In this episode of the Making Sense podcast, Sam Harris speaks with retired Navy SEAL and author, Jocko Willink. They discuss U.S. foreign policy, war, human evil, and other topics.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Today, I'll be speaking with Jocko Willink Jocko is
a former navy seal. He was a Navy seal
for twenty years,
commanded a unit of seals in the battle of Ramadi, which is often acknowledged to be
toughest battle in our war in Iraq and the you
he commanded became the most decorated special operations unit in that WAR Jocko's. Also, a blue
belt in brazilian Jiu Jitsu and really is just a rare authority on violence, its application in the world the prey-
tickle reality of it, the ethical in
perative of it in certain circumstances, so it was a
great privilege to speak to jock. Oh, I found R2
together extremely useful
and I hope you feel the same way I now give you
so I'm here with Jocko Willink Jocko, thanks for coming on the podcast. Thank you for having me on.
First of all, congratulations on everything you are exploding. Your book has exploded. Your podcast Jocko podcast has exploded all in very quick succession, so the world has decided it needs more Jocko. That's awesome, I'm very happy for you. It's interesting to watch unfold
like most people. I first heard of you on the
the TIM Ferriss Podcast, and then he very shortly after that did one with Joe Rogan, and
I would just say to our listeners. If you haven't heard those interviews, those are actually five hours of interviews. I think two. With TIM and three hundred with Joe, I recommend
you do that because you I'm going to make an a series f.
We're not to duplicate those interviews and
those interviews were just awesome, so you know
Chicago, and I will wait for you: go off and listen to five hours of TIM and Joe and will be right here.
Which also we're not going to talk about much but which I love about. Two slash three of the way through it is called extreme ownership and
is now part of a really a wave of Navy seal books. I've read a few of the other ones, american sniper and lone survivor. I think a couple of uh
and but what's unique about,
your book is that this is not just a battlefield memoir. You are very explicitly relating the lessons learned as a commander of Navy seals to business and leadership in general, and so that's a very unique angle, and I recommend that people again read that book and this conversation will be no substitute for reading that book. One question that there has
didn't traditionally a taboo around seals, writing books and even talking about their careers as that Abu been lifted. Or did you have to be very careful in how you approach writing the book
Have some of these other books not been so careful and what what's happening with publishing and Navy seals? Well there. The way I was raised in the seal teams was that you didn't talk about your job and you didn't. You definitely didn't, go out and write books and you just were the the the term that they fed us, which I ate and enjoyed and believed was you. You are a quiet professional that was
the ethos of how we carry ourselves. So this idea of the quiet, professional. You know you do your job you're supposed to do. Obviously
entail, writing books about what you do now, starting in the 90s, a guy named Richard Marcinko, Dick Marcinko wrote a book called
Rogue warrior, and this was after he had had a little bit of a rough exit from the Navy and had gone
in some trouble in that book was huge, but it definitely was,
I would say, look down upon
I people within the community within the seal teams, that you know this guy, you shouldn't go, read a book and so that's what I grew up with now, since the nine eleven
and the war on terror is happened. Obviously, there's been more books by seals
special operations, guys across the board by military people. So I think that there's just
people want to know what we do and how
we do it. When I say we, I mean people in the military and I think that's
there's been some more books published on the subject
for life and my life is the person that I wrote
work with another seal. We work together on our last on my last deployment to Iraq and we both ended
in positions where we were teaching leadership inside the seal teams. He
teaching it to the junior officers that were coming out of the basics
pipeline and I was teaching it to the more advanced seals that were actually in
cartoons getting ready to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. So we had Chris.
Why is this knowledge from deployment and we doctrinal?
Is it really not to the full extent that we probably should have, but
guys were always asking hey? Do you have these lessons learned written down anywhere and eventually we did put them down, but then we got out. We both left the military with both
started working with we form
company. We were working with various businesses and the businesses that we were helping with their leadership started. Asking the same question: do you have this room
is there any documentation on this, and eventually we said okay, we got to write this stuff down and that's what we did and that's what ended up being the book.
Again it it's a fascinating book and
fusion of a a war memoir with just the principles of leadership and and just straight up business book. So I recommend you,
let's check it out, but we're not going to talk about. Any of that I want to talk about. Violence
So I want to talk about violence,
is really at every scale from war. Two personal self defense, I think, will probably focus on war mostly, but you really strike me
someone who's in a unique
addition to give a very Infp
opinion on violence at every scale and
probably not an authority. Now,
if you ever were one on what it's like to feel vulnerable as a hey man in our society and I you're not to be a prime candidate for a mug in less is going to be picks and grace in his his five friends Morgan you in the parking lot, so I'm you may be out of touch with the certain realities that people confront in their lives, but for everything from just you know being
to to to black belt, to be in a Navy seal who saw serious, combat, there's, there's just violence at every scale and even between those two extremes. There's law enforcement, which you know I heard you describe it, I think, was in your book or in one of those interviews, maybe pull off that part of your deployment to Iraq, had the character of Baghdad Swat right, so
it was the last war making and more to sort of order making, and that comes with its own constraints, ethical and tactical, and so, let's just fill in a little bit of your background for people who,
not take the assignment and go listen to five hours of you with Joe and TIM, when
you join the military, and, and did you actually know you want to be a sealed going in or was that a later development? Yes, I I knew I wanted to join the seal teams.
I want to be some kind of command of my whole life, since I was a little kid since I can remember wanting to do anything significant. I want to be some kind of a commando, some kind of a soldier and, as I researched and I can, research is a strong word, as I found more out about the military. Eventually I found out about the seal teams and it was allegedly the hardest and the most difficult, and so that's what I wanted to
I think people know a fair amount about the seals at this point. It again 'cause of all the books and and the related films, but it
give me the land here. So is it in fact the
single most elite force in the military or are there analogous special ops forces in the other,
which is that are
every bit as rigorous or is there some actual hierarchy? This acknowledged, even by non seals at seal training, is for whatever reason, pushing people to the highest standard of training. You know
every branch of military? Has some former special operations? I've worked with all of them. They're all tough guys are all great guys, and I think everyone has a mutual respect for each other and for the different training that we all go through and it's all relatively similar. I would say, if there's anything that that separates again, this doesn't make it better or worse, but one thing that the the seal teams doesn't the basics you'll training has is water and water water work in and actually view here, TIM Ferriss talking about doing some, this water training that he's done it's it's a real challenge for some people and and no doubt working in the water, definitely makes you better at things, because if you and I were going to go, take down a building, I could train you to do that. A pretty short period time in your. You know how to shoot store. We go over some basic tactics and it's not that hard. If I said okay before we go to take down this building, we're gonna go on a boat and we're gonna swim across the B.
Each in big waves, we're gonna get to dry land. We're gonna, make our guns work again, I'm gonna make sure radios are still waterproof and we're gonna patrol in wet and cold, and then we can take down the building. It's a lot harder. Yeah! That's on! There is to it. So the water is definitely a it's it. It provides a level of challenge. That is a very deep
stinks to the seal teams? Hey, you guys, haven't been seen a lot of water, though lately I've. It seems like it that, though the water training has been wasted in our recent engagement, it absolutely has been. I would say it has been wasted, though, because when you have to perform something in the water all the time, we do it on dry land. It's it's a lot easier right, so training wasn't wasted. It was taken advantage of, but to your question, all the different military branches, the Marine Corps, the army, the airforce they are
have their special operations unit, they all train hard, they're, all great guys. They all have a little bit of a specific mission, but they're all you in my mind, all pretty much the same
type of guys so is, when you mean specific, is a something like Delta force is more focused on hostage rescue. Is that right, correct in in? I think the best example is this. Does special
forces, the green berets they're more focused on going and working with counterinsurgency situations with local forces and they're very advanced in languages, so the seal teams were really bad at languages. In terms of the number of guys we have that speak other languages in the in the green berets, they have a lot more people that speak more languages. So that's that's a mission that they're going to excel,
whereas we were more of a direct action force or special reconnaissance force. Is there any
military skill that is focused to a
greater degree in one special ops community
more than another. I mean, for instance, like sniping. Is there a
brand of sniper that is acknowledged to be more
train than any other or snipers across each of those disciplines? Get more less interchangeable?
It's like asking a Yankees fan who's, better, the Yankees or the or the Red Sox, or is this well? I I can tell you that the the snipers that I've worked with from the seal teams are outstanding and the the seal sniper training course is an unbelievably hard course, an unbelievably hard course that actually has a pretty significant attrition rate in it's. Just it's just a great course. You'll snipers are great. Everyone army, the Marine corps, we're always all focusing we go to each other schools right, so I believe that they all produce good people, really solid people. And, yes, I'm being
I'm being politically sensitive to my answer to this question. Yeah and I've just notice that you've been in describing working with other ordinary soldiers
Even reservists you've been incredibly respectful and grateful, and I mean it's just you have made no secret of how indispensable there
bravery was in the battle of Ramadi and and the other engagements you fought and- and it was really great to hear in those other interviews well that one I would not hold back on at all the bravery and the professionalism of our american soldiers that I work with and Marines was just phenomenal and humbling
around them and again we, when you deal with special operations guys this is what we want to do. This is this is what we love to do is what we want to do. Is you can ask any seal? The they'll tell you the same thing. They want to do since the
little kid Exeter Chatter Center, a regular soldier. Now some of them are professional soldiers that something was going to do, but a lot of them are just people that that's a phase of their life that they're in and so to ask these people going through a phase of their life that they're expecting to go out of in a year or two years to ask them to do these extraordinarily risky things that take an immense amount of courage and bravery and watch them step up and do this over and over and over again despite casualties and losses and pressure. It's very humbling, amazing to watch and that's why I would never hold back when talking about the american servicemen and women that I work with bravery. Is this maybe unique?
motion in that, you can't fake it because faking it is actually bravery if you're, terrified and you're merely acting brave and going through the motions and put in yourself in harm's way that is
Bravery is right now, the other emotions where, where the counterfeit version of it is in fact a counterfeit, but it's the real thing
terrified terrified and your then doing the thing that you're terrified to do yes, yes to to fake bravery, is in fact to be brave and they used to tell us
false motivation is better than no motivation, in other words better of you. Yes, I'm excited to do this, even though you're not I don't know if I believe that or not, but I kind of do I kind of do, and I would see people's motivation turn as they falsify.
