerry said one of the big benefits of this deal is that we’ll bring Russia in and Iran will be a better partner in the Mideast. And we’ll have a major breakthrough where Iran begins to help us with problems like Syria. Well, here’s Russia’s response before you vote.
They’re sending Russian troops, maybe fighter planes into Syria to prop up Assad before you vote. Taking everything John Kerry said about what would happen if you do this deal and rubbing it in his face. Tell me how you fix Syria with Assad in power? What the Russians are doing are ensuring he will stay in power longer. The longer he stays in power the more refugees the world will have to deal with and the more hell on earth will occur in Syria. The Syrian people want two things. They want to destroy ISIL and want Assad gone because he destroyed their families. Secretary Kerry, how well is this working with this new engagement with Iran and Russia? Things are really changing. Look at the tweet yesterday. What are you going to tell the American people this means? Interpret the Ayatollah for me. This is just all talk? He has to say these things?
He doesn’t get elected. He doesn’t have to worry about the next election. He says these things because he believes it. He’s a religious fanatic compelled by his version of Islam to destroy everything in his religion that he doesn’t agree with, to destroy the one and only Jewish state and attack democracies like ours. And you’re giving him more to do that with. This is over time a death sentence for Israel if it’s not changed. And if I had $100 billion to negotiate with, for God’s sake, could I get four people out of jail? I could get people out of jail here with $100 billion. Who’s negotiating with Iran? This idea we’re going to separate all of their bad behavior from the nuclear program was the biggest miscalculation in modern foreign policy history. To suggest that we don’t need to look at Iran as a whole unit, that we’re going to ignore the fact that they have four hostages, U.S. personnel held in sham trials, a “Washington Post” reporter, that they are the largest state sponsor of terrorism, they destabilize the region, driven our friends out of Yemen. They are supporting Hezbollah, a mortal enemy of Israel, taken over the Lebanese government. We’re not going to worry about that. What do you think they’re going to do with the $100 billion? Do you think they’re going to build roads and bridges? The best indication of the next 15 years is the last 35. When you separated their nuclear ambitions from their destructive behavior, giving them access to more weapons and $100 billion, you made a huge mistake because you’re damning the Middle East to holy hell for the next 15 years and giving the largest state sponsor of terrorism more money and more weapons to attack us. And you couldn’t get four people out of jail.
The Iranians must — the only reason they’re not dancing in Iran, the Ayatollah, he doesn’t believe in dancing. I’ve got friends over there who I respect and admire. I have no idea what you’re thinking here. I have no idea why you believe the Ayatollah doesn’t mean what he says given the way he’s behaved. If they will shoot their own children down in the streets to keep power, what do you think they’ll do to ours? And the only reason 3,000 people died on 9/11 is they couldn’t get the weapons to kill three million of us, and they’re on course to do it now. I’ve never been more disappointed in the body than I am today. A body known to be the most deliberative body in democracy in the history of the world, and you won’t let us have a vote. You won’t let us have a debate. And please stop saying this deal makes Israel safer.
That’s cruel. And your response to this deal is to give them more weapons because you know they’re not safer. I find it a bit odd that in response to this deal we’re selling the Arabs every kind of weapon known to man. If you really thought this was such a good deal, why do you have to arm everybody who is in the cross hairs of the Ayatollah? When they write the history of these times, they’re going to look back and say that President Obama was a weak opponent of evil and a poor champion of freedom. They’re going to look and say that the United States Senate refused to debate the most consequential foreign policy agreement in modern times. And people in Israel are going to wonder where did America go?
Has it ever crossed your mind that everybody in Israel who is in power, who is running the government today objects to this agreement?
The Presiding Officer:
The senator’s time has expired.
Senator Corker, thank you for trying to have the debate we need. To my Democratic friends, you own this. You own every “I” and every “T” and every bullet and you own everything that is to follow, and it’s going to be holy hell.
I’m sort of halfway listening while working here. Do you suppose he really meant to say, “At least Chamberlain lied.” Don’t you think he meant Hitler?
Yes, he meant Hitler. Colin Powell was on Meet the Press and his take on the deal was more positive.
Well, that’s pretty unhinged, even for Lindsey. Must feel terrible to know now that nearly 80% of GOP voters in your own state think you should withdraw from the presidential race, that your goal to (at the very least) be taken seriously on the national stage has not materialized one little bit.
As usual with Lindsey, there’s a lot of hyperbole and emotion here (“most consequential foreign policy decision in modern history”—really? unless of course by “modern” Lindsey means “since House of Cards premiered”) backed by complete confusion about world history and current geopolitics, a poor grasp of basic logic, and finally (Lindsey’s specialty) a sprinkling of intellectually dishonest and misleading rhetorical flourishes.
