Happy Birthday, Michael Ledeen!
I was not privileged to be born in the United States, as most readers of PJMedia probably were. On July 28, I celebrated 33 years since the C-130 military airplane that brought me to freedom landed at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington, D.C. On that memorable day I was exactly three months short of the round age of fifty, and the joy of finally becoming part of this magnanimous land of liberty was only surpassed by the joy of simply being alive.
July 28 is my new birthday. This year I celebrated it on August 2nd together with my best and dearest friend: Michael Ledeen, who had just turned 70. We all have zillions of reasons to be grateful to this great American, who has dedicated his life to defending the United States against its main enemies: Marxism and terrorism. I have a few personal reasons as well.
In 1978, when I was granted political asylum, I could not tell the difference between the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. To my eyes of that time, both American parties epitomized freedom and anti-Communism. Soon after that I married a three generation Republican who helped me to see the light. Then I met Michael Ledeen, who went to great lengths to pound it into my head that my wife was right. That gave me not only 30 years of happy marriage, but also a new political horizon.
Michael Ledeen also introduced me to the publishing world. It took him six years to reach me -- and there is still a $2 million bounty on my scalp -- but on July 6, 1984, the French L'Express published "La grande fauche" (The big rip-off), our jointly authored, seven-page piece about technological and industrial espionage in the Communist bloc.
The article’s bottom line was that, without private ownership and lacking the vitality that competition and private incentive nurture, Soviet bloc governments consistently prove to be incapable of making any real technological progress. To get around its scientific impotence, the Kremlin decided to steal the ideas its Marxist system of government could not come up with on its own. "La grande fauche" documented how, over the years, the Soviet bloc developed the purloining of foreign science and technology into a fine art, practiced by a large and well trained intelligence machine.
Our article was considered to be so interesting, that the Library of Congress retranslated it back into English and distributed it to all U.S. agencies even remotely concerned with the subject. There followed an avalanche of government debriefing requests regarding technological intelligence, a subject that until then had been studiously ignored as having nothing to do with classified government secrets.
Now Michael Ledeen is exposing another "grande fauche" -- the Democratic Party's current campaign to redistribute American wealth. This campaign is rooted in Karl Marx's principle "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need," a maxim that authorized stealing as a national policy on the day the Marxist Soviet Union was born.
Young Americans, who have no longer been taught real history in school and have probably not yet started paying taxes, seem to love the concept of a free lunch. It is no wonder that during the 2008 election campaign, the Democratic Party filled entire stadiums with people demanding that the wealth of the United States be redistributed. Some of those electoral gatherings displayed all the fervor of Stalinist revival meetings -- over eighty thousand people gathered at that now famous imitation Greek temple cum White House in Denver, demanding the redistribution of American wealth.
Michael Ledeen has since gone out of his way to make those young people understand that stealing is a crime that does not pay, even when it is committed by the government of a superpower, and that the Soviet empire’s economic collapse proves it.
Stealing is just one step ahead of killing. This brings me to the crux of the matter. Michael, a former consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Department of Defense, has spared no effort to document that today's international terrorism was born in Moscow. His 2002 book The War Against the Terror Masters attests to that. More recent events confirm that thesis. On July 12, 2006, militants of Hezbollah ("Party of God"), an anti-Semitic Muslim fundamentalist group armed by Russia, launched a powerful rocket attack against Israel. That attack was followed by a 34-day Israeli offensive against the attacker. Most of the Hezbollah weapons cases captured by the Israeli military forces during that offensive were marked:
Supplier: KBP, Tula, Russia.
In October 2010, Hezbollah conducted a drill simulating the takeover of Israel. The European Union-sponsored Gulf Research Center, which provides journalists an inside view of the Gulf Center region, found out that Hezbollah's military forces were armed with a large quantity of the "Soviet-made Katyusha-122 rocket, which carries a 33-lb warhead." Hezbollah was also armed with Russian-designed and Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets with a range of 47 miles, enabling it to strike the Israeli port of Haifa, and with the Russian-designed Zelzal-1 rockets, which could reach Tel Aviv. The Gulf Research Center established that Hezbollah also possessed the infamous Russian Scud missiles, obtained from Syria, as well as the Russian anti-tank missiles AT-3 Sagger, AT-4 Spigot, AT-5 Spandrel, AT-13 Saxhorn-2, and AT-14 Kornet.
Peace in this world only follows victory in war, as my good friend Michael has repeatedly told me. Once again, he has proven right. The Cold War is indeed over, but unlike other wars it did not end with a formal act of surrender and with the defeated enemy throwing down his weapons. Now we are learning the hard way that the loser’s mindset cannot be changed from one day to the next.
In 1988, when I was granted the honor of becoming an American citizen, I ended the few words I said as a sign of my gratitude with the last paragraph of William Tyler Page's The American Creed: “It is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it against all enemies.” That is something else that Michael and his wife, Barbara, have kept hammering into my head: that being a citizen of this great country brings first obligations, and then privileges. Both Michael and Barbara have dedicated their lives to serving their country, and both have passed their love for America to their three children. Their daughter, Simone, has worked both in Iraq and Afghanistan for the Department of Defense; their oldest son, Gabriel, fought in Iraq as an officer in the United States Marines Corps; and Daniel is currently serving as a lieutenant in the USMC.
Happy Birthday, Michael! And many, many more. Our country needs people like you.