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Our Fight to Stay Free
By Pete Hegseth
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OUR AMERICAN CRUSADE
Take a moment to consider your part in the miracle of the 2016 election; the history we made as sons and daughters of freedom. For the Left, that humiliating defeat strengthened their resolve to achieve their ultimate goal: erasing America’s soul, culture, and institutions. We are the ones standing in their way—and have been targeted for annihilation.
We the People must understand this moment. You feel it. I feel it. We all feel it. The other side—the Left—is not our friend. We are not “esteemed colleagues,” nor mere political opponents. We are foes. Either we win, or they win—we agree on nothing else.
The United States has the top economy and military in the world, but our cultural and educational institutions—America’s soul—have succumbed to leftist rot. Military might and worldly wealth alone are not enough to preserve our founding principles, nor are once-in-a-generation electoral miracles such as the 2016 election. Our future existence as sons and daughters of freedom requires the satisfaction of a single paramount objective: the categorical defeat of the Left. America cannot, and will not, survive otherwise.
This time in our history calls for an AMERICAN CRUSADE. Yes, a holy war for the righteous cause of human freedom.
One thousand years ago, after years of ceding land to conquering Muslim hordes, the pope ordered military action to save Europe. “Deus vult” (“God wills it”) was the rallying cry of Christian knights as they marched to Jerusalem. Two hundred and fifty years ago, as King George III exercised more power over the colonists in North America, they rebelled. “Give me liberty or give me death!” they exclaimed. America was born and then battle tested.
The most important rallying cry of our era—“Make America Great Again”—catalyzed a political miracle of similar proportion and consequence so shocking that it still confounds those who proclaimed it. Like crusaders and patriots past, Donald Trump’s red hat rebellion demonstrates that unapologetically going on offense is the only tenable strategy for the defense of our republic. Surrounded by the Left, with the odds stacked against us, only a crusade will do.
Mobilized for victory, we will save the republic in 2020 and beyond. But the battle is not for the meek or the weak. Those who make excuses that distract from decisive political triumph—such as petty grievances over President Trump’s tweets, feigned civility standards, or stale, status quo thinking—are not worthy to populate the crusading ranks. We need informed, inspired, unapologetic patriots, and we need them now.
Lest we forget, the United States of America is the grandest—and greatest—freedom experiment in human history. The most free, most fair, most tolerant, most equal, and most powerful. We should never, ever apologize for her. If you don’t agree with that statement, at best you are utterly ignorant of human history; at worst, you are a willing enemy of freedom—and America.
The Left’s 2016 calamity is our opportunity and therefore requires urgent, radical steps to win in 2020 and engrave that victory on the soul of America. As we embark on this noblest of causes, remember the plan the Left has for you—utter annihilation—and prepare yourself to lock shields with fellow Americans in the defense of our simple and sacred shared objective: freedom.
Let’s begin. And let’s get personal. Millions of patriots—including you and me—love the founding ideals of America. But there are hordes of people within our borders (remember those?!) who don’t share our allegiance—and their ignorance and ideologies threaten America’s very survival. As such, we are two Americas; a house divided.
TWO AMERICANS, TWO AMERICAS
To begin our journey, it is necessary to demarcate the bitter division between America and the Left. To illustrate this, consider the lives and views of two immigrants from distant, war-torn lands: “Samarra” Omar and “Somali” Omar.
Having previously fled the tyranny of Saddam, Samarra Omar—along with his brother Bakr and father, Mr. Assad—returned to Iraq in 2003 to rebuild their life and fight Al Qaeda. I had the honor to fight alongside them in the battered city of Samarra in 2006. A decade later, Bakr and Omar earned the opportunity to immigrate legally to the United States and are now assimilated in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. Hereafter, I’ll call my friend Texas Omar.
Somali Omar is a member of the United States Congress. Ilhan Omar came to America as a young girl, fleeing the civil war in Somalia. Following four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, she was granted asylum in the United States, eventually settling in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She graduated from high school there, attended college in North Dakota, and secured a prestigious policy fellowship at the University of Minnesota. A few years later, the people of Minnesota elected her to the state house—and then to Congress. Yet despite all that privilege, referring to her as “Somali” Omar still fits best.