Their motivation for whatever reason, and then they become. You know. Let's do this. Let's get this done well, Utah,
talk about that in the book and
elsewhere, even on your own podcast. You talk about in the face of being told the most deplorable thing about what is about
to happen are likely to happen on a patrol. You habitually say good or, or is another good day or what? What? What's the actual phrase you're using? Well, the the one that I just talked about all on a recent podcast was good here. You know in in
this was one of my subordinate leaders.
My brother is actually with my good friends
Something was going bad, for instance, detail we got this intel, though
The star one on two is going to be all kinds of ieds and they're they're, saying it's going to be dozens of enemy fighters and I'd say good, for you know yeah. That means we have an opportunity get after it.
Yeah. So you definitely get in that mindset where you look at the challenges as being a good thing. So actually I was going to ask you this later, but
seems seems relevant here and again, I'm I'm kind of creeping up on what I consider our main topic here. But what explain
when's, the LA
back of this attitude and the lack of success that we've seen among the troops that we've train
the Afghans and the Iraqis you thought in the
Ramadi as most people know, was then lossed to these long
state and now, which is recaptured like yesterday. I think we have like- or the iraqi Army has like eighty percent of it under control, but there were descriptions of I think this might of been in Mosel, but you know eighteen thousand
iraqi troops melting away in the face of four hundred ISIS fighters and there been similar things with the afghan troops with the Taliban.
Now, presumably, this is the same population of people except for perhaps some
percentage of foreign recruits to the side of the ISIS and the Taliban were
talking about Afghans and Iraqis in both cases, but the troops that we have trained often just shows
such low morale or such an unwillingness to engage the insurgencies in those countries. Can you say something about the
because it's from a civilian side, it begins to look a little mysterious. What's happening there, that you thought
alongside Iraqis and you have you put your life in the hands of Iraqis. You've fought you've risked your life for Iraqis, Ann,
I? I know you don't want to cast aspersions upon Iraqis indie or an iraqi troops in general. But what explains this? I'm again, four hundred ISIS troops in eighteen thousand iraqi soldiers disappearing. Can you explain that to me? Yes, I can war is a test of will and that's it and when you have ten thousand or eighteen thousand or a hundred thousand troops that do not have the will in this two pieces. This well and- and I've said this before so I I don't mean to rehash, but it's it is the answer you have to have
the will to kill people. That is what war is in you're going to kill the enemy. That is what your goal is, is to kill them and when you kill the enemy, because the nature of war is confusing and there's the fog of war and it's an imperfect situation, you were going to kill innocent people. This is another part of war that is horrible and ugly, and it is
factual. This is what is going to happen. So when you engage in war, you must have the will to kill your going to focus as much as you can
obviously on the enemy. But there will
the innocent bystanders. There will be women, there will be children that are going to die because
this decision has been made that a war has to be fought. On top of that will to kill. You also have to have the will to die. That means on an individual level. That means your friends the people you're with that means that you have to have that will, and so what happens when you have these ISIS fighters that, through
their mental state, that they're in they have clearly demonstrated that they have the will to kill everyone, innocent civilian women, children? They have that will
because of their belief in martyrdom they obviously have the will to die. Now you take the iraqi soldiers and well they don't have those strong beliefs and part of it is because they don't have yet maybe they'll never will maybe they've had flashes of it, but they don't have this unified feeling of of unity a
emanation of Iraq, where they consider themselves an iraqi first, whereas you know they consider themselves. You know their religious sect there for their tribe
their family there's a lot of other things in there, besides being iraqi. So when this fight is a will, is the will of ISIS and what their beliefs are against, not so strong of a will of Iraq. This is what happens
You bring up a good point about the the just the role that religious sectarianism plays there, because you have a a shia problem, in particular in Iraq,
which certainly roads, almost all the Suny will to fight against ISIS, because that they perceive themselves to be at the mercy of the predominantly shia government and by the way you gave me a nice out on on this question and said you know I don't I don't want you secure, disparage the iraqi soldiers and I have not even the remotest close level of respect I have for the american soldiers. I mean iraqi soldiers. We saw
do all kinds of horrible things they had. We had companies of iraqi soldiers quit. We had battalion. Iraq is when I was there, but how we use of iraqi soldiers, no fiver six hundred soldiers say we're not fighting anymore yeah, so that did not. I. I have no problems,
saying that this is these. Are facts yeah? I know in your book. You describe one raid, where literally had to physically
cushion drag iraqi soldiers with you through the door in the middle of a hostage rescue.
This is the core of what I want to talk about it. I
see even my audience and certain
in Joe Rogan's audience and in in our political environment in general, and it is disproportionately problem among liberals, of whom I count myself among just pervasive doubts about the legitimacy of via
once in any context, like is war ever necessary and I think people there are many people who have a default answer to
question, which is no that that it's, it's always a an ethical failure
on some level, and it strikes me that that
you have the most civilized people disproportionately doubting that
war is ever necessary that you have a problem defending civilization at a certain point against it's genuine enemy
and these days
or not there under
mandible on some level. So, for instance, I heard you talk on your podcast. You expressed great admiration, which
chair for Dan Carlins Podcast, in particular his SIRI
in World WAR, one
countdown to Armageddon and listeners. If you have,
I heard Dan Carlin on World WAR, one your other assignment, which will now take you twenty hours ago. Listen to that. I've repeatedly called that a masterpiece, and it really is,
but so you see having a war like World WAR, one which anyway, you look at. It looks like the most pointless sacrifice of human life
and wealth in major cities that you had a generation of young men in Europe just fed into a meat grinder for no apparent purpose. You
of them fighting for months on end to capture and uh,
one hundred yards of farmland to move their trenches forward
and even more horribly. This whole escapade was engaged from the point,
just this delusional idealism about war. You just had these this romantic idea about how glorious it was going to
ok to go to war, and then they get there and they're just pulverized and people
draw the wrong lesson from this, and people draw the lesson that basically, this is what war always is right. It's it's always this.
Unless it's always this unnecessary, there's always a
kind of moral equivalence to both sides, whereas just sort of the needless sacrifice
with human life on both sides- and there are no bad guys really. So they
two moments in your podcast, with with Rogan that I just want to revisit, and I think we're gonna have to make a few passes on this. But before I am satisfied that we have form an exorcism on on the ghost of pacifism and
and cynicism. But at one point you talked about fighting for our freedom over there
and what I detect in Joes audience is just a
a tsunami of cynicism. On that point, like what the fuck are you talking about, you're, not fighting for
our freedom or anyone's freedom over there you this was a misbegotten war. It was born of our
as for oil. You know the Carlyle group pulled the strings and you know you went over there and you killed people for no reason- and this was just the the prosecution of at best selfish national interests where we
harm innocent people and- and you just spoke about the unavoidable of collateral damage- and that is a you know- an excruciating fact of war at this point and it's only becoming more excruciating infected, so excruciating were so
we're so aware of the costs of war, even though we conceal them from ourselves
that one wonders whether we are up to fighting certain necessary wars. Given those cause could we bombed?
As the now I mean I I you know, I think you can argue with the bombing of Dresden was not necessary to win world war two, but we did things in
fighting that necessary war, which now we would would find totally indefensible because we have so much more information. So fighting for our freedom is one concept that I want to talk
about, and there was another moment in Rogan's podcast, where he's where you talked about this shibboleth of liberal anti war speak, which is that you can't bomb an idea right, and you said one, I actually you can bomb, and I do
so. Let's talk about that for a moment, I think this notion of of you and our military fighting for freedom in Iraq can be defended,
even if you think the war in Iraq was on balance
absolutely unwise right that that it was the wrong word, a fight,
I think I think a case can be made that it was the wrong mortified. I would like to know what you think about that, but I think that, even if you were going to bracket the conversation by saying listen, we should never have
I'm into Iraq, given the outcome or given the misinformation,
or lies about WMD. Even in that context, you can argue
that you were fighting for freedom and that on the ground in Iraq, you were trying to make life better for Iraqis who didn't want to live in this
passing hell realm of civil war. So I just want to get your take on both these concepts of fighting for freedom,
perhaps even in a war that in hindsight doesn't look ideal and this notion of you just can't bomb an idea.
