Brigitte Gabriel is a Lebanese-American journalist, author and activist. Gabriel has regularly appeared on such media outlets as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News and has addressed the Australian Prime Minister, members of The British Parliament/House of Commons, members of the United States Congress, The Pentagon, The Joint Forces Staff College, The U.S. Special Operations Command, the U.S. Asymmetric Warfare Group, the FBI, and many others.
Gabriel is also the founder of ACT! Who, according to their website is, “[T]he nation’s largest national security movement. It is an issues advocacy organization dedicated to effectively organizing and mobilizing the most powerful grassroots citizen action network in America. We are committed to informed and coordinated civic action that will lead to public policies that promote America’s national security and the defense of American democratic values against the assault of radical Islam.”
In addition to these efforts, Gabriel has written two books concerning the topics of radical Islam, 9/11, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and national security. The first, Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America was published in 2008. Secondly, They Must Be Stopped: Why We Must Defeat Radical Islam And How We Can Do It was published in 2010.
I began my conversation with Gabriel by asking her to qualify and tell me why she believed in one of her more controversial passages in her book Because They Hate found on page 185: “It is not politically correct to say that our Western societies are better than the Muslim-Arab societies, but we are, we have been, and we always will be.”
[It's] because of our value system. We have a different set of values when it comes to appreciating life, to appreciating family, to appreciating discipline levels from structure to cleanliness to everything else. I come from a culture in the Middle East where I was born and raised where men kill their daughters, they kill their wives, they kill their mothers, in the name of honor. They have no conscious when it comes to murdering their own flesh and blood simple because [they want to] cleanse the honor of their family […] So, the mental, basic instincts that in the Islamic culture where they murder their own flesh and blood where they don’t even have the conscious nor the remorse to even stop them from murdering their own flesh and blood. You cannot compare our Western societies to theirs. I discuss also in my books how in Western society we value education, or we value cleanliness for example. I discuss in my books how when I lived in Jerusalem, you walk into the Arabic side of the city and you see garbage everywhere; people don’t value their property. You see dirt everywhere. Every corner smells like urine. You walk one block into the Jewish side of the city and you see everything clean, everything structured, everything organized. A little boy will be playing and wash his hands afterwards. You will see him eating a banana and after he is done he will walk across the field until he finds a garbage can to throw his garbage [away] instead of just throwing it on the street. Those are just a few examples of why I believe societies are not created equal even though people are created equal in the eyes of god who created us all as people that we all should have the same rights, however, societies are not created equal […] When you look at the Islamic world, fifty percent of the Islamic world is a complete waste of resources because they don’t use their women either to educate them or to allow them to work or to allow them to advance in societies […] [According to a UN Human Development Reports taken since 20021] Two-thirds of women, and one-third of men in the Muslim world are illiterate. So, they don’t but advancements on education and on learning the way we in the Western world do. This is why you see Western nations are all advanced, are all industrial, are all accomplished, and you see the Arabic world lagging behind in every area.
In the past, you have often commented on your support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Can you detail why you support, or supported, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and what you see as America and its allies gaining from these conflicts?
I was supportive of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in the beginning of these wars because it showed America used to be the mighty power; that it used to be back in World War II where you go in with one emphasis and that is defeating and killing your enemy and walking away victorious. But, what is happening right now is we are squandering the lives of our precious boys and girls who are serving in the military in Afghanistan and [previously in] Iraq not to basically defeat our enemy but to rebuild nations. And right now we are getting our country in debt, borrowing from China, while our own society is falling behind. And what is happening in our own society is, because of political correctness, our generals are operating a war with shackles around their ankles because congress-people [on] Capital Hill are dictating policy based on political correctness and not allowing our generals or our military leaders to do what they are trained to do best and that is conduct a war and win a war against our enemy, not win the hearts and minds of our enemy at the cost of our precious lives of our sons and daughters who are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was later proven that there was no connection to the enemy you are referring to of radical Islam in Iraq until after the U.S. invasion, yet, you still support the war to attack Iraq to get rid of radical Islam?