Somali Omar has chosen to return our goodwill with grievances, not gratitude. She views her time in Somali as “blissful,” while criticizing the United States as racist, oppressive, and “torturous.” Unlike Texas Omar, Somali Omar did not choose America—America chose her, from the squalor of a refugee camp in Kenya. We opened our doors and welcomed her. The state of Minnesota housed her, educated her, empowered her, enriched her, elevated her, and then elected her.
Through the lens of gratitude, America looks much different. Texas Omar’s victories on the battlefield, killing Al Qaeda terrorists—who the delusional, hateful Somali Omar asserts are merely the product of Jewish-financed American imperialism—earned his family a life in the land of liberty. Texas welcomed them as sons and daughters of freedom.
Theodore Roosevelt once stated, “There is not room in the country for any fifty-fifty American, nor can there be but one loyalty—to the Stars and Stripes.” My friend Texas Omar and his beautiful family embrace 100 percent Americanism. Somali Omar sees the land of opportunity much differently.
But don’t take my word for it; consider their words on multiple subjects.
Texas Omar: “There is an American way to live, and it’s unlike any other place on earth. The flag of the United States means sanctuary to me.”
Somali Omar: “We export American exceptionalism, the Great America, the land of liberty and justice.… but we don’t live those values here.”
Texas Omar: “Honestly, the media, and social media, paints America as racist. These people haven’t lived where there was a real culture of racism. Where we came from, people were labeled and oppressed based on a few characteristics—even our first names—and there was so much division. Go live in Iraq or most other countries for six months, and then you will think differently about America.”
Somali Omar: “I grew up in an extremely unjust society, and the only thing that made my family excited about coming to the United States was that the United States was supposed to be the country that guaranteed justice to all. So, I feel it necessary for me to speak about that promise that’s not kept.”
Texas Omar: “In our first weeks here [in Texas], we were very surprised,” he explained. “I just knew we would face racism—even maniacs. My wife wears a hijab [a traditional Muslim head covering], and I feared she would be mistreated. But our experience has been the opposite. People open doors for her, smile, and greet her at the mall.”
Somali Omar: “I would say our country should be more fearful of white men across our country because they are actually causing most of the deaths within this country.”
Texas Omar: “I’ve traveled and lived in twenty-eight countries before we came here. The American flag is respected—even if people don’t always express their admiration, they feel it. Anything you want, you can achieve it here. But we will lose this way of life if we don’t protect it.”
Somali Omar: “I arrived at the age of 12 and learned that I was the extreme other. I was black. I was Muslim. I also learned I was extremely poor and that the classless America that my father talked about didn’t exist.”
Both Omars are Americans—technically, anyway.
What does Somali Omar embrace? The death squads of her native land? Antisemitism? Her brother? I mean, husband. There is no excuse for her behavior: America does not have room for even one fraction of a percent of her bigotry and blatant anti-Americanism.
INSHALLAH, TEXAS STYLE
I first met Texas Omar on a 2006 combat tour in Samarra, Iraq. He was young but streetwise and spoke English fairly well. His family had been raised with the understanding that English was the language of enterprise and freedom.
“We loved America before we ever set foot here,” Texas Omar’s brothers told me years later. “When we met the soldiers and other Americans helping our country, our beliefs were confirmed. They treated people with respect and fought alongside us.”
It was a chaotic and violent time—before the surge, when Al Qaeda was battling to fill the vacuum of power left by sectarian violence. Texas Omar’s father, Mr. Assad, had fought against Saddam Hussein’s tyranny for years and as a result had been forced to flee Iraq with his family. When the murderous regime had fallen, they returned to rebuild their beloved—and battered—hometown of Samarra. Mr. Assad was soon nominated to be the city council president—a courageous move that Islamists viewed as blasphemy.
“We met Pete at one of the hardest points of our life,” Texas Omar confided. “Our community was constantly being threatened by Al Qaeda, and our people were being killed by their snipers and bombs. The US military joined us to fight for our communities and families. We also saw how Iran wanted to take advantage of the situation, and we needed to stand against their influence. We were willing to die to fight that evil. Die standing.”