No war, is not the answer to ISIS or fascism, or anything else that ails us. As I talked about on on Joe Rogan being on the ground in Iraq with iraqi people, they wanted us to be there. They wanted us to help them and to provide them with security, and they want to live in peace and stability, and there is no doubt in my mind about that, and that is what we were doing there on the ground fighting to help the
people and in the beginning, it was obviously to get rid of Saddam Hussein and that regime, but by the time two thousand six rolled around now there was an insurgency in it. It was ISIS and they wanted to take control of Ramadi, and they actually had control of
Marty, but they were in slaving the people brutalizing them raping them, murdering them torturing
That is what was happening and we went in and stop that from happening and gave them back their freedom
didn't impose any government on them. We didn't take any oil from them. We gave them the opportunity for instability in there in that city and end in Iraq. So that is what we did yeah. Well, the one thing I would point out here is it
even if you think that we shouldn't have gone into Iraq, I'm on
record here, as as being neither for
or against the war. I've always said that I didn't know what I thought:
the war in Iraq, except for the fact that it looked like a dangerous distraction from the war in Afghanistan that we look like we could very well botch and that in retrospect,
looks like a disaster given the rise of ISIS and given the with the way we left, but even if you're, going to his
say that if you, if you're going to say with the benefit of hindsight, we should not have gone into Iraq, you are obliged to admit ethically how depressing a claim that is because what you're, claiming as we we had this Haas
situation, where Saddam Hussein is keeping a nation of thirty million people hostage to just a horrific totalitarian.
And what you're saying is that Iraq
He society was so fractured along with
just lines that it required. A dictator of this barbarity to keep the lid on the
Karen Civil war that then exploded when we took the lid off and left. That's a very depressing claim about that. The state of
religious sectarianism- and it certainly doesn't make the influence of
religious certainty on the ground. There look good one thing to interject on that is here. When you talk about the people of Iraq and how this sectarian violence was waiting to explode in, and you see that on tv some
times it's the equivalent of seeing a riot in America and thinking all that's what America is because
we'd, go do operations in Baghdad and and there's normal life happening that did not. Everyone is bent on this.
You know religious violence, they're, not they're normal, I shouldn't say normal, but there's people that they're focusing their life is not their religion. Their focus in life is
selling more cars or making more
bottles or doing whatever it is they're doing, raising their kids and getting to school and that's what their focus is. That's
the majority of Iraqis
it's very easy to lose sight of that when
What we see on the news is sectarian. Violence is one side of she Sheehan one side of Suni and how their clashing. That is what
what the normal average
Junie person is doing average Suny person in Ramadi is
in their store and put in New
product up on the shelves and fixing
the cars that they're working on that is what is happening in Iraq and we so often lose
right of that that Iraq,
is not the
the small percentage of people that are fully in gay
reached in this sort of political
or religious strife. The vast
people are people like in America where,
if you go down main street USA, what are they doing?
They're living their life there trying to pursue happiness? That's that's what that's what I read
is an unfortunately what we see,
that's! What all of Iraq is, what we see is a bunch of people bent on violence
and that is not what Iraq is. I'm glad you said that, because that even makes this is it.
Mission even more excruciating it's worth pointing, as is so. You have people totally normal
people who really do just want to live free and self actualized lives there, not looking to stone people to death for
will teryan they're, not looking to wage jihad against apostates within their own society or export their jihad to the rest of the world, and so you're talking about people
just like you and main who, by dint of
just sheer bad luck. They've been born
into a society where their intellect
interests and their desire for freedom are just smashed at every
turn by one, the dictator, who is keeping a lid on sectarian violence and two that
turn violence. That is ready to rise up and destroy everything. So then, you're saying that we see whether we as America are we as the rest of the civilized world, can't go in there and offer any help to these people and that it that in retrospect, it
looks like the wrong thing to have attempted it. So that is I a if you're going to be critical of the war in Iraq. You have to just own the fact that
yes, you're, saying that these are hostage crisis is for which we don't
have a remedy.
Some people are unlucky, you're unlucky, to be a girl born in Afghanistan, but I, as a peacenik, am in principle against
Anyone trying to come in and rescue you because of the cost because of collateral damage, and I think it makes you no collateral damage is such an ugly fact on every level. It's just.
It's it's! It's ugly, that it's impossible to wage war in such a way so as to not kill innocent people, and it's totally under
standable that it produces more enemies for us on some level.
I don't know what the rates of that conversion are, but it wouldn't be a surprise if
you know you are an ordinary iraqi or an ordinary pakistani, and you just had to have
family blown up by in a drone strike that that would make you in some basic sense, irretrievably at odds with them.
Who did that to you whether or not you had any sympathy for jihadism, so talk a little bit more about
collateral damage, and I mean how you think of,
but in terms of the legitimacy of trying to
good with force in the world, given that it it's, you really can't avoid collateral damage. You can't completely avoid collateral damage, but I'll tell you what America goes through extreme lengths to absolutely minimise collateral damage. The the the amount of risk that gets taken by american forces to avoid collateral damage is immense and they avoid it on a regular basis. I mean we don't carpet bombing, we don't do Dresden anymore. We don't do that to get bombs. Dropped in the city of Ramadi was an extremely difficult task to get done because of the the threat of collateral damage to the
spite being fired on from a building. You know where this these enemy are and there are inflicting damage and killing people, but yet there's unknown areas around it. So there were not going to drop a bomb on it. We do that all the time we are very, very judicious in the way we execute operations. Now, that being said, because wars imperfect there are situations where innocent people died. Yes, that does happen and it's awful and it's horrible and
you know this. I do that now, we've created even more terrorists, I think is I I don't think that's. I think that's a it's it's it's a case that could be made, but it's not the one hundred percent and you don't for every innocent person that dies, but you go and you do you know we. We actually approach those families and we don't explain to them what happened and we
give them money and we try and help them rebuild whatever went wrong. That is what America does we make. These mistakes are, so I think we just kill these people in there and and that's it. No, we go
so in in trying repair the damage is much weekend. Of course, we can't bring back loved ones, but we
try to make this up and explain the situation and so not
There's not a one hundred percent conversion rate of you killed my brother by accident. While we were being you know,
terrorized by ISIS and in the crossfire my brother got killed and I think it came from America and now therefore, I'm going to wage jihad.
In America. That's not that's, not a one hundred percent conversion rate. In fact, I would tell you that it's probably a much lower conversion rate than you would think these people are at war.
I've been at war, they understand what war is. They know that war is in perfect but ISIS
and even come back and make those apologies. They don't come back and say we're sorry. They don't come back and say: let us rebuild your house. Let us give you for some financial support for the sun that you lost. Two is providing this income, your family, that's fine! Let us take care, you ISIS doesn't do that. I just call
this is collateral damage all over the place, and so
I think it's a little bit of a of a stretch.
I think there is this one hundred percent conversion rate, and I think that the conversion rate is
actually small enough that it makes it it's hard to say it's worth it, but we take calculated risks with collateral damage and we have to otherwise. We can't do anything. You cannot
You cannot execute a war with zero risk of collateral damage. It cannot happen, I would love for it to happen, but it-
not happen. So, therefore, you have to mitigate the risk as much as possible and go forward. That's the way it works,
and it just seems to me that when you're talking about situations of moral emergency of this sort- so you have ISIS
raping women by the 10s of thousands and crucifying children. An
burying people alive. This goes to the issue of of moral equivalence or the lack thereof, and the people imagine
that we are no better than our enemies in this case. Even in this case, I mean
and in some sense people I confront people who think were worse than our enemies, because we made them right. We created ISIS because we went into Iraq.
The fund Al Qaeda against the Soviets right so that somehow this car
this is them to lose sight of the very different human project.
So we have advertised here and again. This comes down to human intentions. So what kind of world do you want to build is if I gave you a magic wand and you could just cream
get the world as you saw fit. I have
no doubt that you would create a just abundance
everywhere for everybody right so there'd, be there'd, be a Starbucks on every corner and there would be a Jiu Jitsu school on every corner and people would just be able to live out their dreams, and I
to do that and the people who got us
into these various wars, many of
we have been demonized to an extraordinary degree and many of whom, who I share very few political principles. We,
you know someone like Dick Cheney right. I think, if you gave him a magic wand, he would not cry
get a hell realm for people in the Middle EAST. He would make the Middle EAST more or less like Nebraska or Florida, and you ask yourself what would Abu Bucker Outback daddy do with a magic wand? He is telling us what he would do with every fucking video they're, making no secret of the vision of life that
they are aspiring to. And again it's important to point this out.
There is no moral equivalence here that kinds of just rapacious eve.
Well, you see in an isis. Video is not an accident, it's not
aberration of their program, it's not their version of the meal. I massacre is not the thing that they have to go back and
apologize to their society for and say I don't know how we did this, but we were pushed into extremists and there's a lot of
will searching necessary. No, no every journalist put in an orange jumpsuit and murdered is a absolutely fine.
Point on a vision of life that they're not keeping secret. In fact, this is part of their recruitment material. This is pr for them,
This is what they think when in fact, no will successfully bring
like minded people to their shores, to fight alongside them. And again this is
a minority of the Muslims.
Unity worldwide. This is not synonymous with Islam, but this is a global jihadist insurgency that work in front and in many places
I just I guess I want to just linger for a moment
on again. This is a quote from your interview with Joe this notion of you can't bomb an idea so like if you can't bomb this idea out of them by definition, force is not the appropriate response to ISIS, because ISIS is an idea, would have to say to that. Good luck set up a series of debates with ISIS and try and use our logic to defeat them. Is that the other proposal? What is the? What is the alternative? There's an assumption that I,
this is the hardest example to absorb by this line of thinking. But, generally speaking, people think that our own selfish behavior on the world stage, our own unapologetic theft of or just com,
during of resources, has created people with quote legitimate grievances all over the world, especially in
muslim world. Now and ISIS is on some level an expression of those
gentlemen grievances, and if we were better actors, if we were more apologetic, if we shared more wealth more of the time,
if we just got out of Muslim lands entirely right. If we were not protecting the Saudis, we were not over there. In any sense, if we just kept our culture to ourselves, then we would do
cover that everyone wants the same thing out of life on some level and that the that this violence would not would no longer be directed at us. We have created this because we are in some sense, may let you literally people say and the the? U S is the greatest terrorist organization and world history again. This is like this is. This is the center of Joe's demographic Cummins. This is the kind of thing I get thrown at me whenever I talk to him on his podcast.