We went into Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein because we were concerned about him having nuclear [weapons]. We based our decision knowing that Iraq had already tried to build a nuclear power. Let’s not forget what Israel did when they bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor back in the 80′s. [Gabriel is referring to Operation Opera otherwise known as Operation Babylon. Iraq began its nuclear program in the 1960's. After Iraq purchased a nuclear reactor from France in 1976, both Iran and Israel launched air strikes against the reactor in 1981 because, even though Iraq claimed it was for peaceful purposes, Israel and Iran were suspicious of its potential to make nuclear weapons. Israel was admonished for these actions by critics around the world including the United Nations and General Assembly in two separate resolutions discrediting the act as a preventive strike without need. 10 Iraqi soldiers and 1 French citizen died in the Israeli strike. It was later proven that the reactor had no ability to weaponize nuclear material.2] So, we went into Iraq to stop it from creating a nuclear power. [It was later proven that one of the main, three indicators the Bush Administration based its preventive strike on Iraq on were claims of Saddam trying to purchase large amounts of yellow cake uranium, a key component in weaponizing nuclear material, from Niger. The documents, originally reported from the SISMI (an Italian intelligence organization), were later proven to be falsified. In 2008, to try and show they were justified in attacking Iraq, the Bush administration falsified shipping documents of yellow cake out of Iraq, claiming it had been gathered their in recent years. It was later proven the yellow cake was their from the 1991 Gulf War and fully accounted for according to UN weapons inspectors.3 The other two claims for preventive war against Iraq were alleged mobile biological weapons labs that never existed, thought to exist based on surveillance footage. Later, these “labs” were revealed to be conventional artillery units.4 Lastly, the Bush administration used evidence of aluminum tubes that were intercepted in Jordon in 2001 meant for shipment to Iraq. The Bush administration claimed the tubes could be used to aid in the enriching of uranium, although these claims, as the other two, were unsubstantiated.5] We went in there and removed [Saddam]. But, because we stayed there and started to try to build a nation after that; this is where the Islamists like Muqtada al-Sadr and his army came in. [Muqtada al-Sadr, born in 1973, as of this writing, holds no position in Iraqi politics but is an influential cleric non-the-less. Sadr took over his position of influence from his father, Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr, after his death at the hands of one of Saddam's death squads in mid-to-late February, 1999. After the invasion, in 2003, Sadr gained a militant following that was referred to by Western media outlets as the Mahdi Army. Sadr established his “army” to create an Islam-based government in Iraq. From the invasion on, Sadr clashed with occupation and insurgent forces from his stronghold in Sadr City, an urban area of Baghdad. During a 2003 60 Minutes interview Sadr said, "Saddam was the little serpent, but America is the big serpent."6 […] And because we did not deal swiftly with them; Muqtada Sadr and his army were [at the time of the invasion] just a few guys, you know a handful; if we had just cut off the head of the snake we would not of had to deal, or later had to deal, with this Muqtada Sadr’s army which was about 30,000 fighters. And so, this is why, the way we tried to conduct that war which was different from any other war we have conducted; the more it went on, the more we lost what we were trying to accomplish. We should have gone in, removed Saddam Hussien, established whatever, and got out. We would have shown everybody, “You tried to create a nuclear bomb, you tried to mess with us, we are going to do the same thing and destroy you. Not re-build you, not build your civilization, and certainly not to set up a new government […] But, at this point, where we are now [late 2013] we need to get everybody out of Iraq, out of Afghanistan, and establish what our generals want, those “lily-pads” [major U.S. military bases throughout the region which the U.S. failed to accomplish during the war in Iraq and are trying to establish currently in Afghanistan] so our military and special forces can go in when they want and cut off the head of the snake of whatever radical leader or whatever militant terrorist leader that is trying to conduct attacks or organize attacks against our interests; go in take them out and get out. We should not be there to rebuild nations. [Conflicting with Gabriel's view is the popularly expressed ideal of the “Pottery Barn Rule” establishing that, “If you break it, you buy it.” This popular phrase, used by pundits and politicians alike, means that if a nation destroys another nation through military force, they are responsible for re-building that nation.7]
You say we went into Iraq because of nuclear weapons in Iraq. Yet, it was proven quite definitively that Saddam never had any nuclear capabilities and the evidence we had was actually falsified. What would you say to that?