As our combat tour progressed, this family of warriors risked their necks to rebuild their fractured city. Al Qaeda took notice and published an “announcement” targeting several leaders in Samarra for death. Texas Omar’s father, Mr. Assad, and his entire family were the focus of the fliers posted throughout the city. A translated excerpt of the Al Qaeda death threat is below. As you read, imagine your name on this poster in your hometown:
In the name of the great God, Al Qaeda will clean the city from the agents such as Assad and whoever stands as a bodyguard for him after he convicted himself by his tongue when he called the Occupational Forces the “American Forces” instead of telling the truth about the occupation of the country.… He convicted himself by accepting in the city council all the orders that come from the Jews and Crusaders.… We issued a statement to all his cells and companies inside and outside the city to target the families of the killers and criminals who are working with the Jews and Crusaders.… Demolish their houses, burn them down, possess their assets, burn their cars, burn their shops and steal all their money.… Signed, the Advisory Council of the Al Mujahadeen, Al Qaeda Organization in Mesopotamia.
They were crusaders even then.
Texas Omar recalls that one night: “Our home was surrounded by Al Qaeda snipers and machine gunners. Their mission was clear. I called Pete and said, ‘We’re trapped! We have no time. Send help. Now!’ We went to the roof with our rifles, knowing we would die, but hoping we could at least kill some terrorists first. A few minutes later, I saw an angel. It was an army helicopter. Within seconds, the enemy scattered, and my family was saved. Our second life began that day.”
To Texas Omar, the sight of a US helicopter looks like an angel. To Somali Omar, the same American helicopter looks like Satan.
She said so herself.
In response to a tweet pointing out that nineteen Americans had been killed and seventy-three wounded during the Battle of Mogadishu in 1993—portrayed in the film Black Hawk Down—Somali Omar tweeted, “In his [Joshua, a patriotic Twitter user] selective memory, he forgets to also mention the thousands of Somalis killed by the American forces that day! #NotTodaySatan.”
Her accusation that “thousands” had been killed by US troops is a detestable lie that reveals her contempt for all who wear our flag on their uniforms. Her image of a satanic US helicopter stands in stark contrast with Texas Omar’s experience: an angel of America routing death’s advance.
“Someday, brothers, we will see you in America,” I would often cheerfully remark to Texas Omar and his family. “Inshallah” (if God wills it) they would reply, and we would laugh together. Behind the smiles and gallows humor was faint optimism.
Many members of Texas Omar’s family met the terrible fate threatened by Al Qaeda. A car bomb attack by Al Qaeda destroyed their home, killing many of their loved ones, but Texas Omar’s father and brothers survived and continued to fight the Islamist terrorists.
Before I left Iraq, Texas Omar and his father, Mr. Assad, wrote a generous letter of recommendation for me—which I’m sure was part of the reason I was accepted into graduate school at Harvard University. I am still awed by the kindness and the irony. They gave me a letter of recommendation and never asked me to write one for them so they might leave the fight in Iraq.
Years later, I had the chance to return the favor and started the process of officially inviting Texas Omar and his family to the United States. Because of the nightmare of US State Department bureaucracy and a lack of paperwork (their house had been bombed!), it took three long years. Three years. Undeterred, they patiently waited in line for the slow gears of government to turn on the green light. They came legally ready to fulfill their roles as 100 percent Americans.
My friends eventually landed in Texas, where Middle Eastern Muslims are supposedly feared and hated by gun-toting, pickup-driving Bible thumpers. They were about to meet the real America.
“A few weeks after arriving in this country, it was the Fourth of July. I didn’t know what to expect but knew the holiday was a big deal. After work, I took my family to the local park, where a celebration was held. There were hundreds of people picnicking and hundreds of US flags. People welcomed us and gave my family little flags, too. It was like an initiation.” After an emotional pause, he continued, “We felt like we belonged. We stayed for the fireworks, and we knew this would be a family tradition.”
“This is God’s country!” Texas Omar’s brother declared.
What he and millions of other Americans refer to as “God’s country” is the giant canvas of amber waves and purple mountains on which one may author their destiny, inscribing hopes and dreams as vigorously as one’s ability to muster. It is the recognition of our God-given rights with a formal acknowledgment of the source of those rights. For those who fought tyranny and proclaimed America to be a force of good, this is their just reward. Muslim, Christian, or Jew, Zoroastrian or Hindu—all are welcome in our righteous crusade for human freedom!
Texas Omar and his family actively perpetuate the preservation of these tenants of freedom. They have Americanized their kids’ names because they want their kids to be Americans. They make sure their kids learn English. They still love Iraq, embrace their faith, and respect their traditions, but they want to be part of this nation. Only this nation.
We cannot be afraid to say it just as Texas Omar’s brother did: “My children will grow up here. It’s their home. And they will defend this country. We’ve never been treated better than here in the United States. Anyone who comes here has the right of free speech and equal opportunity. The law applies to everyone equally. You are not identified by race or color, like we’ve seen in other countries. You can build a life here.”