This is what Noam Chomsky has done to the human mind at the global scale, so
The thing I wanted to bring you back to is this notion that you can't bomb an idea. As you pointed out with Joe
Nazism, was an idea. Slavery was
idea in the United States held to tenaciously that the military nationalism, Japan was it an idea
after those wars which were, as you point out,
I mean on a scale that now we can't even contemplate right. I am probably shouldn't contemplate.
Germany and Japan are friends right. I mean the idea of Nazism was successfully bombed out of Germany. Yes, and let's not forget that both the Imperial Japan and Germany would never have stopped their drive to take over the entire world, they didn't have a border that they're going to they're going for world domination, so yeah we had to stop and there was only one way that they're going to be stopped, and that is to the
use of force and violence. The other thing to point out there is that you can see our intentions are fundamentally but nine
intentions for the world and even for our enemies in the aftermath of those wars.
So what do we do to Germany and Japan? Did we just go in and start raping people and steal their land and rebuild lame into financial superpowers? We wanted peace,
full collaborators economically and culture
play and there's no question, that's what we
and in the Middle EAST too. So let's just zero on the notion of pacifism here, because I find it very frustrating to encounter pacifism in these kinds of conversations,
many people seem to think that it's a morally impregnable position. It may not be practical, but if you're, a pacifist of you say, listen, I'm just against the use of force
against violence. You know I would never want to kill someone, and I would never want to delegate the killing of anyone to anyone. So
I'm not get my hands dirty. Look at that position.
They think. Well. That is again, it's probably good that we have
like Jocko and not. Everyone is like Gandhi, but I can't see anything
not about the pacifist. It's essentially
vegetarianism across the board, but
let's drill down on what on the ethical implications of pacifism. Because from my point of you pass
this I'm is sin,
hopefully a willingness to. Let
there's die at the pleasure of the world thugs and
it's worth remembering what Gandhi's
remedy was for the holocaust. Gandhi suggested that the Jews
just have gone willingly into the gas chambers so
as to arouse the conscience of the world to the enormity of Hitler's crimes. But then you have to ask: what is the
world supposed to do once it's conscience has been aroused if the world is filled with gandhian pacifists,
gandhian passivism only works in the presence of an enemy that has enough of a conscience like the british empire at that point
that they will just say. You know this is too much trouble and we're starting to feel bad about ourselves. So we're going to leave India to you pacifist, that's not what the Nazis were up to and that's not what ISIS is up to
affirmative you're right. That there's seems very clear to me. I don't even have any question
to what you just said. It's been a while, since you worried about whether or not you should be a pacifist, it I mean other people that have legitimate arguments with you about this yeah. For instance, I I've written some on the ethics of torture and folk
sit down to the cases where you have everything is on
continuum and your tortures on a continuum, and I think torture should be illegal. But I think there are cases where clearly making someone
deliberately uncomfortable is the F
cool thing to do and you would have to
a moral monster not to do it in those cases. If you're going to say no, no, I'm not going to get my hands dirty e
and if I know I'm in the presence of a serial killer, who's got my daughter in a box somewhere and he's not telling me where an and AL
is cases like that have actually happened right this one case in in
in the Stanford Encyclopedia philosophy, which I keep going back to the case in New Zealand, where there was a carjacking and so a guy
steals or a woman's car at a gas station. And it's
no, it's one hundred degrees out and he disappears and he then gets caught without the car and
that they know that there is a baby in a car seat in the back of the car on this,
altering day who's quickly being asphyxiated in the back of the car and this person isn't telling the cops were heels.
The car he's he's claiming innocence. Now it just so happens. He's like up three
per pound samoan guy with a blonde afro is like the most recognizable person in the world and they have security, camera video of him taking the car right. So they know they have the right guy and he's not cooperating. So then the
smack him around, and he quickly tells him where the car is in the kids saved right that such a pristine case where the ethics are clear, an
You know, I will happily admit that the moment you started smacking, someone around you are beginning to torture them, but I
we've been dialogue with people, people an in a situation like this on a podcast where the person will say no. No, no. I would not be able to lay a hand on that guy and I would hope nobody would
right or if they did. I wouldn't want to know about it.
You know. Then you make even clearer cases and I've had people tell me that you could put one thousand girls
created in a warehouse somewhere by an evil genius, and I would not sanction the torture of this person
Waterboarding of this person or the the prolonged
sleep deprivation of this person and again my argument with respect to
which is not that it should be legal. I just think there are clearly cases where you would
have to be a monster not to break the law when push comes to shove,
that if you did break the law in those cases no one's going to prosecute you 'cause. You believe yourself to be in a pristine, ticking bomb case, or you know so you know you've got,
the person who you know had nukes and because you've got his laptop too, and you know he he even claims that there's a bomb taking in time square, whatever people are acting like that, there's nothing like these cases. That would ever happen. But worse, I meet people who say that even in the presence of such a clear
is they think that the the morally enlightened position is never
to make another person deliberately uncomfortable, no matter how diabolical even he thinks he is so. Yes, that's how steep decline is on the the mountain of masochism? That's very strange to me. You know I guess in the seal community you get used to people having at least somewhat of the same similar viewpoint. Maybe on different ends of within some kind of a spectrum, but here you take a little girl and her in danger and give me some person that knows where she is, and we can save her from his knowledge. That guy would definitely give information- and you know smacking him around
which is begin warmed up. In my opinion, it's so taboo even broach this topic right, a missile at France's what you just said right. I give your PA
politician running for president. The
only admissible position is
put up a wall of sanctimony here, which is like we don't torture. You know this is against our values that
maybe a fine holding pattern for if we're going to talk about laws, but it doesn't,
an insight into the ethical imperatives when you're talking about dealing with the use of force, and
the fact that that something very much like good and evil is appearing in our world
I think the words good and evil are too simplistic. You know the case can be
paid. You know biologically there too simplistic, but for all
ten purposes there are some eve,
more people in the world and, worse from my point of view,
ideas that make even psychologically normal even good people evil in this.
So I'm under no illusions that all members of ISIS are psychopaths. I think there are
psychologically normal members of ISIS who are just convinced that their worldview is correct. There convinced that the prophecies they expect to be true or true, and they are convinced that
creator of the universe has dictated a single book and and the jihad until
all of humanity bows than
need to that book is incumbent upon every muslim male. I just read on the scene
then website last night that a member of ISIS, reportedly decap
hated his own mother as an apostate, I suppose I could have been a psychopath, but he also could have been someone who was just apps
totally convinced of the reality of paradise and the necessity of doing God's will, and that God's will is this way. So I
actually what more worried about bad ideas. I am about bad people and maybe you're not in a good position to be in touch with it, but I think there's a lot. There's a level of cynicism and moral for t e n are so
largely in response to our recent wars that
I worry that perhaps we fought some not
entirely necessary wars or fought them in
such a way that now we're not in a position to actually recognize necessary wars. Do we have a kind of new
Vietnam Syndrome now that we're dealing with, and how do you view our current attitude politically toward the use of force I'll give you one more example
negotiation of the treaty with IRAN? It seems pretty clear that it was
obvious to everyone, especially the Iranians, that the use of force was not on the table. I'm as we said, everything is on the table, but it was more less transparent to them that there is no political will at all
all in american society to fight a war with IRAN more less under any circumstances. So we can say
everything is on the table, but- and I'm not saying we should. I think we should fight a war with IRAN. I'm just saying that we are so fatigued now, and so
self doubting on this front that it seems like
we can't even make a credible threat of the
force, because everyone knows we are going to avoid war at all costs. At this point the I to this probably pretty accurate statement, and I think that IRAN knows that and knew that it not to go she ation situation and had they had a different view. Point day were bored probably of a different attitude. There's no doubt that the threat of violence is a real thing that needs to be present in
some of these negotiations in a situation like that, when you're dealing with a a nation state that obviously has some pretty aggressive views about their position in the world, so I think there's no doubt about it. I think, if you don't, I do something to talk about on Rogan I mean you go far enough into the
american bubble, where the closest thing you get to understand
what violence is. Is hearing SAM Harris
talk about it on a podcast through your Iphone, I mean that that is legitimately the closest thing to violence. That many people have is, you know, is listening to it. Listening to a guy talk about it on Itunes, podcast. So when you, when you're that disconnect
from it, it can be very easy to say: look. Why would we have any violence at all? You know we just need to stop that
and I think that's again why people have
serve in the military that have
gone overseas and that have actually with our own eyes scene and looked into the face of evil and understand it. That's why
we look at the world and say: yes, you do need to use violence against evil in many cases, and I have seen evil people, I have seen them
It's it's it's almost. I remember the first time I experienced it was my first deployment to Iraq and we went capture these bad guy
as and it was actually a mixture of people. So there's some bad guys in some, not bad guys, but it was. It was in uh.