The worst of this latter category is especially painful to read as we approach the anniversary of 9/11: “the only reason 3,000 people died on 9/11 is they couldn’t get the weapons to kill three million of us, and they’re on course to do it now.” Gee whiz, it wasn’t enough to try to convince the American people that Saddam Hussein was somehow responsible for 9/11, Lindsey? Now you’re telling us that it was the Iranians behind 9/11? It would be bad on any day of the year to exploit the memory of those 3000 lost souls by twisting the facts to suit your own agenda: to do it on the eve of the 14th anniversary of the event is particularly appalling, but sadly, not surprising considering the source.
But the fundamental misconception he would like to foist upon all of us is that “if you let this deal go forward, before too long the most radical regime on the planet will have the most lethal weapons available to mankind. They will share that technology with terrorists and it will come here.” No, Lindsey, the whole point of the agreement and the reason why people who REALLY understand arms control issues, like Brent Scowcroft and Colin Powell, endorse it is precisely because it’s our best option at this point in time to prevent the very thing you claim it will facilitate. Are these people also “poor champions of freedom and weak opponents of evil”?
Phillip, I don’t think Lindsey has ever asserted either of these things: “Gee whiz, it wasn’t enough to try to convince the American people that Saddam Hussein was somehow responsible for 9/11, Lindsey? Now you’re telling us that it was the Iranians behind 9/11?”
That first meme is one that I ONLY hear from folks who opposed the 2003 Iraq invasion. And I’m not hearing the second one from Graham.
What I hear is that Iran is probably the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism, and therefore that’s one state you definitely don’t want having nukes — two points that I think everyone on both sides pretty much agrees with.
As Jim Clyburn said yesterday supporting the deal, “The opponents of this agreement say that Iran supports terrorism. I don’t disagree with that,” which is a big reason why “I support this deal because it is the best available option to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, an outcome that all of us agree must be prevented.”
The point of disagreement is whether the deal promotes the goal that all agree on. A point regarding which reasonable people can disagree in good faith. It’s not a matter of wise men like Brent Scowcroft on one side and idiots on the other.
You know, if the things Lindsey says are SO over the top — and yes, he uses lurid language, as though he’s increasingly desperate to be heard — I don’t see why people have to distort what he’s saying in order to mock it.
Thank you, Phillip. Good summary.
Actually, not so good, as much as I respect Phillip. Your comment and mine crossed paths…
Let me add that I think my own criticism below is fairer and more to the point…
Here’s the criticism I have of the speech, after having listened to all of it while working at a rote task last night: It is rambling, repetitive, and undisciplined, which leads to dumb errors such as the one I cited above.
When Corker told him his time was up, I thought, “Yeah, it’s about time.” Everything he’d said in the last two paragraphs of the transcript had already been said (and not very well; some of the wording was awkward) at least once if not more times.
I felt like Corker was helping him out by cutting him off. Sort of like the recurring joke on “30 Rock” when someone says, “Shut it down! Shut it down…”
Brad, no “distortion” of what Lindsay said here. Let’s have the more complete quote:
“I have no idea why you believe the Ayatollah doesn’t mean what he says given the way he’s behaved. If they will shoot their own children down in the streets to keep power, what do you think they’ll do to ours? And the only reason 3,000 people died on 9/11 is they couldn’t get the weapons to kill three million of us, and they’re on course to do it now.”
Does Lindsey actually believe that it was the Iranian regime who was “only” able to kill 3000 14 years ago and are now “on course” (because of this agreement) “to kill three million of us…now”? Of course not. But that’s what intellectual dishonesty is. He knew what day it was. He chose to throw it all together into one pot.
Sorry, Brad, but I think it is you who is trying to bend Lindsey’s words into a more palatable formulation. In their pure, original, form, they speak perfectly well for themselves.
However, I agree with you that the point of disagreement is one in which “reasonable people can disagree in good faith. It’s not a matter of wise men like Brent Scowcroft on one side and idiots on the other.” But your friend Lindsey doesn’t seem to accept that.
I don’t see how that’s intellectually dishonest. As you say,
He doesn’t believe that, and he doesn’t say that. And I know that he doesn’t say that. It never occurs to me for a moment that he WOULD say that. What he is saying is completely clear to me:
— The 9/11 terrorists would have killed more than they did if they could have. As it was, they succeeded on a grand scale, using the most explosive devices they could get their hands on — airliners filled with jet fuel.
— They didn’t have nukes. If they’d had nukes, they would have used them.
— Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism. They aid, abet and support terrorists in a variety of theaters of operation.
— If Iran has nukes in the future, it’s believable that terrorist clients of theirs could end up having them, too.
That’s what I understood him to say.
It’s a line of argument that one can argue with. But don’t argue with it by saying he’s saying something other than what he’s saying.
Peace In Our Time