AMERICA THEN, IS NOW
If the most lethal Islamist terrorist organization in the world hung posters throughout your hometown announcing its intent to assassinate you, would you say, “This only makes me stronger”? That’s what Texas Omar would say to me with a defiant laugh. They fought real bullets, not weenie social justice warriors.
It’s not unlike King George III, the commander of the greatest military force of the age, putting your name on a “most wanted” list at city hall on the eve of our revolution. Or, today, the federal government arbitrarily targeting your business, your family, or your rights because it doesn’t like what you stand for. It happened then, and—without President Trump in office—it would continue today.
Would you be willing to lose your home and livelihood to fight for real freedom? Would you stand with the signers of the Declaration of Independence and “pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor”? Really, truly, ask yourself that question. The battle for freedom is not one we can wage from the margins; it requires a personal investment.
In 1775, a year before that declaration, the hope of freedom and personal honor sent volunteers to a town square in Lexington, and a bridge in Concord. So-called common citizens took a deep breath and decided that liberty was worth it—even if it cost them their lives and possessions. New taxes on items such as paint, paper, and tea led humble men to stand their ground; a bunch of preachers, tavern owners, blacksmiths, farmers, tradesmen, and philosophers thirsting for freedom in America decided to stand up to the most powerful empire in the world. They didn’t invade England. The British Empire slowly and systematically invaded their liberty. The same has happened to us over the course of decades; could you muster such courage?
The fate of freedom is what is at stake in the 2020 election. The immediate years that follow will, once and for all, determine whether the American experiment in human freedom—the America of our founding—will die, get a national divorce based on irreconcilable cultural and political divisions, or return to its founding principles. It sounds dramatic, but not if you appreciate history, human nature, and what we’re up against.
Lacking grittiness and historical perspective, fifty-fifty Americans too often delight in the warm comfort of toothless proclamations. Never inconveniencing themselves with the minutiae of grassroots or cultural activism—except in short spurts for limited reasons—their half measures, excuses, and ineffectiveness have earned them a fitting nickname: squishes.
Squishes don a hard veneer but lack the supportive inner structure of American vertebrates. So when the pressure mounts, they scurry away like roaches. For too long, this was the cycle of politics. While the Left advanced its agenda, we slogged through an internal battle between 100 percent Americans and fifty-fifty Americans.
The fifty-fifty Americans promulgated a number of compelling justifications for their complacency:
Well, the pendulum always swings back… we’ll be okay.
America once fought a civil war, you see, and came out stronger. Surely common sense will prevail in this great country.
I know there are radical ideas out there, but it’s been like this since the 1960s. We’ll work it out.
I care about my country, but don’t want to be seen as “overly political.” That just makes the problem worse.
I run a business and pay my taxes; that is how I contribute. The Left protests; we work.
I can’t stand Congress, but I love my congressman—because he [or she] really cares.
Most public schools are failing kids, but my local school is great. You should see the new library!
I’ve been a squish at times, and so have you. At some point, we have probably all subscribed to at least one of these statements. I know I have. For me, awakening has been a progression over many years, informed by multiple iterations of learning—and mostly failure. First I had to get informed. Then I denied the magnitude of the leftist problem. Next, being idealistic, naive, and new to the political arena, I played within the confines of the status quo. Now, as I have some worldly success and a large family, protecting my nest is tempting. I understand what is required of a 100 percent American: the sacrifice, the struggle, the uncertainty. You will face similar personal roadblocks—all personal, all powerful.
I used to be the poster boy for the Republican status quo. Then, in 2016, tens of millions of patriotic Americans rejected the status quo of the Republican Party—the think-tank, Beltway, cowardly retreat from our core principles. We the People elected an America First Disrupter in Chief.
God willed it, and I finally learned that establishment Republican politicians—squish Republicans—have been complicit in the decline of America.
Like their counterparts across the aisle, the squishes often have the connections, the salaries, the pensions, and the power—but those they pretend to serve, the forgotten men and women, have awakened to their betrayal. As for the Left, we know who they are and the philosophy of hate to which they subscribe. This book will reveal the core of their sedition. They are zero percent Americans.