Hotel situation, so we just grab all the
military age males and then we went and sorted him out and figure out who's who and let the innocent people go. But there was
a guy and we knew his name, but we didn't know what he looked like
But as soon as I saw this one guy, who was you know, murder of
in a sense- and he was just an evil person, but as soon as I saw, this guy didn't know who he was, but I looked
this guy and I said that is an evil human being right there. Never even
person like this I've never seen a person. I've never seen that. Look in someone's eyes an sure enough as
interpret came in our iraqi counterparts came in and started talking to him, they figured out who this guy was, and he was flown fighter and he was an evil person.
And you could see that you could feel it. You could
do it and then in Ramadi same thing now we were dealing with. We were seeing bodies in the street people skinned alive, peoples, heads
the for the father of a family's head being left on the doorstep of the home. That's evil the end. That is a real thing. It is a real thing. Evil is a real thing and it cannot be stopped through debate. It cannot be stopped through charity. It cannot be stopped through hugs. These are truly evil. People
have to be stopped with violence. It becomes especially clear to me there's an ethical asymmetry between
two sides in this war on the topic of human shields. So, for instance, there are people in this world
who use human shields and their people in this world who are deterred by the use of human shields, and I think that is the greatest.
Ethical disparity I have ever come across
and what's amazing I mean the level of cynicism on the side of those using human shields is worth contemplating because he
do. You have people who know they're fighting an enemy that will be deterred by the use of human shields right. So
I'm going to fight behind kids or I'm going to put
my missiles next to a hospital, knowing that
my enemy will be deterred to whatever degree. By my doing that, the U
Human shields are in. A variety of conflicts has been widely reported.
Is that something that you, as a soldier ever witnessed first hand?
I had my snipers, kill, guys that were holding kids and caring machine guns and holding kids to protect themselves. No doubt about
so you using kids as body armor using kids body armor and by the way, kids Loca,
kids from Ramadi that have a parent and a mom screaming stop help.
Never and here's this insurgent. You know grabs kid, pick some up to try and get across the street with a machine gun 'cause. He figures he can protect himself. Of course, we have good snipers, like I mentioned earlier, to kill these guys but yeah,
They do that, there's no doubt about it, and that is that is again another case of evil, just pure evil, yeah yeah and then
also good to think about it from the other side. So just imagine how fatuous it would be
to attempt to use human shields against an enemy like ISIS.
So like against the enemy that doesn't care about how much collateral damage it causes. If you want to map the distance, but
Queen are ethical norms and just the psi,
the logical reality of what it's like to be us. You have to wonder who, who
would we behave if ISIS
strong enough to invade California, like what would we start to do
right so ISIS shows up in California flying their black flag and we are resisting. Are we
start using human shields? I'm going to
grab my neighbors daughter and start shooting over her shoulder at ISIS when one? That's just truly,
morally unthinkable from my point of view, but two.
It is also unthinkable that ISIS would be deterred if they don't care it crystallizes the problem
story. You have in your book that I I want to ask you about, because I again, I think, will puncture some illusions about just what it was like to be you over there and again. This is
this is true, whatever one thinks about the legitimacy of the whole war in Iraq. You
the story of an actual hostage rescue. Where
your seal team, along with iraqi fighters working in concert with you, go to
rescue a single iraqi teenage hostage and
under some significant threat that men
because of your team are going to suffer casualties if not be killed in the process and your
cold as you're, more or less walking out the door
Where you received more intelligence that there's very likely an ied in the front yard of this building and there's a bunker
mean gun position in the building, and so there's every reason to expect
your lives are on the line going to get an array,
Jackie, a single iraqi hostage. I think most people would be very
prize to learn the sheer fact of such an operation that you would be going. There would you'd be putting their lives on the line to get in
Jackie hostage. I don't think they'd be surprised to know that you do it for you
blond, hair, Jessica Lynch, and so she can wind up on Fox NEWS, and we can congratulate ourselves that are seals are so good. But
the idea that you would do it for a sing
iraqi hostage will surprise people, it's unfortunate, that it surprises people kind of shows you what peoples mentality is, if that's what they are, if they're surprised by the fact that the american troops are over there and there's a kid that has been kidnapped, taken from the city of Falluja brought to the city of Ramadi held by
these known terrorist insurgents and that when this, because what happened was the mom went to the gate of the american com,
evolution said hey, my son has been kidnapped. Left me this note. I don't know what to do. They gave me this phone number out and help me. Can you help me and of course that's what we do
you know, that's what that's what we do! We help people an in this case. We rescued this kid,
and also there's always a threat. There's
if you're going to only go on missions where there's no threat, you're not going on any missions so you're, all
who is weighing what the threat is
mitigating that mitigating as much as possible. There was
So you know some strategic value to helping this kid get rescued, because
the army force that we were working with was predominantly shia.
They were rescuing assuming kid and they knew that and we knew that and they put it in the local paper. So there was you know.
Strategic reasons that also
just to do it, but
the main reason we did it was because there was a young iraqi kid who had been kidnapped by two:
tourists and was they were saying, they're going be Adam him and his mom wanted help, and we gave it to him, and I don't I'm disappointed to hear that people would be surprised by that.
Yeah yeah. Have you read the comments? I actually haven't read the comments on your interview, and maybe you were immune to it, but I hesitate to recommend that you do this. But if you read the comments on a like a a youtube, video associate
a Rogan podcast. Certainly when I'm on
I'm I'm not a masochist, so I only did this once and I've never gone back, but is
it's amazing? The that the moral intuitions you see on display around here that basically everything we do is just the certainly on the world stage, as a mat matter of foreign policy is just a cyst stained rapacious wanton theft of the
worlds resources and opportunity, and we just steamroll over the dreams of innocent people everywhere and again I mean this. Is I'm quoting critics of mind that
US is the worst terrorist organization in human history. Rogan's got guests
as much as in the comments he has his guests on his show who, who will say these things I I would almost question whether they could ask
we truly believe that I mean? Are they I mean if you have any kind of recognition or awareness of the world
in any way I mean. How could you come to that conclusion? It's it's an illogical conclusion,
be aware of the entire world and what the world is actually like and come to that conclusion, but that's not what's possible. No with their conclusion is, is rather often based on body can
want, for instance, so there has been widely reported that some honey
use of thousands of people and the some of that some of these reports
up to you know two million people is the highest report. I've seen have
died as a result of our adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. So
I don't know how many people do you think have died.
The number of people who have died
not the same as the number of people we killed, but
do you know how many people are thought to have died? As result,
of are going into a rat, let's just take a rack separate from Afghanistan are going into Iraq and the results
do. I know how many people were killed in Iraq.
The calculation is there's an ambient level of death in Sodam Hussein
and then we go in there for a period of years and the death rate goes up and you can so these people obviously blame us entirely for the death rate going
so we are blamed for all the sectarian violence. The death rate goes up
to the tune of how many more dead than would be expected. If we hadn't gone in, that's that's the
the body count and that that has been estimated at one hundred thousand. It's been estimated at two hundred thousand been estimated at two million, and I think those higher numbers are rather OB
basically politicized and untrustworthy, but uh
No, I don't know what number I mean again, all all this data so politicized it's hard to know what to trust, but there's some number there
yeah a war happen that would have otherwise happened right so yeah that those those numbers are the two million numbers just no, not even close
you know in Ramadi, which was about four Mahdi, which was by far the most violent and crazy fighting that was happening in Iraq and
you know in the months that we were there for six months there was probably a total of maybe two or three thousand people killed,
including armed insurgents. So
and this is in the epicenter of the insurgency
so to somehow extrapolate that out to you know, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people is
accurate and whatever the number is, I would say just that you have to distinguish between people we killed and the effort we took not to create collateral damage and
boiling sectarian civil war that we failed to control or could not have controlled. But you could
yeah. We should have anticipated it. We should have done more to control it perhaps, but it you can't hold us responsible for
Alicia is object in their Sony, neighbors and drilling holes in their heads. At me, this is that's not something we did war, nor would we have sanctioned it the issue by
body count as a metric of evil is often the problem here or just as a metric of the size of a
so, for instance, a friend of mine, I'll give you two examples here, so so Bill Maher who's
So he he wants, gave an analogy to Hurricane Katrina says: Hurricane Katrina rolls through kills a thousand people
billions of dollars in damage and we just clean up and rebuild and move on. But if terrorists had done that
terrorists had gone in and killed one thousand people in a day and caused billions in damage. We would
quote overreact, we would then
will find another another war and spend another trillion dollars to go after the people. Who did this
the argument there is that
respond. The way we would to hurricane Katrina and a friend Lawrence Krauss, a physicist, just
They just read an article in the new Yorker for which he's gotten a lot of flak, some of which is certainly unfair.
More or less making the same argument that when you look at the problem of terrorism from the point of view of body count the point of view of the numbers of people,
killed the numbers of Americans killed.
It's a rounding error on all kinds of other.
As we have that we just accept as just the cost of doing business. So you just look at gun violence, so we've got
Thirty thousand people dying every year from guns, two slash three of them are suicides, but fully ten
in twelve thousand or murders reliably every year, and this is a success story. Murder has come down by fifty percent in the last twenty years, and
we've only had you know some few that if you even if you count September eleventh, we've had some few thousand people killed directly by terrorism and he's pointed out that in Paris during the recent attacks, if you extrapolate just
how much more dangerous that those attacks made life in Paris it more or less
date on an annual basis. It made Paris like New York and New York is is considered one of the safest cities in the world now, but I would argue that Bob.