Well, I know that Saddam Hussein did have nuclear weapons, but a lot of them got moved to Syria before we invaded. [There is no evidence to support this claim.] I mean we issued sixteen UN resolutions against Iraq and basically telling Iraq, “You need to give us your nuclear weapons, you need to do this, you need to do that.” And a drug dealer; if a police officer is going to bust a drug dealer because they have suspicion of somebody that has drugs, you don’t go in and tell the drug dealer, “Okay, I’m going to give you a warning that I’m going to come in and I’m going to search your house.” After you give that drug dealer sixteen warnings that you are coming into his house, do you really believe that drug dealer is going to leave any traces of drugs in his home knowing that you are coming to search his house? […] And when Syria began its nuclear weapons program a few years ago, where did the material come from, it had to come from somewhere? [Syria does not have a nuclear weapons program. After the 2012 Syrian Civil War, a chemical weapons facility was discovered in Syria. However, the extent of Syria's capability to use chemical or biological weapons is, at the time of this writing, unknown. Syria has, since late 2008, tried to purchase research-type nuclear reactors from several countries. However, international pressure has caused the deals to be abandoned.8] We have no doubt that when we went into Iraq that why we didn’t find any traces of nuclear bombs or any traces of nuclear materials that Saddam was developing was because Saddam was not stupid enough to have left it in his own country after all the warnings that we gave him. [Again, there is no evidence to support this claim.]
How do you feel about the Drone War? And why do you support further military action throughout the Middle East? Do you think that our military actions just inflame these conflicts and create more violence rather than pacifying any given situation?
I support the drone attacks because the drone attacks work. You need to let your enemy know they can run but they cannot hide. And as much as they run and try to hide, sooner or later you are going to get them. This is how you strike fear in the hearts of those radicals who think they can get away with what they are doing […] Drone attacks prove very effective and we don’t have to risk the lives of our troops on the ground […] As to why we need further military action in the Middle East, we have to show our enemies that we will cut them off at their feet [if they are] trying to terrorize the world and build terrorist organizations that will attack the United States. And they are not growing because of what we are doing. Radical Islam is experiencing a growth period worldwide [that] started in the 1970′s. Two things happened in the Middle East that sparked radical Islam: the discovery of oil in Saudi Arabia which gave the Islamists the money and the power to grow and spread their radical ideology world-wide. [Oil in Saudi Arabia was first surveyed in 1933. In 1939, oil was first exported from Saudi Arabia and increased significantly after World War II. By the 1970's, Saudi Arabia was the world's leading oil exporter which continues to this day.9] And the coming to power of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. [The once exiled Ayatollah Khomeini led the Iranian Revolution in the late 1970's which overthrew Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah (King) of Iran. Khomeini became the Supreme Leader of Iran becoming both its political and spiritual emperor. Under his rule, Iran saw a quick and decisive shift to Sharia Law, or a body of laws governed by the Quran which impose many actions and edicts criticized by Western societies such as the Iran hostage crisis, where Iran held 52 American embassy workers hostage for 444 days, and a fatwa, (in essence a religious bounty) for the death of British author Salman Rushdie for his 1988 novel, The Satanic Verses which was in part inspired by the life of Muhammad and was considered blasphemous by Khomeini and his followers.10 Added to these major international issues, strict adherence to Sharia Law is criticized for its abuse of woman's rights, homosexuals, freedom of speech and other civil liberties. After Khomeini's death in 1989, Ali Khamenei has served as its Supreme Leader. However, former provincial governor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, since 2005, after a succession of variously influential presidents, has played a large part in dictating domestic and foreign policy. In 2009, he was re-elected despite hundreds of thousands of Iranians engaging in peaceful protests to declare the election a fraud. Iran, as of this writing, is seen as moving more and more towards a police state as internal pressures push against the existing power structure set up by Khomeini to abandon Sharia Law in favor of a more pluralist and internationally supported government.11] This gave radical Islam the power to blow [up] and explode world-wide. America has been attacked [by radical Islam] under different administrations since 1979 regardless of who is in power, democrats or republicans. America