I’ve personally seen the newsrooms, cloakrooms, and ivory towers of our so-called elites—and they don’t want debate, they want destruction. They deplore you and believe they know better than you do. You and I must face the fact that at this moment the usual activities and attitudes of “good citizens” will not cut it. Following the lead of President Trump and beyond, American Crusaders must lead the cultural fight from here. Imagine if Texas Omar had been only fifty-fifty in the fight against Al Qaeda.
Ask yourself: What percent American am I?
Three realities are central to understanding our moment. First, history is not over. Trump was not the end, he was the turning point. The miracle of 2016 still rings hope, but four years later the gravity of our situation has not lessened. Though many squish Republicans have relegated themselves to irrelevancy, American Crusaders still have work to do within our ranks. There is room for only 100 percent Americanism. Trump’s appointment of judges, the booming economy, his fight for the wall, and the defeat of ISIS are all spectacular achievements. But remember that although they have been necessary for the preservation of freedom, they are not sufficient. Only the categorical defeat of the Left will secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity. We must reelect Donald Trump in 2020 and continue the cultural counterattack until Leftists are no longer electorally viable.
Second, America is not inevitable. America is an experiment. A free people, governing itself and reining in government is the exception to the rule in human history. For thousands of years, the vast majority of people have been led by kings, butchers, and theocrats. The norm is the dysfunctional gash on Africa’s horn that produced Somali Omar, not the United States of America. Our ability to perpetuate self-governance is very much an open question.
Finally, if the twenty-first century is not an American-dominated century, it will not be a free century. The forces of despotism, collectivism, Islamism, and globalism are on the march. China is expanding. Europe is demographically and culturally overrun. America is a flickering light of freedom on a surrounded hill.
The hour is late for America. Beyond political success, her fate relies on exorcising the leftist specter dominating education, religion, and culture—a 360-degree holy war for the righteous cause of human freedom. As Abraham Lincoln remarked, “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.” These nonpolitical fronts are where we will fight to ensure that our political victories continue for an age.
In the chapters that follow, we’ll face every enemy that threatens our nation and undergo a basic training in the fight for freedom: the American Crusade. Our first objective is the reelection of Donald Trump. Crusaders, welcome to the Warring Twenties!
2020: DEATH, DIVORCE, OR DAWN?
Hi, my name is Pete Hegseth and I was almost a Never Trumper.
In 2015, few people saw Donald Trump as a serious contender. God bless those who did—but I didn’t.
For far too long, the conservative movement and Republican Party had been stale and shortsighted, stuck in the conventional wisdom of Washington, DC, think tanks and corporate interests—not to mention invested in wishful-thinking foreign nation building. I was stuck squarely in that prism, and it showed. I had revered the “compassionate conservatism” of George W. Bush, especially after 9/11, enthusiastically supported the “Country First” candidacy of John McCain, and dutifully backed the vanilla campaign of Mitt Romney.
- Pete has been a warrior on the battlefield, and now he is a warrior on the battlefield of ideas. Freedom is fragile and must be defended. Pete charts the course for crushing the Left and keeping America free.—Mark Levin, author of Unfreedom of the Press
- Pete pulls no punches with this book! American Crusade delivers the same clarity, passion, and unapologetic patriotism you see from Pete every day on television. Buckle up, because Pete brings the heat!—Sean Hannity
- Donald Trump's election didn't solve all of America's problems, but instead made it obvious what they are. Suddenly you saw, often with terrifying clarity, who was on what side. Pete Hegseth's terrific new book will tell you what happens next-and what you can do about it.—Tucker Carlson
- From his provocative title to his forensic demolition of all the fashionable "isms" (globalism, multiculturalism et al) to his beautiful call to "fall in love with the gift America delivers", Pete Hegseth has written a brilliant, trenchant, clear-eyed diagnosis of our present troubles and a stirring blueprint for the way forward on the home front. He's right: This is no time to be what he calls "a fifty/fifty American", and there is no better way than this fine, well-argued book to up your percentage in the right direction.—Mark Steyn
- In this vitally important new book, Pete Hegseth explains what conservatives are fighting for (the America envisioned by our Founders), why we're fighting for it (America is the last best hope for the West) and what we have to do to win (unapologetically defend American values). His passion for America, a passion strengthened by his experience as a combat veteran of the Iraq War, comes across on every page. American Crusade is a call to arms. We all need to answer it.—Dennis Prager, New York Times bestselling author and nationally syndicated radio talk host
- On Sale
- May 19, 2020
- Page Count
- 352 pages
- Center Street