Account really is the wrong metric here. For a few reasons, one is
I think the over reaction that we have to terror
is in some basic sense
available and needs to be priced in to the problem. For instance, if you're,
I think about a new act of terrorism,
the scale of September 11th.
It's wrong to think about the cost of that as merely three
one thousand lives that we should shrug off and
If we had another September 11th now we have
think of the real cost of that which is a globally destabilizing. An act of terror. Is that the Serbs, economically, the cost of it, is immense and when you think of a an active to
There are of the sort that our enemies are aspiring to cause an order of magnitude larger than September 11th, or something that included a dirty bomb that rendered you know, part of Manhattan uninhabitable for decades. You're talking about just history,
be distorting event that can't be captured by body count because twenty
one thousand people dead. That's not that many people we shrug that off every year, just with highway fatalities, so all bodies are not equivalent, and yet the people who are trying to talk about
terrorism as really being in a very low order problem are just looking at the body count. One hundred
people die every year because they get infected by you know: doctors and nurses not washing their hands properly much bigger problem than global jihadism.
I mean- I don't know if you have any thoughts on that topic, but that's where people are get how people are arriving at this kind of position which
This is not even something we need to worry about, because we're talking about very few people dead from terrorism and let's keep it that way, because the thing is
with it with a terrorist attack and with terrorism and with Globe
is. This is a
it's not a static entity. That is
happens one time and doesn't happen again. It is a moving and growing
cancer in the more we allow it to grow and move the broader, the attacks will come and the more people will die. So a hurricane is an event. That is,
a one time event that is unrelated to the next hurricane, you know other than that they're both hurricanes, but terrorists
facts are something that are going to grow. If you don't do something to stop it, so it's kind of a silly argument. In my opinion, this is a
if we let this phenomenon continue to grow, it will get worse. So we need to stop it. While we can.
Yeah and in the case of ISIS, what do you think stopping? It would look like I don't know if you're you've read some of this material but-
is a very famous now article in the Atlantic, magazine written by Graham, would who I interviewed on my blog after he publishes article, and he
really got into the details of the islamic prophecy that ISIS is committed to and is no. This is not even most you hot or not necessarily thinking in terms of this particular prophecy, but ice is, is in
saturated with this idea that there will be a final battle in CAN in Syria and that you know the forces of the antichrist that is us will show up.
And there will be a battle that will
decimate. Most of the jihadis will just be a final remnant of jihadis who will be there to prison.
It over the return of Jesus when he preaches Islam and you notice that the final sorting out of all the the moral accounts of the universe, but they are expecting to fight us there and
two largely lose right and in terms of body count, I just.
I wonder why everyone seems to think that would be a terrible idea to conform to this prophecy and just say: let
Actually, we are going to come to topic and we're going to fight you there and
don't stop us we're just going to spread a lot of
gay porn all over the place and because,
like we are the antichrist, what would solve in
problem of ISIS? Look like from your point of view. What do you? What do you think we should do destroy the but the fear clear,
really is that having us
sorry, international, just non muslim troops? Lee
lead the way in any significant way me that now I just do what we do. We've done previously in Iraq and Afghanistan is so inflammatory, culturally and religiously. That it
that. It does the messaging of ISIS for it. Now we've got more infidels on the ground in muslim lands. You know that
to be an Arribe Suni Force, leading the way that I think that's that's an ideal way and if you look at which took place in ramadi- and I think that's the model that they're going to use in Missoula and I think that's the the model they're going to carry across the ISIS.
Controlled areas that was iraqi, so
orders then took back ramati and they used american air.
Sort, of course, and they used american training, but those
iraqi soldiers on the ground. And yes, it is much more pop-
We have to have them go in and do it and they were with us in Ramadi. Would we, when we took of the first time we
played a much larger role as Americans. Then what happened this last time,
but nonetheless yeah you need to help them and encourage those activities to happen
in order to
hi Sis and destroy them. And of course, it's
it's much better if the I,
after using the Syrians and the George
me and whoever else is going to is going to help out going and take care of the problem. Of course, that's that's outstanding. That's that means american kids don't get killed. Do you think that
just turning on that particular point, I think that's going to happen if I, if you had to predict ten years from now, we're going to be talking about ISIS have
ingrown having not been defeated, or do you think there will be an engagement? I think I think that I'd
is turning right. Now I think there is. It were in a slow, steady beginning to take. Them
now it will take many years, but it's ok
is going to be like a siege warfare, modern day, siege warfare, which I was pretty impressed with in Ramadi they serve
under the city, they cut off supplies and this is what's really nice
about the situation. Is there in Iraq? So it's not a quote on.
Occupying force. These are iraqi people that are going in into their city
rounding it doing siege warfare they're going to do something similar up in Missoula? I think that's! The new and they'll just continue to do that until they've cleaned him out
Is it mostly Shia
forces doing it or if they managed to recruit mostly Suni forces, or is it just kind of a random mix? Actually, interestingly- and I
this is my assessment, so please don't take literally as fact, warmer
SAM, giving you an assessment from what I've seen on the news and some of what I've heard is that the groups that they put in the lead were mixed groups and we, which is, which is great so, for instance, there's a group
of special, specially trained iraqi soldiers there like a counter
force but they're of
Kurds there soon as their share. There are a mixed group and they had
A very significant role- and obviously that was the intent was to get- was to get a a mixed group
to go in there and that's an ideal way to do it. I think they did an excellent job yeah. The background can
turn here is something that I've now
all the narative narative there's this statement went off, and here is that you don't want to confirm the narative of ISIS, which is you don't want there to be any perception that the
best is at war with Islam. So if you do anything
seems to align with that perception, or they can be spun to as to confirm that perception
then you're doing the work of ISIS is recruitment for them. From my
don't do that either a totally paranoid concern that we don't need to have or it's true those are too varied,
print scenarios, I wish it under which you figure out, which, which we think is, is real there. The back
concern is, if you can,
confirm the narrative,
then many many more
millions or even 10s, of millions of people who would otherwise have no sympathy for ISIS will suddenly
be driven into the arms of the jihadists, because you
confirmed an error. If you said the wrong thing about Islam on television, there were too many infidels
on the ground, an not enough Sounis in one of these engagements, whatever it is
and I'm wondering I just wonder what your perception is of that fear, because that really I I do perceive that as being a major reason why we can't politically simply say that ISIS has to be defeated and we are
going to do that and here's how we're going to do that. We we either have to put
and that someone else is going to do it and that we are not involved or covertly involved, but
and we're really very sheepish about recognizing how awful this group is and
how obvious it is that there's no talking to them and their zone
a military solution and that it would be pure compassion with respect to the people who are being victimized by this group that we that we offer that solution. I think it's just a reality. America needs to take a
principled leadership role in saying: hey: look. We will support these operations, will take the lead if necessary. We are. We are here one hundred percent to support destroying ISIS, and we will help you guys and then we help him and I think that's what we
done. I think I think that's what happened in Ramadi, I think, will continue to see that there may be some tough fighting. Don't get me wrong, there's going to be some brutal fighting
with the will once again is going to be tested of the iraqi soldiers. It definitely helps having your big brother there. I
cannot emphasize enough how important it is
to those soldiers on the ground, those iraqi soldiers on the ground to know that their big brother America will help them
if they need it, and that is the difference between eighteen thousand
soldiers fleeing in the face of four hundred ISIS and eighteen thousand soldier
lock and load in their weapons, an stepping up the battle
to crush ISIS. That's a real thing, so we do
to be delicate. I mean this is this. Is this is politics? This is interacting with other countries, we have to be delicate, we have to be small,
but we have to provide the support. The motivation, the leadership, the vision,
these these nations that are in this terrible situation of a hostage situation as you called it. So to what degree
are we doing that? How many thousand troops do we actually have
there, and what do you think we actually should have their? I think there's something around three: thirty, five hundred american troops on the ground. I think he you you, you provide the troops that it takes to win.
And another thing that I say all the time as, if you're going to go to war, you go to war to win. Now again, I think the Iraq
these when they know their big brothers with them they're going to be much more brave
there's no doubt about it, they're going to be more brave, with their big brother there and
and he's going to help them immensely and not to mention air power. We have an awesome airpower
and air power in a war like this is a incredible advantage. It's just an absolutely incredible advantage, so
we're going to support them with their power, we will support them on the ground is needed. We put what troops on the ground it takes. You know these
Where do you position? These are things that you that
I think I said this on the Rogan show as well. You take a two
year marine officer, and you say alright buddy, you said
here with this battle map and plan out how to get this done right there to get it done. This is not the most,
complicated thing in the world. There are complexities, understood, dark,
Plex cities inherent in it, but
the solution is not complex. It
relatively simple military operations. That is what the military does that that is. This is what
the military does we go into places we partner with
host nations. We train them how to fight we supply them with equipment. We provide them with logistics, we provide them with their power. We help train it
advise them bring them out on the battlefield and help them with this is is a normal thing for America to do, and when we get done with that, we
help stabilize. We like we did with Japan like we did with Germany.
We still, we stabilize them. We help them rebuild, get them back on their feet, and that is then, but then how
Do you view the political will to solve this rather straightforward problem?
I think, as long again as long as we are judicious in the use of american force and and the use of american blood
and we're smart. I think that we
I think I hope that we have the will to do what's right, which is provide the support and provide the leadership, provide. The vision provide the air
provide the troops on the ground if needed, which again with big brother supporting you. You have a lot more
and I think that is going to be immensely helpful. I think it was immensely helpful in Ramadi and by the way that the folks on the ground it in Iraq right now.