was attacked under the Carter administration in 1979 with the hostage crisis. America was attacked under the Reagan administration; the Marines in Lebanon in 1983. [In late October, 1983, during the Lebanese Civil War, American and French military barracks, who were apart of a multinational force, were assaulted by two truck bombs killing 299 American and French military members. Responsibility for the attack was taken by the radical Islamist group, The Islamic Jihad Organization.12] America was attacked under the George Bush senior administration. [This isn't true. There was no violent radical Islamist attack on American forces during George Bush senior's presidency from 1988-1992.] During the Clinton administration, a democrat; it was actually under President Clinton the World Trade Center was attacked in 1993. [In late February, 1993, a small group of Muslim terrorists detonated a truck bomb intended to bring down the North Tower of the World Trade Center, but, failed to do so. Four men were convicted of various efforts in the attack where six people were killed and more than 1,000 injured.13 ] Also under President Clinton, the Taliban trained 10,000 al-Qaeda members in Afghanistan. These people were not being trained for entertainment. [Gabriel has her facts a little skewed. During the Clinton administration, in roughly 1996, Afghanistan was a training ground for al-Qaeda, who paid the Taliban millions in order to house the terrorist organization after international pressure forced them to re-locate from their initial training grounds in the Sudan which they established sometime in 1992. However, there is little evidence that the Taliban directly “trained” any of its fighters as Gabriel mentioned. However, much of how directly involved Bin Laden was with the Taliban is still being uncovered and up for debate.14] They were being trained to attack the United States of America. At this time, George Bush junior and Dick Cheney were not even a blurp on the political landscape. [During this time, from 1995-2000, George Bush junior was the Governor of Texas. Dick Cheney had already spent many years in various parts of government including being White House Chief of Staff under Nixon and Ford, a ten-year run as a Wyoming Senator, and was Secretary of Defense during George Bush senior's administration overseeing 1991's Operation Desert Storm.] And then of course America was attacked again under George Bush [junior]. [Gabriel neglected to mention the late August, 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya which killed 224 and injured over 4,000 (some American). This attack was in response to marking the eighth year America had set up military bases in Saudi Arabia. Also, there was the mid-October, 2000 bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen where 17 American sailors were killed and and 39 injured, again related to our military presence in the area. Both of these were later tied to radical Islamist organizations.15] And the only difference between the 1993 bombings [of the World Trade Center] and the 2001 bombings were that the buildings did not come down. And everybody thought, if we get rid of George Bush and just elect Obama our sins will be forgive, the whole world will come together and sing Kumbaya. But obviously that did not happen. Because two days after President Obama was elected, Osama Bin Laden said, “We are going to continue our jihad against the United States regardless of who is in the White House.” So, these are facts. Radical Islam is on the rise whether we are in the Middle East or not […] So, after September 11, after all the psychoanalysts came on TV and did all their psycho-babble about why they hate us, “They hate us because we are in the Middle East, they hate us because [of] our foreign policy, they hate us because we support Israel.” Baloney. If that is why they hate us, then why was the Muslim Brotherhood founded in 1928 which gave birth to 70 offshoots of Muslim-terrorist organizations including al-Qaeda? [Again, Gabriel is skewing the facts of the matter. The Muslim Brotherhood, established in Egypt in 1928, calls for Pan-Islamism, or a return for all Arab countries to be ruled by a form of Islamic law. There are various conspiracy theories and other skewing of facts that place the Muslim Brotherhood at the center of a Pan-Islamic crusade to destroy Western societies through the establishment of a caliphate, a single Pan-Arab society. In 2007, the Muslim Brotherhood formally denounced al-Qaeda and other violent terrorist organizations – many of its members had already come out against these groups and their actions. However, in regards to Gabriel's claim, there have been some scant links between members of the Muslim Brotherhood and what have been considered terrorists organizations. However, the Muslim Brotherhood is not on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorist organizations, although it is banned in other countries such as Egypt. Most of the Muslim Brotherhood's funding comes from private donors in Saudi Arabia with no links to terrorist organizations.16] […] We are at war with radical Islam whether we like it or not.