From an american leadership perspective are outstanding, I mean outs,
standing individuals, I'm talking
the american commanders on the ground. I know several of them personally, they are the.
Best. The smartest these p
will understand the culture, the war,
I understand this stuff at a level that nobody in am
american and american media, not no one. No one understands that some
these guys have been on the ground were there in the fights before these.
These are incredibly smart
But then how do you view our withdrawal, because all the
happening on the back of our withdrawal from Afghanistan and our withdrawal
a much advertised withdraw
from Iraq and it just seems
we're getting dragged
back into Iraq despite our best eh.
Is to stay out of it and the three thousand five hundred,
so we have there now are just this again
I have no information. I just omit consumer of the news here, but the public purse
mission that I have of this is just that it is a kind of peace,
we'll effort, it's not it's, not a principled. Five hundred.
This is exactly what we need to get the job done. It's just we gotta put,
something in there we're going to do the best we can but listen at all costs. Present Obama has to be able to look at the american public in the eye and say we were getting out of APP
I understand we already got out of Iraq
is going to be no more wars, and I think that is the attitude that that's the Descrip
vision of what the world is going to be like going forward from an american foreign policy point of view that many many millions of Americans insist has to be the case. So there's just the appetite for
another two hundred thousand troops going anywhere is, it seems to me
nonexistent. I would agree with that. I would say you know you about the withdrawal. I think it's hindsight is twenty twenty
in addition to Hindsight being two thousand and twenty,
commanders on the ground when we left Iraq said don't leave Iraq right now. That was that was clear. Everybody,
it was ever in Iraq NEWS,
but it was not ready. Yet the security
horses were not ready yet to handle security in their own country, so they needed.
Big brother to stick around longer until they were ready and we Didn'T-
and it took some time when we left, but once we left it happened and we all knew it was going to happen.
So this time, let's be smarter about when we decide to leave
You know, maybe we have bases there. Maybe we don't.
We make sure that their the iraqi people can handle security in their own country and once they can do that, then we can leave if we
too, but let's make sure we get there, that that's just a logical.
Thing to do. Why do you think we failed to heed that warning,
unless this impossible to learn. No, I think it's a very clear lesson. That's very simple: to learn! You make sure that the country
that you go into to try and stabilize and free the people once you've rid
the bad guys. Now you need to make
you stay there long enough enough? The bad guys just don't come back. It's it's a fire. It's a it's a little embers in a forest fire. You have to complete
Lee extinguish them and then one
to extinguish them? You have to put sand on top of him and then once you put sand,
on top of him, you've got to make sure that there's new trees plant
that are going to be fresh and green and not dry and then once those are
did in growing, and now you can say you know what this is completely stabilized. There won't be any more fires here now we can go. We didn't do that we kind of put out the fire and left in those embers
just very quickly reignited. It wasn't that quick, but they reignited the Iraqis.
Pretty forces were not ready yet to handle the situation, and that's
That was a uh, a big mistake. Would you describe
can you stand the same layers or any important difference between the two similar?
It's a similar situation. We have to be very cautious,
cautious, you can't you have to make sure that the job is complete and that just takes time it does.
You know the amount of effort that you're putting into
situation goes down dramatically as time goes on, but but it does take time
and you need to leave your troops in in position
where they can provide support if needed, to the locals on the ground
and what you're doing and doing that is you're preventing, what's happened in Iraq and what could happen in Afghanistan and again there
as an american servicemen that served overseas
as someone that lost my friends in combat, I am now
a person that is jumping up and down and saying: let's go to war all the time
and that is not what most military guys and girls have. The attitude of
we're the ones are, friends are the ones that go and fight and die in these situations. So we
not the ones, raising our hands and pounding on the table. Saying yes, let's
World war. Let's go to war, let's go to war, that's just crazy talk to think that that's that's
crazy talk. We are the ones that win the
war drum start to beat where the ones that
the chills in our back in our end, because we know that our friends are going to go and fight and die well. This seems to be a kind of paradox here,
which would seem to inspire some of the crazy talk, because you have also said and you're not alone. Here many soldiers have said this: that
fighting over there was
highlight of your life right. I mean that's some of the most meaningful time you've spent as a human,
and you also said that you've always wanted to do that and you knew from a very early age. You wanted to be a commando and he said so
reconcile that seeming paradox. For me, you know it's like when you talk to somebody that has had cancer,
made it through cancer. What's the most meaningful thing? What's most impactful thing, that's happened in your life. Well, I had cancer. I thought it was going to die and I lived in. I was blessed that that's what I'm saying here, that's a great analogy in terms of what I always wanted to do. I think the the the key part of that is. You want to be tested right, yeah. I wanted you to come up against this test of me as a human is really what it boils down to is it is. It is the ultimate test. It's a test of everything.
It's a physical test. It's a mental test. It's a spiritual test, it's a test of everything, it's all there and so I think, to want to be tested as a person. I I don't think that's abnormal and my final point is having the opportunity to witness the read a bowl nature of the man in these situations where you can have ugh on man, sacrifice their life for their friends to be able to be a part of that and witness that is definitely
A moving thing and something that is and will always be, the highlight of my life to have been there and seen this sacrifice,
this absolute selflessness,
humbled. Who would not stand in awe.
Yeah and that's that's another reason why your cancer analogy is so powerful because you know having known people who have survive
cancer and not survive that it's a very common experience that every.
Value gets distilled down to its essence, going through that crucible. It's not like you. You
want to have cancer, but you certainly want to live with that kind of depth and intensity and the clarification of your priorities that it brings and if there was an easier
To get that and then you would want it that way, but you want that quality of life and Miss. Actually, this is, is
kind of a taboo thing to say I mean
This is something Sebastian younger who I'm sure, you're familiar with his work. He and he's written about this and interviewed people,
highlight of my life component to fighting a war is taboo in polite, so
my to acknowledge and to to talk about, but it it's not at all surprising that that's the case, and it is something that you know
want to understand human.
Life in the human mind and violence? It is something that we should talk about. I want to just to talk briefly about
violence, more generally, not at the level of war making, but now it now just bring it everything into the picture of crime and self defense and and the Marshall
arts and the illusions of that people have about violence, whether they've not thought of
did it all or have trained for it, but actually have never experienced it. So I guess I just really have
Single question to you it. What is it that people that you think people
don't understand about violence and should I'm thinking about both about people who, as you say,
the kind of people who just never encounter anything via
point in their lives and the hero discussion like
this, and it just sounds like we're talking about another plan.
You know, I know many people who just would never dream of taking martial arts or bone
and gun and right
really so there is convinced about the statistical unlikelihood of them ever having to need any of these things that they just it seems like just a frank waste of time for them like. Why would they do this
So some I'm thinking of those people, but I'm also thinking of someone like myself, someone who has trained in martial arts who trains with firearms who
I thought a lot about violence, but who has never experienced any of it? Really I'm having a marginal encounters with you know, kind
fist fight level violence, but nothing of the sort that confirms or d
confirms any expectation I have about what it would be like to actually be in a fire fight, for instance right. So what
but people in general and someone like me understand about violence from the point of view of someone who's seen a lot of it number one. I think it's important to recognize that violence is a real thing in the world and if it, if you've gotten to a point in your life,
good for you that it's something that is so distant from your reality that you can't imagine that it could possibly happen to you. I applaud you and your lifestyle and whatever you've done with your existing,
get to this point in the world. I would still say that even if you've gotten to that point, where you think nothing can ever happen to you, then you're wrong, and there are always situations that can occur where you can be the victim of violence. So that being said, if there is this remote chance that you could be a victim of violence and you're going to dedicate some portion of your life on that remote chance, then maybe you're right and it's not worth preparing for.
And I would agree with that. But the fact of the matter is that preparing for violence as remote as that chance might be or as frequent might be, if you're a police officer- or you know, you're in the military- and you you prepare for that, because that your daily reality, whether you're that person or whether the person with the completely tiny remote chance, because your new
not a person, that's ripe target. You have security. You live in a great area, regardless of which one of those people you are preparing for violence is a very educational thing and it really teaches you a lot about yourself and about others
and there's discipline involved and it unlocks parts of you that are very good? You know it increases your confidence. It obviously increases your physical conditioning. It makes you a better athlete. It makes you more secure. It puts you more in touch with other people. Could you train with other people? So there's all these benefit
to it and those all those benefits of training and shooting and just be coming sometime, some.
End of on some level, some kind, a warrior, some kind of person that can fight and defend yourself. Hopefully, you never have to use it. I don't ever want to use it. I mean I I would rather just you know, be left alone. Of course I don't want my kids to ever have to use what I've taught them, but they have if they need it, and- and I think that's the rules- I guess not the most simple answer, but that's the reality of my answer. It's inner joy, Bol thing. It's a productive thing. It's an educational thing in any. In many cases it can really change your attitude.