In your books you have given your idea of how we should change domestic and international policy concerning terrorism. You are in favor of racial profiling, scrutinizing Muslim-Americans both legally and through citizen watchdog campaigns, limiting students from various Muslim countries to study in our schools, and other ideals. Can you explain why you feel this way?
We should scrutinize who is coming to our country. I mean, right now, we give visas to 70,000 Saudi students who have come to study since September 11. We give these students student visas. And this is a clear threat to our technology and our defense. How are we monitoring who these people are, their family links to radical Islam and Islamic terrorism, who their families are funding overseas, who these people are [as] they are coming here to study in our universities where we have no idea who they are, how long they are staying, [and] they over-stay their student visas. [There is an expansive system in place to both monitor and deport those who violate the conditions Gabriel is talking about. These measures were also tightened through the USA PATRIOT Act.] And look what happened in Boston. [Gabriel is referring to the 2012 Boston bombing. See “The Frustrations of Tracking the “Bad Guys” in Afghanistan and Other Issues" for more on the Boston bombing.] That is a perfect example. We need to scrutinize who is coming to our country and what they are studying. If they are coming from hostile Islamic countries where we know these Muslim countries have been involved in terrorism or the spreading of terrorism around the world; how are we going to be able to protect ourselves?
You have also gone on the record saying you support what the government is doing in terms of monitoring, recording and essentially “spying” on Americans, and specifically, Muslim-Americans in the name of defense. Can you qualify why you feel these enhanced monitoring techniques are necessary and do you feel they violate our civil liberties?
I was saying, in my 2008 book [Because They Hate], I was in support of the intelligence community, for example when they eavesdrop on conversations. People were saying, “You shouldn’t do that because you are infringing on people’s rights.” But, what most of the American public does not know is that we have actually foiled several terrorist attempts and tracked terrorist leaders based on us eavesdropping on distant conversations because of the intelligence that we gathered or that we captured on people’s computers linking certain phone numbers because we were able to monitor [them]. [Gabriel's claim is difficult to qualify or quantify. Certainly, enhanced eavesdropping techniques do aid in gathering intelligence, however there is a debate over how much these enhanced techniques benefit the intelligence community versus older systems of intelligence gathering. This debate is often tied in with the debate over the legality of the systems themselves. Again, see “The Frustrations of Tracking the “Bad Guys” in Afghanistan and Other Issues" for more on these new systems of surveillance.] So, while a lot of Americans are not familiar with certain programs regarding [our] intelligence and the defense of our country, they’re being questioned; Mulsim-American people were questioning why military leaders were doing the [spying] they said […] I don’t support it in the name of defense, and specifically, to the extent to what the NSA is doing […] Our war with our enemy is evolving. And what we have with [the Obama] administration, and what this administration is doing, has gone far beyond anything that George Bush [junior] has done in the previous administration and the laws that they installed. Right now, it has been taken to a whole new level under [the Obama] administration that I do not agree with.
For my final question, what would you like to see America do to pacify radical Islam?
Intelligence. Coordinating our intelligence. War is never the answer to everything. When we have better intelligence we will be able to protect ourselves better without getting our country to the point where we’re having to deal with something like the Boston attack. The Boston attack proved that our intelligence community and the Department of Homeland Security are not communicating with each other about intelligence they are receiving and also, they are not being trained properly about what jihad is in the Islamic world and what is the ideology about what is driving these Islamic terrorists to commit the acts that they are committing […] In the new counter-terrorism training manual, jihad is [described as] basically yoga; it is how to better yourself. [Although specific parts of it are classified, speaking with several of my veteran subjects, I asked them broadly about the U.S. Army's Counter Terrorism Manual and its description of jihad. All subjects responded with appropriate definitions of jihad as a violent, sometimes suicidal attack on internal and/or external forces in the name of Islam.] So, we need to throw political correctness in the garbage where it belongs and let our military leaders and our generals make the right decisions to do what they feel they need to do in order to protect the country and let our agents be trained properly about what the ideology is [that is] driving radical Islam to kill themselves and kill their own family members and to murder innocent children in the name of their ideology. When we do that we can protect the country while avoiding an all-out war.