Shoot and your appreciation of the world any and your urgency player, I mean you're, a you shoot guns. There is something. Obviously you know after six months of Jujitsu, your kind like okay. If I get a fight I can I can, I can pretty much handle you know most situations, but but you don't stop there because there's more to it than that, it's it's! It adds more to your life and it makes you into that. You know, like I said, and I hate to use this term because it's so obvious, but this warrior mentality,
It brings that out, which I think is a positive thing. I still imagine that there are levels of illusion that people have to cut through. So so just tell me what it's like to be a
trained navy seal who hasn't seen combat yet so you have all the tools. You've done,
all the evolutions with all the weapons and you've learned. You know close quarters battle tactics, but nothing has
in for real. Yet
are there any drastic surprises going from I'm fully trained but in fact totally inexperienced too,
xperienced. Is there some kind of reliable landscape of will have certain illusions cancelled or not? Unfortunately, I don't think there's reliable landscape, because in talking to my buddies and what we all experienced the first time I was ever in a firefight completely normal. I was like ok, this is what's happening. I see the bad guys over there. We got our vehicles
we need we got cover over in that direction. Ok, you know I mean it was one of those situations where I had been trained so much 'cause. It was,
I think, thirteen years in the seal teams before I shot at the enemy. So that's from nineteen ninety, until two thousand and three right, that's thirteen years of training before I find the the trigger at a bag.
So it's a long time and that's a lot of training, and I was really into my tree house really into it. You know, and so and and the seal teams. We know we got
headed down lessons learned from Vietnam and training methodologies from Vietnam that we took very seriously and- and they did prepare us for combat and they did get us ready for those situations so
I felt you know comfortable and- and I will say this as well- I was lucky in that. You know the first fire fight ever got in was at a nice distance. It was
really low volume of fire. It was one of those situations. Where is ok, you know I got, I got a taste and then escalated. You know some guys that got thrown into heinous crazy firefights. Out of that,
you know the guys that were in Ramadi with me, the new guys some of these guys there
patrol ever went on. They were, they were a massive fire fights and they got that very quick wake up call of okay. This is this is what's important, is what's not in an ever.
He goes to that, but the training does prepare you very well, and this is something I say about Jujitsu as well from a self defense perspective. You know for a girl, that's going to get Oct assaulted by a guy if she's never done Ju Jitsu before how did
gate, she's not used to having someone on her and crying again and that physical contact, and it's that that right there alone,
Can Mentali paralyze somewhere
you get to where you know you train box? Did you get to the very close contact to you're used to that used to having these people grind? You don't you're over that piece mentally and so the same thing with training for combat. We have the explosions going off. We have the chaos. We have the machine gun fire. We get a knock. You waited against the the shock of that two pretty good degree so that we're more ready for it
and managing there's a wide variation of experience here, but in terms of your ex
the violence as a seal, is it basically
all behind the gun or is it or you experiencing actually like empty hand, fighting as well,
I'm picturing the experience of a seal is in a year
call Tina building. If you have to
transition from your rifle to your handgun,
something has already gone wrong right
it's already in operation and if you find your
fighting empty hand, wasn't like a grappling with somebody
we've gone totally haywire is: is it possible to be a seal who's who
experience of violence is shooting a rifle and
never having to have any kind of physical or, like you, would
that are grappling or striking skills? Or is that not at all the standard experience picture this
just to take your scenario. You're assaulting a building. You approach, the building. You blow open the door you get in there and and who's in there. Is it
guy with a gun? Ok he's getting shot. What about the guy that doesn't have a gun? What about the
guy that just rushes at you without a gun and
it's decision sure if you feel like your life, is threatened. You can shoot him, you can kill him, but
you might also say: oh, this
is coming at me. Okay, does he have a suicide vest? Ok, I'm gonna shoot him, but what, if he's, scared
or starts to run or stands there, but
doesn't listen to you doesn't get down? You have to put your hands on the person you have to take him out, so seals
all the time Army guys everybody when you're in the military were not run around. Shooting everybody and people are unarmed. You have to take them down. You have to control 'em, they fight back. Sometimes they fight back out of fear. Sometimes they fight back because their hostile, so
yeah. We experience all that all those levels of violence and we get in some you know definitely getting some good scraps. I remember I'll tell stories was when I first got to Iraq and we were out doing a vehicle. Interdiction is what
called it, which there's a curfew at the time and you're not supposed to be out and if you're out driving around then we need to know what you're doing out there so
we're out driving around the the highways outside of Baghdad. We take these vehicles down, stop on search and see what they are, questioning, hey, what you doing you know you're not supposed to be. After probably so we we do this. We
we pull this vehicle over and I'm standing there and I'm I'm the commander right. So I'm not that guy taxi, I shouldn't even have to do anything and that's what I'm doing, I'm just kind of heads up and I'm just looking around and making sure every
Stonewell and all of a sudden. I hear a voice yell and it's one of my guys and I kind of hear it from over on the other side of a vehicle.
Here needing assessed, need an and I okay so
go over and it's this guy, the seal whose it was a buddy of mine and he's in a scrap with this guy he's in a scrap of this.
The seal doesn't really know Jujitsu, he doesn't really really much of a fighter is great shooter
but he was a situation. He wasn't shooting this guys guys on arm. So he says you know help out. I need some help, but now he said:
he is grappling with a guy now, but he has his rifle rifle slung and we actually have. We have a bungee cord or you'd. Stick your rifle. So it's actually
kind of out of play. Now you can draw your pistol if you have to and there's you know
somebody covering for him. So if the guy all of a sudden, pulled out a gun, he's getting shot, but you don't want your cover guy, that has a gun to have to engage in this graph.
Situation so he's calling for somebody else. So there's a guy covering that, if all of a sudden,
It went really bad and the guy pulls out a gun or knife he's getting shot immediately and such came over. So we have that covered by
the guy. Nonetheless, is losing this scrap. You know so
I I come over and I look at it in and out I'm kind of, I'm I'm a detached person, it's one of those situations where I'm looking at it. I'm right! That's a bad grappling, unlike the odd you know, this guy's guard is obviously have some work work on that later. But I look at the guy and I come over. I just just kind of
put my weight and I do a neon stomach on the on the iraqi Guy- and I
hey bro he's just scared. You know just just just relax and I look at the iraqi guy and I go sh wage way, which is you know, just relax. Okay,
I say, shway Shway and, as the second way comes out of my mouth, my the other
cracks the sky cracks.
In the face that I go dude,
I got it just it's. Okay,
and I look back the area, it's a it's. Ok, Shwe, relax. I kind of kind of
emotion. The other guy off got the guy to relax, calm down. Okay, hey look just just everyone rocks, but my point in telling the story is because I was experienced at fighting and new jujitsu.
And and martial arts. It was a very easy situation for me to enter into and control in a in a proper manner it. Where is the experience guy that didn't have the the the fighting skills it was,
the harder situation in an it would have resulted in more damage. I mean God forbid this kid. This guy could have been shot if you know something
could escalate like that. Those things happen, unfortunately, but it could happen. But my point is that the knowledge, the experience,
The familiarity with violence. That you're talking about is very helpful when you
more thrust into a violent situation. It's very good to have this knowledge in order to make things less violent id escalated. The violence and I've done that my whole career
and that's one of the goals of being well trained, is that you don't have to use excessive violence, you can use less violence
when we start looking at police violence right now. I believe that this is one of the factors that I hope
America can start moving towards. Where are police officers receive better training for these situations that they're getting into where there's unexpected things happening? They're not fully
where are the picture and they're going in with a mentality that we could help train them to improve the mentality that they go in there with yeah yeah? Well, that's one of the
the unique features of of grappling in general and jujitsu in particular. Is it really is what Aikido always claim to be
I mean it is the inability to control someone and negotiate, and you can you can incrementally increase the violence and there
because there's no striking analog to that. If you're going to punch someone in the face to try to subdue
in that way? You're just you're subduing them with brain trauma, so you're trying to
knock them out or you're trying to put them in as much pain that they decide to give up, and would you just
it's not like that at all I mean is that you're talkin about Goin, your knee on belly will with someone that you're just you're just holding them down with your bodyweight and saying wasn't this? Is this going to be a
painful or not, as you want just stop what you're doing but yeah you see these videos, and I just the interview I did before this. This is, as I said in my last podcast, this is going to be violence week on.
No, the waking up, podcast 'cause, I interviewed Scotty reads a really great former swat now firearms instructor,
I was telling him about videos that I've recently seen and the Gracies circulate some of these videos
they're, just amazing videos of where you see the grappling ignorance of cops. That is just just disastrous. Where I don't know, if you saw this one where there was,
you had three cops, who were probably two hundred and thirty or so
trying to subdue
smallish guy, and
not even the guy, wasn't even wearing shoes. I'll put this video will be on my blog associated with the Scotty Reese Podcast.
So there's a guy in his stocking feet in a Mcdonald's. You know on a on a slick in a linoleum floor and you've got three big cops, trying to figure out how to subdue him.
And they just had no idea. I, the one guy tries a front: kick you know that doesn't land and then eventually they
is him repeatedly just because they just could not figure out how to get this,
hi on the ground and cuffed. So it's really it is, is just a an excruciating lack of training that you see inside in some of these videos and it's and when you do
extrapolate that out over a nation of three hundred million people, some of whom colliding with cops is to press him. But yet I share your hope that that
knowledge that you represent gets gets that disseminated more widely. I certainly hope so
yeah well listen Jackal. We have gone two hours and it's been an incredible play
to meet you and talk to you, and I just I wish you
best of luck with everything you're doing your your podcast is great and your book is great and I look forward to finishing it.
Joe Rogan went on about this end,
just lay in it and basically you know you into doing a podcast, but it's just your part,
the one percent of the one percent of people who can talk with authority about this range of human experience, and we really need it. I I look for the following everything you do going thanks. Very much that's a very humbling to hear and and I'll do my best to
to carry out. Thank you. If you fine
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Transcript generated on 2019-10-05.